Wholehearted and proud

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

If I were to just care less, they say, the bullshit at hand would roll off leaving no mark. In order to solve a problem, we need to see (and understand) the whole equation. It is highly unlikely that we can see and understand the entire equation of someone else’s life when we struggle to understand our own.

The truth is, we all have suffering and in avoiding our suffering we grant it permission to fester. To “get over” something we must go THROUGH it (without getting stuck in it). Some of us dive into acceptable public coping strategies and/or less public and less acceptable coping strategies to navigate our pain. Some people shut down, shut off... numb the heart to prevent it from feeling any sort of fraying. The higher percentage of humans, I would guess, spend more energy and time, throughout their lives, trying to change parts of the equation in order to manipulate the answer. In other words, living a life of coping strategies rather than a life free of self-deception.

Not accepting the truth of my own unique amazingness is the root of my suffering. If I were to let go of chronic concern of what other people think, my happiness level would rise exponentially. It isn’t as simple as not caring about what other people think, especially when living with an open heart is a top priority. It is about recognizing that another person’s inability to see me through the eyes of love, rather than critique, is their issue, not mine. It is not my job to convince others of my value or to change to fit into a mold. My only job is to love myself regardless of how little other people love themselves. Not to love for both of us, but to love myself so wholly that there is no need for anyone else to fill me up.

If anything, my thinking has been flawed for buying into the idea that I must shave off my beautiful and unusual edges to fit into the narrow margins of other people’s carefully constructed, yet fragile, realities. I'm not going to do that! I have absolutely no idea how I will pull off living authentically in a world obsessed with sameness, but I am going to figure it out and I will do so without sacrificing any more of my sacred splinters in the process.

I've been building up to a break down. After a number of these over the years, I know it isn't a breakdown but, when I stay present, a much-needed breakthrough. This particular breakthrough is showing me how I’ve filtered my self-esteem through the clogged and misshapen filter of the world.

Years ago when my beloved conflict resolution teacher, Carrie Jo Stairs, spoke during our mediation training graduation ceremony, she chose a single word to sum each of us up. The word she chose for me was "wholehearted." She'd only known me for a little over a year and yet, she found a word that made me feel fully seen. I am wholehearted! Though, it can be nearly impossible to remain wholehearted in a world that is generous with reasons to protectively close off the heart.

The hours (possibly months...but probably years) that preceded this post, have led me through the pain of not fitting into the world without sacrificing aspects of myself in the process. This is an epidemic as far as I am concerned. Most people experience the ache of self-deception at some point and we all choose how to cope. I've opted for the path that peels the delusion from the truth and its just as messy as every other path.  How do we find ourselves when the stage we dance on is set up with an abundance of funhouse mirrors, leading too many of us to our graves without ever having a glimpse of our unadulterated and brilliant selves.

According to the round hole, I need to be less sensitive, think less, be less empathetic, less complicated, less flexible, less deep and less collaborative. I need to be harder, predictable, fixed and more demanding. I need to “just get over it” whatever “it” is. I've heard these messages my entire life though recently, they have grown to a deafening crescendo. Most people mean well (or I am being co-dependent in thinking so). They give this advice in an effort to solve my problem.