I invite you to enter into your darkness and I say this in the lightest way possible.
I invite you to look at your dark corners and to sit with your worst fears. I invite you to enter that long denied space that you have so willingly been hiding from yourself and others. I invite you to take a look at your neighbours and at those you criticise the most.
I invite you to take a look in the mirror and confront your worst enemy: YOU.
For there is no light without shadow and you can only see your light once you have stepped into your shadow. For whatever criticism you scream at your neighbour is a part of you that demands healing.
Because the yin is contained in the yang and the yang is contained in the yin. Because nothing is 100% bad or 100% good, but most of all, because what you can't be with, won't let you be.
Carl Jung once said that knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darkness of other people, and that "until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate."
Self-acceptance and self-love implies incorporation of your whole being, of all your imperfections and fears, your colours and nuances.
It implies shedding light into the darkest room of your soul; it requires you to open the doors you have 'so safely' locked. It reminds you that whatever is bothering you in someone else is because it touches you at some level, otherwise it would have passed by unnoticed.
HAVE you ever noticed that when you point a finger at someone, there are three fingers pointing back at you?
Self-acceptance is not about choosing to be your 'good' or your 'bad' version, but acknowledging that they both exist and co-exist within you.
Self- acceptance is understanding that life is made of contrasts and opposite forces: day AND night, winter AND spring, light AND shadow, and so are you.
Self-acceptance is realising that even flowers don't blossom year round, so why expect that from yourself? Even souls have seasons.
The beauty of life is balancing all of you into one space. This relies on knowing that even when you are Joe- the giver, Joe- the selfish doesn't cease to exist. And that there will be times when Joe-the selfish will need to emerge and therefore 'good' and 'bad' becomes a mere matter of perspective and perception.
There is so much power and energy contained in the so called 'negative' emotions: rage, anger, guilt, shame, but you have been using this energy to battle those feelings, to hide it from yourself and others because it's a part of you that you don't accept and perhaps even deny its existence.
If only this energy could be used to shed light into those thoughts, emotions and behaviours and then channelled to create movement and transformation. Oh! The things you could achieve! Even when you stumble, motion is created and is a movement that propels you forward.
But perhaps most importantly, true freedom can only exist when there is acceptance of your whole, indivisible being. Liberty is reached when there is acknowledgement that you are complete, but yet imperfect, and that everything, every moment, every emotion deserves to be looked at with kind, understanding eyes.
To study thyself is the bravest art, and allowing yourself to feel those emotions will make you feel vulnerable. But what is vulnerability if not a measure of courage?
Allowing yourself to show up and be fully seen lies at the very core of what makes each of us an inimitable experiment of nature, and thus unique. No one is better at the art of being you, than...you.
In the wise words of Rumi:"This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they are a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty, of it's furniture, still treat each guest honourably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond."
So dare greatly, show up in the arena, live fully, embrace your darkness, nurture your wounded child, for "we craft love from heartbreak, compassion from shame, grace from disappointment, courage from failure, showing up is our power, we are the brave and the broken hearted, we are rising strong." (Brown, 2015)