Oprah has a section in her magazine called “What I know for sure” (something like that). Every month she reflects on her most recent life lessons and narrows it down to what she can say she knows “for sure.” And it got me thinking; what do I *know* for sure? Believe it or not, it’s a much harder question than I anticipated – especially when I’m in such an intense process of undoing, unlearning, and unknowing.
Here’s what I’ve boiled it down to:
I know that self-love is not just about accepting our “flaws” or “humanity” – it’s also about acknowledging and allowing our power – our Being – to simply BE. In fact, my most “god-like” moments have little to do with altruism or grand demonstrations of love. Rather, the moments I feel the most content and in love with life is when I’m allowing what I feel inside to be what I express on the outside – and it changes all the time! Being authentic – allowing exactly what I am to matter – to be, and to show. The fact that these moments are standing out with such profound clarity is a deep indication of how much of my life I’ve spent being inauthentic, for the motivation of being more loved, more accepted, more likeable.
What a prison.
The truth is, I don’t know. I feel unsure. I feel elated. I feel powerful. I feel beautiful. I feel invincible. I feel vulnerable. I feel like I DO know. And rather than qualifying these passing feelings to definition, I’m simply allowing myself to be a contradiction. I find the more I embrace my inner paradox, the less ambiguous I become.
When I really think about it, the biggest lie I use to tell was how insecure or weak I felt. I told that lie a lot – because I thought it made me more likable. Somewhere along my journey I got the message that to be confident about myself was prideful. Or to do/write/be where I authentically resonated was unacceptable, intolerable, or unpalatable. In the confusion of trying to be acceptable, I forgot what it meant to be. That’s when I started to lie. And it seemed to work. People seemed to enjoy or feel disarmed by my self-depreciating tendencies, to the extent that I made it a huge part of my personality.. But it never really felt good to me. And what I’m learning is, it wasn’t fair to my relationships. Living a lie may feel more polite, but on an energetic level, it’s barbaric.
So here’s what I know for sure: I don’t want to lie anymore.
I’ve stopped pretending to be anything other than what I am. Sometimes I feel small and insignificant, but mostly, when I’m really honest, I feel/see how immense and powerful I am. That I can be significant and insignificant simultaneously is awe-inspiring. And what’s most surprising to discover is, I really like myself. I’ve spent so much time believing to hate myself was the more righteous thing to do, that I never realized I was fighting against my most basic nature, which is love. I actually love myself.
I like that I’m a walking paradox. I like that I’ve tried and failed a million times. I like that I can throw a fit when things aren’t going well because I know deep down life is MEANT to be lived awake and aware. I like that I allow my vulnerability to be seen and still take care to give my heart what it needs. But most of all, I like that I’m human. People typically associate “humanness” with being weak or flawed, but I see it as the most badass modality for expressing many truths, and failing all of them simultaneously. How ingenious of us! This experiment is working well.
So here’s to being human, to not knowing (and sometimes not even caring) what “the truth” is. I just know that I Am. And that’s enough.