learning to accept one’s self
Yes, yes, we were going to not post until after the Thanksgiving Holiday in the US. But, we know that there are many individuals who are alone over the holidays. So, we offer this essay for them and for everyone, if they are checking their email or stopping by WordPress today. As well, readers in the rest of the world are taking this Thursday like any other.
Life, in this world, is a struggle all the way through. There is no getting around that. Having endured my share of frustrations, disappointments, and depression at times during my life, certain thoughts have thus pressed on to my consciousness. These may not be worth much, but they are presented here for your consideration. What is helpful, take with you. And, what is not helpful, leave behind. The only cost to you, dear readers, is the few minutes it takes to read this essay.
The below pic is by kind courtesy of Lucy (the tourist).
Not one of us is or can ever be perfect (in any way). This is no trite remark. Society’s expectations, or really demands, notwithstanding, no one of us can be perfect. Peer group pressures to conform – or be cast out and thus marginalized – need to be resisted. One’s own expectations for oneself need to be tempered with realism.
Pity the poor young girls who are striving to live up to the current ideal of how young women should look. Seriously, how many women can ever possibly (or potentially) look like Aphrodite (Greek goddess of love, whose stunning beauty is the stuff of poetic imagination) or even like the legendary and mortal Helen of Troy? How many men can look like Adonis? How many men can be as brave, formidable and fearless as Achilles? As wily and clever as Odysseus? Perhaps mythical examples do not make the point well. But our ideals and expectations (of ourselves and of others) often are unrealistic and we ought to recognize that.
Let us cultivate and nurture our inner beauty as loving individuals. That is the kind of beauty that does not fade with age, is not impaired by acne or scars, cannot be taken by an auto accident which injures and damages the body, etc. Inner beauty of personality is what we can take with us when the spirit breaks free of the prison-house of the flesh, and moves on.
Growing and maturing is a trying process that continues throughout our entire lives. There is pain (emotional, mental, physical) along the way. You already know this as your very own life experiences have shown you. But, consider, as limited and imperfect beings, do our experiences mold us and our perspective? Even our painful, sorrowful experiences – are they necessary for and contribute to our growth and psychological maturation? Are we like soft, moist, pliable clay in God’s hands? (This is difficult for me to write as God has heard my frequent (even ongoing) questioning of suffering – not just my own, but the terrible and at times tragic, needless, senseless suffering of others around us.)
I do not pretend to have “the answers” to the above questions. Perhaps such questions can serve as food for thought. But, I will offer a few “conclusions” that have been reached over the years based on my individual life experiences – which certainly have not been of the best quality. (Sadly, I have hurt others, and have been hurt by others over the course of the years.)
It makes no sense to measure oneself against a standard of perfection. So, as they say, set challenging, but achievable (realistic) goals for yourself. Realize that we do not control the outcome of events because there are too many variables or factors that are simply outside of our control. Make the good effort and if the results are not what was hoped for, do not be overly discouraged.
Let’s be more accepting of ourselves as imperfect beings with limitations. Excessive guilt and excessive regret eventually become counter-productive, and can lead a person to depression and despair. These are very dangerous emotions. So, be on guard against them. Learn from past mistakes, work to make amends as appropriate, and go forward.
Each day, make the conscious effort (not easy to do) to become a more constructive, positive, loving, forgiving, accepting person – not just of others, but of yourself. Of course, this will not make the mean-spirited and bitter (pain in the ass) co-workers, neighbors, family members, etc. any less so. But, at least you can make the free and conscious decision that you will not take the bait and will not play their destructive and hurtful (and sick) games. You not only have a right to protect yourself from the negativity of malcontents, you also have the responsibility to protect yourself from these “psychic vampires” that drain you of emotional energy and well-being.
Dear readers, those that have come this far, do not expect to be loved by all in return. We are in an unloving world. We are prisoners of the times we are living through. We all have a life sentence on this earth. But, we are free to choose to live a positive life even whilst we are among many who choose not to.
The biggest regrets that I personally have are for those times when I failed to do the right thing. The sins of omission may be even more damning than the sins of commission. As well, in an earlier essay, during this past summer, I wrote of the pain that comes from not being able to help one who so desperately needed help. These type regrets and pains stay with one for a very long time.
Try to be a more loving person, even though the world at large will not take notice nor care, because by doing so you will become more psychologically healthy and mature. You will be more fully alive. And, when you reach that age when there are more years behind you than in front of you, you will not be burdened by so much regret and remorse over lost opportunities to help others.
Best wishes to all on this holiday. Let us show our thankfulness by showing love to others.