|Image via jodimillerphotographyblog.com|
As you’ve probably gathered, I’ve spent a great deal of time at the intersection between the “Real World” and “What Was.” Standing at this juncture, I’ve watched friends jump into luxury vehicles, and drive down “Med School Lane” or "Law School Ave." Then there is me, car-less and trekking toward “Artistic cul-de-sac” via foot. But just like Cheryl Strayed says (I know I’m slowly becoming her annoying number one fan), “It’s okay to travel by foot. There is so much ahead that’s worth seeing, so much behind you can’t identify at top speed.” Since I’m not speeding along any avenue any faster than my feet can take me, I’m able to do some soul searching along the way. I’ve packed my shovel and muddin’ boots with the intent to dig deep into the depths of myself while I meander down some un-named road by foot.
As I've dug, I've turned up a lot of thoughts about acceptance and gratitude. From my experience, it seems as though everyone fumbles with self-acceptance. We seem to wish that we could be someone else, someone smarter, stronger, skinnier, better, and faster. Rather than expressing gratitude for what we have, we focus on what could be better.
After spending a lot of time with these thoughts, I’ve noticed that we all tend to be our greatest, worst enemies. Our eyes become warped by unrealistic ideals, and we acquire a ruthless inner voice that speaks only hate. We make merciless comments about ourselves, comments that echo through the halls of our minds. We’ve all tried to shut that door, stacking chairs, bricks, and elephants in front of it, buying pad locks, latches, and dead bolts, but that inner voice finds its way out. The only way to prevent hearing that callous inner voice is to simply turn it off. We all know, that that’s no easy task. It means we have to do work, deep inner probing to reach some sort of self-acceptance. No matter how hard we try to rework ourselves into something we are not - via diet, plastic surgery, or exercise, we’ll never look like celebrity x, y, or z; we will never be “perfect.” For some of us, that mean voice is so loud it blisters our ears and suffocates our authentic voices. It becomes so overpowering that it turns us into something we're not so we are forced to fight even harder for that goal of acceptance.
If we don’t like a person we are with, we can leave; if we are not happy in the place we live, we can move. But in terms of our bodies, we are stuck, wedged, and trapped. No matter how much we learn to dislike them, our bodies are ours for the long hall, so we have to learn to love them. That mean voice doesn’t give us the permission to do so, so turn him off, turn up that voice that speaks only love instead. Turn up that voice that reminds you of your greatest, most desirable qualities and listen to that voice only. Turn down the voice that criticizes your "fat legs,"and blast the voice that thanks your legs for allowing you to move.