The greatest gift that you can give to yourself is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance.
The darkness always comes. As we seclude to our beds and offer ourselves to the curious state of dream, we allow ourselves to let go and dissolve into a misunderstood world of the subconscious.
The morning always comes. As we awake to the blurring of the alarm, the chirp of the bird, the call of a child, we ascend to consciousness. We awake with the belongings we allowed to share the bed with us. Our clothing, our partners, our thoughts, our emotions, and our spirit.
Wearily we rub our eyes, as we dress ourselves with clothing, responsibilities, fears, and aspirations. We stare into the future longing for a place of peace, calculating a timeline to when we will arrive, failing to realize that we are the ones wearing the weights rendering us unable to find peace. By consciously reviewing the stresses of yesterday, we immediately lose the rest acquired in sleep.
We have been lied to.
We have learned that that joy is achieved by checking boxes, not realizing that the list of tasks is endless. In fact, by doing so we are creating the monster we are trying to hide from. We attempt to control the uncontrollable.
The antonym for control, is acceptance. Acceptance means a willingness to experience situations, thoughts, and beliefs. Acceptance, tolerance, and forgiveness, those are life-altering lessons. What an amazing concept that we have the capability let go of control. We let go of swimming upstream and allow ourselves gently ride down the stream, but this time without our worries and fears. We let our journey unfold as it gently comes into view, as it should. The more we allow for our journey, the more joyful the journey becomes.
We have been taught that new experiences aren’t to be trusted as we experience fear and anxiety when we let go of control. Shift your thoughts, allow for new experiences to be filled with curiosity and intrigue. Allow yourselves to learn from the opportunities instead of avoiding them. What we may be trying to avoid, may be our dreams trying to unfold. And the experiences may be part of the process of growth. Fear is useless during this time, where trust is paramount. We must learn to trust that we have a path in this life.
Please don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean we don’t try to create our best life and we don’t give up in the face of adversity, it only means that we let go of the physical hold it has on us. We remain focused with intention, while simultaneously releasing the grip of stress has on us.
It is possible.
I invite you to consider the grips of stress, guilt, sadness, or fear. Close your eyes and notice where it lingers in your body. Take a deep breath and notice the experience of your diaphragm expanding, the cool air coming through your nose, the sinking into the earth as you exhale. Breathe is system that gives us life, notice we can live with our uncomfortable experience and continue to be grounded and focused with intent on our journey.
Take another deep breath and notice any tensions in your neck, shoulders, back, or mind. These are places where we carry the deepest lies we tell ourselves. Lies that tell us that this world is against you, you are not loved.
These lies do not serve you.
Exhale and let them go. Even for just a moment allow yourself a moment to accept your humanity and give yourself the love you so deeply crave. Imagine if you could tie a rock to these lies and watch them sink into the ocean. What does the world look like then?
When you wake up the next morning, and the rush of consciousness weighs you down. Recognize and love your humanity. Allow yourselves to notice the uncomfortable experiences and give yourself the love you deserve.
A model of therapy I have used with clients with the worst types of PTSD is called Gestalt Therapy, which is intended to “make the person whole”. In PTSD, all patients experience a “split” from humanity, as if they’re not part of this world. In trauma, the mind literally shuts off to survive, but often time it struggles to turn back on.
With Gestalt, I ask my clients to talk to the empty chair in the corner of my office. I invite them to imagine either a past version of themselves or a loved one. I will often invite clients to hold conversations with the person that experienced the terrible trauma. I invite them to love and hold their inner child that was sexually abused multiple times, I invite them to comfort themselves when they watched their friend die in combat, I invite them to hold their loved ones who passed away. The biggest lie with PTSD, and many other mental health diagnoses, is that we tell ourselves we are unworthy of love. This is entirely untrue.
It’s learning to accept our experiences and finding growth in the challenges that we flourish.
The greatest gift that you can give to yourself is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance