I’d love to share another cuppa together while we ponder sympathetic joy through the art of self-acceptance through forgiveness…
I’m contributing this piece to Debbie, of Forgiving Connects and her ForgivingFridays initiative, where she kindly invites us to ponder the steps we can take towards self-forgiveness, a huge leap towards self-acceptance and love.
Accepting ourselves involves all the traits we deem unworthy of our acceptance. We cannot begin to see ourselves as whole until we acknowledge those parts of us we are hoping no one notices….
Take jealousy for example…
I’ve been the worst at being jealous of everyone and everything they’ve achieved. It’s only recently I’m beginning to get a grip on this.
I can see where these intense feelings were coming from now…. I wasn’t happy with myself. It was like life had become one huge race, where there was one set of rules on how to be successful, how to live a happy life…
I was living according to everyone else’s idea of what that should look like.
As a result, I’d allow myself to gravitate towards traits, experiences, material things that I associated with a successful life.
Perhaps I was running away from being myself?
This realisation began through the critical journey towards self-acceptance…
Learning to explore what those intense feelings were trying to teach me, began the journey to accept it as part of me. And like a naughty child, once some attention is given to them, they don’t feel as desperate to create havoc…
Becoming more comfortable with myself enabled me to reach a point where I can now be happy for others’ successes. Any residual feelings means there are more lessons for me to learn.
As part of this acceptance, I discovered there is a term in Buddhism for this…the wonderful world of Sympathetic Joy.
Once I discovered I could cultivate this by focusing less on ‘eradicating’ jealousy, and focusing on learning how to be truly happy for others, it became a new way of thinking, like a mindful mental workout.
That doesn’t mean that little ‘green eyed monster’ won’t rear its little head any more.
But I’ve made peace with who I am, what I believe are my strengths and can laugh at the ‘rest’ of me now. Believe me, there are plenty of those occasions….
It helps negate the desire for the worst kind of comparison…the type that originates from those feelings of unworthiness, as opposed to being inspired to reach a level we wish to attain, coming from a place of love, or simply just being happy within ourselves for no particular reason.
The act of self-acceptance means when we have our buttons pushed by others, we have a greater capacity for seeing that person with compassion and understanding, knowing where they are coming from….after all, at any given moment we can also be in that place of discomfort and need to lash out in our own way.
In our wholeness, we can also at times be belligerent, jealous, thoughtless…
I forgive myself for feeling inadequate when I compare myself unfavourably against others, or display emotions that I have deemed ‘unworthy’.
A spiritual journey isn’t so much about ignoring or attempting to ‘mend’ all those parts of us. It’s about diving deep into our messiness, understanding ourselves, going ‘within’ in order to have greater capacity to emerge, with greater awareness of the impact we have on others.
In a way, it can become the essence of our purpose…
It begs us to ask the question, ‘How can I be more loving in this situation?’
We learn to respond rather than react.
When we return to the world in a state of non-judgement towards ourselves, we can offer this gift of peace, of being fully present and compassionate towards everyone we meet, including revelling in their joyful moments. In other words, we see ‘us’ in everyone….
Everyone becomes our teacher, helping us forge deeper roots to anchor our growth…
It embraces the power of connection, and is my new interpretation of the expression ‘we are all connected’…
…when we can delight in the joy of others, because we too understand joy,
and also… …when we can sit with them in their pain, because we have also known pain.
That’s when the beautiful magic between us and others begins…
I’d love to share a post by a blogging friend by the name of Gabe.
He writes an inspiring blog called (Almost) Unsalvageable where his writing and digital paintings inspire, uplift and educate.
Gabe has a wonderful sense of humour that he infuses into many of his posts, alongside his ‘willingness to be vulnerable.’
His post below touched many of his readers by highlighting and sharing the ‘voice’ of the homeless in his city.
…Thank you for this heartfelt post, Gabe.
I hope you enjoy it too. You’ll find the full version by clicking on the blue link below Gabe’s artwork.
