“The unexamined life is not worth living.”
Often I read blogs or excerpts that preach self love and self acceptance and this idea that we should all look in our metaphorical emotional/spiritual mirror and be completely satisfied. How often do we tell our children, our significant others or our family that they are “perfect just the way they are”?
Let me preface this post by being absolutely clear: you should always, ABSOLUTELY love yourself; inside, outside and in between, because human-ing is hard as hell and we are all at least doing that. This post is not really about body love, as that is a whole separate beast, but more about mind/personality love. We must know exactly WHAT we are loving in order to truly understand it.
The phrase “just the way you are” is what my internal focus has been on over the past several months.
Along with the yearly resolution of “eat a lot of celery and drop a couple pant sizes”, my other (way more important) resolution for 2018 is to strive for an increase in self-awareness. This sounds a little crunchy, and if anyone knows me, I don’t much care for crunch.
The problem with true self-awareness is that it can be really mean, discouraging even. You look at the things that make you human and make a mental list of all the poor character traits and all of the wrong and all the shit that you need to work on to be a better human. Of course making a list of the good qualities and ways to bring them out more in your everyday life is also a huge part of this journey. We all have many gifts to share with the world.
Most of the negative that I have come up with so far has been said to me in one capacity or another. Some people will read this and think, “about goddamn time she realized her flaws”. My response to that would simply be to have them find a reflective surface and think hard about every mean thing ever said to them. Then have them address the items that have some truth to them, because chances are, there are a few. There certainly were for me.
The real problem is that just “being happy with the way you are” is stagnant and stationary and likely shittier than you really would like. As humans we are meant to grow, change and evolve.
To seek to always be happy is kind of missing the point in life. There are so many feelings to feel, so many emotional tones that are not only an inevitable part of life but also what gives life its richness and beauty.
It’s not happiness that is responsible for forming our characters or giving us the strengths we possess. The search to find who we truly are, good and bad, is ultimately far more significant to a fulfilled and purposeful life than the search for happiness. One of the fundamental things that sets apart those who experience a sense of meaning in their life and those who don’t is their capacity for insight. If we don’t nurture insight, then we become passive and cheat ourselves of the opportunity to learn and grow from our flaws and shortcomings.
No amount of insight will make you “perfect” or stop you from being a grade A asshat every so often, but it will help you to live a more authentic life, one based on really knowing yourself.
So for now, I will embrace the awful parts about myself, as they give me the drive to be a better human.