Full of Words:
I don’t see how there could be a happy alternative to fully being oneself. Anything less would deny you your destiny as far as I can tell.
I think the key to being our true selves lies in trust. We need to trust in a benevolent universe that creates nothing in nature without purpose, and therefore did not create us without purpose and meaning. So-called flaws included.
We need to trust that we are good enough as we are, and dismiss the judgements of others who may say differently.
Our so-called flaws exist because they serve some purpose but too often, we allow the limited thinking of others to define us and we decide to put our faith in that.
I did not speak a word until I was almost 3 years old.
Well, I did speak one word; “boo-boo”. Apparently it worked sufficiently until it didn’t.
It is typical of me, that I would wait until I was sure I could do something right before I would bother doing it at all. So just when my mother was becoming seriously concerned about why I hadn’t learned to speak I woke up one morning talking in fully formed sentences.
And, I haven’t stopped since.
I can’t imagine that it was very long before I began to be told that I talk too much. It was probably one of the first things that I learned about myself and it has in some ways plagued me all of my life.
Knowing that I talk too much, and being unable to control it, lead to a fair amount of shame and low self-esteem.
Even as an adult when I became conscious of the fact that I cannot slow my brain down enough to be able to catch my thoughts without talking or writing, I still felt somewhat guilty and ashamed of myself when criticized by others for being talkative.
When I got to my new job, I was seriously worried, knowing that my new boss is a very quiet man who doesn’t seem to like those who talk too much… but I was wrong.
My talking serves me well in my new position, but more than that, it serves the company well.
I am excellent at dealing with customers. I get them laughing, chatting, I brighten their day whenever I can and that is good for business, good for the customers, and good for me.
I have also saved my boss a few dollars by being the voice recordings for all of the voice-mail systems and the messages you would hear while on hold. He used to pay a pro for that service.
And then there is this writing thing. Finally, I understand why I was born full of words that are bursting to get out. And I also understand that anyone who would criticize me for being born this way is the one that has the problem. My words serve many a purpose and I wish I had realized it sooner.
The thing is, that I recognize that I myself have been guilty of criticizing others for the way that they are. Being critical is something I still catch myself doing, though less and less as I become more aware.
I am becoming more aware not only of myself and my space in the world, but that there is a plan for each of us, whether we figure it out or not. None of us chooses our intelligence, our personalities, our aptitudes nor many other things that make us who we are and yet we constantly critique and criticize each other for these aspects of ourselves that we do not choose.
I am also beginning to realize on a deep level that I am not the designer of the plan. Not for anyone. I can strive to control myself, but the extent of my influence ends there.
One of the things that has made my new position doing customer service a joy, is realizing that it is not up to me how others behave. My job is to accept, and work with that customer, or co-workers, the way they are. Not the way I think they should be.
What I have discovered over the past few years as I work to become aware of and curb my judgements towards others is that there is no other way to feel better about myself than to be accepting of what and who I am experiencing in the moment. Even when the situation is unpleasant as people often can be, where the path to non-judgement is a long one.
I’m not sure that I will ever be completely free, but the work is rewarding enough to spend a life-time trying.
Of course, there are always judgements to be made in every moment to keep us safe, make good decisions and create communities and relationships that serve us.
I don’t bring homeless people home for dinner, but I do give them the same smile, kind words, and dignity that I give to my customers and my co-workers.
I recently asked a young man who invited himself into my backyard while I was visiting with a friend to leave, because I was potentially concerned about safety. I was respectful when I did it, and I did not feel any animosity towards this clearly lost young person. In fact, each time I think of him, I wish him the best.
Living with compassion does not mean living as a doormat. Besides, I make a lousy doormat. I talk too much.
For a long time I have suspected that the only real reason we ever have for being critical of others is to make ourselves feel better. If we have any reason to look down on another human being, it can only be to prove our superiority. I don’t think we would have any need to do this if we really loved ourselves in the first place.
Understanding on a deeper level that we are all human souls first, and not the labels we place on ourselves or each other helps me to remain mindful that I am no more worthy than any other person alive. This means that I am no less worthy than any other, no matter how flawed I might be.
Learning to embrace myself as I am, in this moment, knowing that there is plenty of room to grow means that I can only boost my self-concept by working on myself. Looking down on others only provides the illusion of superiority. It will do nothing to make me believe in me.
If I want to truly be myself, then I have to allow others to do the same. I don’t see how there could be any other happy alternative.