When we embarked upon the spiritual journey it was undeniably a part of our goal to attain perfection. We have been indoctrinated, proselytized, and programmed to desire perfection. That’s why advertising works. It tells us that we are not perfect, BUT we could be perfect if we only use a certain product, drive a certain type of car, own the right house, and discover the right job. Everyone wants to help us by selling us something- self-help books, talismans, prayer beads, amulets, potions, therapies, and workshops. So why are we all still unhappy with ourselves?
Maybe it’s because we believe in the myth of Heavenly Attainment. This myth says- One day we will arrive at a blessed and blissful land where everything will be well, happy, and forever wonderful. Some of us are content to wait until we die hoping that will take care of the suffering of our lives and we will join the angels for an eternity of song and holy delight. Some of us are always in process, striving to do what is right, be as perfect as possible, perform every action recommended by our spiritual path, studying each new idea that seems promising- hoping that somehow our life will turn out the way we hoped, planned, and intended. When our life still doesn’t make us happy, wealthy, and wise, we blame ourselves, or the path, or the spiritual teacher, our parents, our culture, our gender, or anything else that seems to be amiss in the world.
But what if things just are what they are? What if life will never be safe, no matter how many insurance policies we own? What if failure is enviable and we will continue to make mistakes no matter how many college degrees we earn? Or how good we get at controlling ourselves or others? What if we are OK just like we are? What if suffering will continue to exist in our life even if we are OK being who and how we are?
Most of us are constantly looking for what’s wrong, and creating new crises so we can rise to the occasion. To the little self-ego that’s survival. It’s very important that something is wrong so we can continue to survive it. Over and over we say, “I’m responsible… I need to do it right…I must be perfect!” This internal pressure leads to stress. Stress leads to developing a coping skill (eating, drinking, smoking, drugs, yelling, hitting, etc.) which relieves our stress but makes us feel awful about ourselves. So- we resolve to be responsible, correct our behaviors, get it right, and make sure we are perfect next time! Which leads to stress…so…
Could you love someone who doesn’t meet the standards you were taught must be met in order to be lovable? What happens when you don’t meet those standards? And most of us never meet those standards. Remember not wanting to be how you are is the most significant factor of SELF-HATE.
When we accept ourselves how we are- when we know and accept our less desirable qualities and also accept our benefactor qualities we might grow to love ourselves. Most of us think that loving ourselves will make us selfish. But those who feel completely loved and lovable are not selfish- THEY ARE LOVING!
“Come to the edge,” he said.
They said: “We are afraid.”
“Come to the edge,” he said.
He pushed them,
And they flew…
– Guillaume Apollinaire