The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change – Carl Rogers
What precisely is this “self” that we are being called to accept?
Many of us grew up in the culture that believed in the “dark spot theory” of the self. To have this perspective one had to face the “fact” that human nature is seriously flawed, divided against others, itself, and the Source of Life. So feeling shame about oneself is a logical outcome.
There is another paradigm about human nature that some have embraced that could be named the “green perspective”. Here green is good and in our heart of hearts we are endowed with love and kindness.
It is from this green place that there is a call from the universe that invites us to experience two basic messages. “You are unconditionally loved” and “You are acceptable as you are”.
Those truths are for me the two arms of grace that I often find supporting me in the difficult and trying times
Each message stands in stark contrast to the dark spot view of human nature that can lead to self-hate, rejection, and a sense of alienation.
Message #1: You are unconditionally loved
In contrast to the dark spot message that says
I have to earn love and acceptance.
We are led to believe that our worth is based on a set of conditions like,
“You will be loved if you…
… obey all the rules
… don’t fail too frequently
… remain youthful
…are smarter that everyone else
…have achieved a certain status
…accumulate a list of accomplishments
…are productive all the time
The Message of the Universe. “You are loved. Period.”
Nothing can detract from or add to the love that flows within and towards you. It is a solid fact of life. The key is to find ways to resolve these conditions of worth and experience grace in the face of the how bad we feel about ourselves.
Message #2: You are acceptable as you are
In contrast our dark spot message says
There is something fundamentally wrong with me?
We live with a constant message that we are “less than”. Author Tara Branch calls this the “trance of unworthiness”. So when we have any perceived personal flaws like acting out our hurts in harmful ways or just plain experiencing our human limitations, we have a self-loathing voice that can bring us to our emotional knees.
Such a negative view of the self is totally unnecessary and very destructive. It eclipses our inner essence and alienates us from others. We have to learn how to see that the thoughts about ourselves have been appropriated from others and are not aligned with the truth of our inner “green” nature. Studies indicate that at least 80% of our daily thoughts are conditioned/contaminated by past experience.
The Message of the Universe says “you are acceptable as you are.”
Recognizing our true nature we return to the essence of our person that is green and good.
The key now is to live this on a daily basis.
Ways to Live Green
- Forgive ourselves whenever we cause ourselves pain for thinking that we are either unloved or unworthy.
- Surround ourselves with people who affirm these two truths. Avoid people who don’t.
- Learn to recognize the Source of those two inner messages and that we are one with that Source. We always were and always will be.
- Recognize our essential oneness with all of humankind. We have more in common with others than we are led to believe.
- Constantly challenge toxic messages we carry in our minds with the truth the universe is telling us or in the words of Paul Tillich “simply accept the fact that you are accepted.”
- Find a place of inner silence where the possibility of the two messages can be whispered to us.
The result of practicing the above two universal thoughts is that they become hardwired in us, or as one author put it
“the thoughts that fire together, wire together”.
At the end of the day this is the journey of life. Become what you are and not what you were conditioned to be.
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