By Deborah L. Shipley
Have you ever wished yourself away? I am not referring to leaving your precious life on this Earth; but rather, just wished you weren’t a certain way or did not have some particular qualities and mannerisms that were so apparent to you. I know I have.
In the past, I’ve had a very difficult time when others would point out my weaknesses to me, either constructively or not-so tactfully. I would think, “ Wow, not only do I think these are big problems I have, but now everyone else sees them as well.“ I would hope and pray that these parts of my personality would disappear into the deep character trait abyss. I would pretend to myself they weren’t present or I would try my hardest to cover them up. I spent a lot of time and energy on hiding these areas that I wanted so desperately to vanish.
A big first step in learning to love oneself and in self-forgiveness is accepting every part of you as the unique person that you are. All of your so-labeled liabilities can be tweaked into assets, but they must first be accepted. Otherwise, you are pushing against the grain and not being authentic to your true self.
Let me give you an example of what I am talking about. In all of my past serious relationships, I have loved very passionately- so much so, that I’ve depended on the other person in the relationship for my happiness (what is commonly referred to as co-dependence). My moods depended on their moods, their well-being, or were correlated to the way they were treating me at the time. One can argue that this is not really love. I feel it was love, but with a very important component missing-that passionate love for myself… With it, the “dysfunctional” one-sided relationships may have flourished or an even more likely scenario~ I would have probably not attracted them in the first place (but that’s a topic for another day). Once I accepted this as a part of my unique persona I was able to direct it in a more healthy manner-passionate love for my child, my work, my family, my faith, and most importantly, myself.
You may find your dark sides in anger, co-dependence, low self-esteem or a combination of these or other perhaps not so desirable traits. We are missing a part of us by wishing these traits weren’t ours and not owning up to every inch of them. If we are only loving a part of ourselves or of others, we are not fully engaged in the experience of love. You know that feeling of being in a relationship where the other person may “kind of like you” or you “kind of like them“. It doesn’t flourish, and neither party is truly happy. It has been said by finding an area in which you have found the most struggles, therein lies your true purpose. These are gifts for us to embrace; lessons are presented for us to learn. Think of one of your greatest challenges-has that not shaped who you are today? When you are in the midst of it, it can be difficult; but when you step back, you see the beauty of it all.
Accept your yin and your yang. Accept your dark and your light. Accept your failures and your successes. I am not suggesting that we use this as an excuse to not participate in personal development or self-care, or to neglect to learn those lessons that are often presented to us throughout our lives. Instead I am suggesting that we embrace our unique selves and know that we are not on this Earth to take up space but rather to fulfill a beautiful life of our dreams in our own special way~ every valuable bit of us.
“If you can’t accept yourself, then certainly no one else will.”
Deborah Shipley is a gentle guide whose personal mission is to assist others in creating a daily practice where personal empowerment, growth, and healing are fostered so that one may be able to thrive while also being of service to the world. She has been published on websites and in printed publications for her articles relating to personal development and change.