For as long as I can remember I have been told how I must show up.
What to wear. How to behave. How my hair should look. How to speak. What tone of voice is acceptable. What emotions are acceptable. What facial expressions are preferred. How long to talk.
I should smile more.
Don’t ramble. Get to the point.
Crying is bad. Be seen and not heard. Don’t voice unacceptable opinions or viewpoints. Don’t rock the boat.
And my favorite: Don’t get “emotional.”
Of course happiness is an emotion and nobody complains about that.
Don’t get emotional really means “I’m uncomfortable with your anger/sadness/grief/fear and I don’t know how to handle displays of emotion that make me uncomfortable.”
Anyway. This happens. Not just to me, but to most of us.
It’s how we come to believe that love is conditional.
Who do you have to be to earn love? How must you show up to earn love?
It can take a lifetime to undo the conditioning, to grow the courage to show up as you are, to speak about your challenges and problems without someone telling you how to fix it or that you shouldn’t be so … whatever.
There isn’t always a fix. Growth is messy. It’s all part of the process. As the saying goes:
No mud, no lotus.
When we find the places where we can show up as we are and be welcomed as we are, when we can saddle up to the table covered in our mud and be welcomed, we’ve found a special place.
The people who listen as we ramble, who accept our tears, who don’t shirk from our anger and outbursts, who welcome us to the table even when we’re covered in mud, teach us the most important lesson in life:
That we are whole and worthy of love as we are.
Through meeting us as we are, these people teach us to accept ourselves as we are.
The places they inhabit are the places where we learn to love ourselves.
This is where we find our home.