Honor Your Realities

Be-True-1-2-640x430Every so often, I use my bathroom mirror for some other reason than to take shirtless selfies (according to my computer, “selfies” is either misspelled or not a word…get with it, MS Word!).

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, my bathroom mirror. So recently I got the idea to buy some dry erase markers and write myself daily reminders on the mirror. I’m sort of thick-headed and need regular reminders about all sort of things – like to put clothes on before leaving the house (but after taking the selfies for the day).

The other day, I wrote this: Honor your realities, without shame or judgment.

Our realities are our realities, plain and simple, right? You can’t wish away the fact that you are older or younger or happier or depressed-er or fatter or skinnier or shyer or outgoinger or shorter or taller or saner or insaner than you are (apparently, Word doesn’t like some of those words, either…picky, picky!). People spend entire lives wishing that their realities were something other than what they are…but no dice. Our realities are our realities. Period.

So what should we do about them? Here are a few of the options I’ve tried in the past:

Resent them.

Pray for them to change.

Try to hide them.

Lie about them.

Overanalyze them, hoping they will morph into something else.

Philosophize about why they are what they are.

Talk to therapists about them, hoping to understand them and, by doing so, change them.

Numb myself to them with shiny new things or sudsy beverages.

And thus far, not one of these strategies has effectively changed even one tiny aspect of my realities…my truths, if you will. Some things are just true for me and they will never NOT be true for me (if you’d like to know what these are, there’s a whole year’s worth of blog posts for you to wade through at your leisure…I won’t recount them here).

So I decided to change my approach to my own realities: Instead of trying to analyze them away, I will honor them without shame or judgment. Why should I be ashamed of things I can’t change or even control? Why should I judge myself for that which I did not choose? Yeah, I’m moody and complex. Okay, there’s plenty of good stuff that comes with those qualities, too, so why shouldn’t I try to quit feeling ashamed of them? Walt Whitman, yet again: “I exist as I am…do I contradict myself…I am large…I contain multitudes…I sound my barbaric YAWP over the roofs of the world.”

Everyone’s realities are complex, messy, unsavory in some ways, beautiful and profound in others. Here’s a helpful metaphor: We all have bodies. Parts of our bodies are beautiful and appealing, and parts of our bodies, we don’t even want to look at in our bravest moments. Hopefully we all have something about us that we can acknowledge is beautiful, but I’m 100% sure that we all have parts of our bodies that we aren’t eager to post pictures of on Facebook.

But the fact is that every part of our bodies serves some useful purpose, from our internal organs to our kneecaps to our eyes to our armpits to our toes. Why do we spend so much time wishing our bodily realities could be different? They never will be. Ever! But isn’t it beautiful to see someone who’s “comfortable in her own skin,” even if that skin is wrinklier or more blemished or pudgier than the “ideal” skin is supposed to be? Of course! It’s beautiful when someone honors her realities without a sense of shame or judgment.

Children are very good at this, especially in regard to both their bodies and their emotions. They aren’t aware (yet) that their naked bodies aren’t something to parade around no matter who is looking; they aren’t aware (yet) that some things shouldn’t be cried about or screamed over. Children honor their realities without shame or judgment.

So join me in trying to look my realities in the face without the shame or judgment that almost always accompanies these truths that cannot be changed or undone.



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