By Eugenie Heraty
All of us, at some stage in our lives, struggle with accepting ourselves simply as we are. We may be burdened by negative judgements against ourselves, compare ourselves unfavourably with others or struggle to live up to unrealistic standards. Such energy draining behaviours leave us discouraged, isolating us further from our own unique strengths. Far from needing to add more qualities to ourselves, we actually need to recognise, and then release, the useless negativity that others have projected onto us.
How do we even begin to do this? By becoming conscious enough to recognise which painful emotions require our healing attention; rather than projecting them onto others or simply denying them. As we acknowledge what belongs to us – “this is my anger/fear/jealousy” – we come to recognise all the harmful conditioning that was projected onto us by our parents, teachers and peers. Drawing clear boundaries in this way, we begin the journey of returning to the unique person we were originally designed to be.
Letting go forms a crucial part of this journey; letting go of old grievances towards others that waste so much energy, letting go of rigid expectations for the future. Above all, becoming conscious of, and then letting go of, the countless ways we diminish ourselves.
It means accepting, “Yes – these are my fears – this is my emotional pain, and now I’m taking responsibility for it.” Only then can we become healed and transformed. Sometimes we just need to acknowledge, “I’m scared” or “I’m hurting,” rather than trying to “fix it” or push it away. In this way, we can bring so much healing to ourselves.