Thank you for visiting this week,
I’ve been sitting on this sketch for a few weeks now, waiting for the right time to share it with you. Paul, one of the two authors at Two Voices One Transmission asked me to create a sketch based on descriptions of several characters in this blog post. His interactions with his “favorite neighbors,” who…
(The term ‘micro-moments’ courtesy of Barbara Fredrickson from her beautiful book, LOVE 2.0 …..Review in a forthcoming post).
You may remember from last week’s post about Love, thanks to Nikki’s weekly prompt, I made mention that it can be found in the dabbing of tears using the corner of a tissue…well, I’d love to share the reason behind that thought.
I hope you enjoy my story…
I was sitting at a café recently, writing a draft for a post, when a message came through on my phone…
You see, my best friend, Jo, from school days, had been to visit with her unwell mum…
Jo and I met on day one of first year of secondary school and were inseparable for all of those six years.
Jo moved to Queensland from Melbourne within a few weeks after that final year. We haven’t seen each other frequently in the ensuing years, as life took a different path for each of us.
I remembered her dear mum fondly, as often you may with the parents of your school friends…watching how other parents ‘parented’ was always a fascination for me, and Jo’s mum, Helen was forthright in offering advice about shaving our legs, plucking our eyebrows, and had in fact, shown me how to hang socks on the clothesline to maximise their drying capacity!! These little things I’ll never forget…
Jo was bringing her mum to Melbourne for a visit and we were going to spend one precious afternoon in the city. We simply loved our fleeting time together.
We laughed, shared a meal, walked around the city, mindful of the delicate nature of Helen’s health, and generally knew that the passing years had removed none of the affection we had for each other. We fell into ourselves as comfortably as if it were yesterday again.
We created many happy memories and to be totally yourself with someone you don’t see very often is a real privilege. The sense of connectedness, sharing of our past, remembering all the silly things we did as teenage girls…such as forgetting we were walking undercover while we huddled under an umbrella…brought pure joy at the reminiscing.
So, as with all things, it came to an end, and we reluctantly left each other later that evening, before new commitments took control of their final couple of days here.
The message that came through while I sat at the café on my own?
It was a photo Jo had sent of the aeroplane they were about to board…they were now at Melbourne airport, about to board to return to Queensland.
It had a huge emotional impact on me and tears welled up as I was sitting in the café, my tissue stained with mascara.
…I was embarrassed to go and pay for coffee, with what I imagined were rivers of black streaks down my cheeks. Even walking to the bathroom would have created a visual stir for others, I was sure!
There was a lady sitting in front of me by herself too.
I had a thought….
And may I add that it would have been easy to talk myself out of reaching out to this lady…
‘I don’t want to bother her,’ ‘she may be busy,’ she may tell me to leave her alone’…
Something compelled me to proceed.
I excused myself and asked her if I was obviously mascara-stained because I’d had a few tears. Her beautiful response was this:
She turned to me, lightly put her finger under my chin to lift my face, reached for a clean serviette and began dabbing at my face. I can feel a welling of emotion just typing these words.
It was, at that moment, as if we were the only two people in the café- we were so in tune and in the moment. I felt very seen and accepted as I presented my raw self to her. She didn’t ask the reason for my tears, but simply wished me well and said she hoped my day improved.
I could offer nothing but a heartfelt thank you in return.
I will never forget this moment of ‘love’ and it’s also a lesson for me that people like to show kindness, if we just give them half a chance. We often prefer to give than to humbly receive. I often wonder why this is?
Perhaps its due to those messages we have all heard many times…’It’s better to give that to receive’…
Maybe it should say, ‘In giving, we receive’, which I believe to be true if we offer without expecting anything in return.
But I see another way…
Perhaps in receiving, we are giving…
I’ve never seen this kind lady again and chances are I never will.
She may never know what this seemingly simple act of kindness meant to me…
And now we all understand…
So, ‘just for today,’ let’s allow someone the chance to offer this to us… and just receive graciously.