My Reality vs. Your Standards

From the time I was little, I was told I wasn’t good enough.

My grades weren’t good enough (or I could do better)

My behavior was never good enough (I could be quieter, kinder, more seen and less heard, more responsible)

My looks weren’t good enough (starting with the father of the boy I dated in 9th grade, who made him secretly date another girl while he dated me because I wasn’t pretty enough to be seen in public with)

My parents didn’t make enough money (said the girl whose parents inherited a family business)

My weight and size are definitely not good enough (says the media and the girls who bullied me in high school)

I was not a good mother or wife (said my former mother-in-law, for 25 years)

I am not a good teacher (says society and lawmakers and adults out of touch with the system)

So when I began my daily meditation practice a few years ago, I didn’t have much hope. In fact, despite wanting to sit for longer sessions each day, I made myself only sit six minutes to begin with. After all, anyone can do anything for six minutes. You can’t mess up six minutes, and if you do, you’ve screwed up only six minutes.

I did my six minutes. And then eight, which turned into ten which turned into fifteen minutes a day, minimum. I moved into hour long and ninety minute sessions of sitting in silence, in space, and allowing whatever bubbled up through my body and my levels of consciousness to be felt, seen, loved, accepted, and processed. It took me on a journey into teaching yoga, then teaching meditation, and now into a place where I still battle those demons of self-worth, but they don’t derail me. The thoughts still come, the awareness is still there, and I still have to process, but it doesn’t take quite so long these days because I have come to realize that life is all about the reality of the situation.

When someone questions our value, or our worth, it’s a reflection of them, not a reflection of us. It’s a reflection of only one of the qualities in us that they have chosen to focus on because it’s what they focus on in themselves, and they don’t like–and it’s much easier to criticize someone else for your perceived shortcoming. Accepting–truly accepting someone in an unconditional sense–is much more difficult, and for some, never attainable, because some never truly accept themselves.

It seems such a conundrum. If we can unconditionally accept all the parts of ourselves (including the flawed ones, or ones we see as less), which is our reality, we can begin to accept the wholeness (including perceived flaws) of others. The external standards we have come to levy against others as a form of qualification of their existence will start to dissolve, and we’ll start to realize we’re really not as different as we believed. Imagine where that can take us.