Friday, September 20, 2013

A Paradox in Life

Each day, I get a variety of inspirational quotes or other words of wisdom. Earlier this week, here was my "Daily Flame" from "Your Inner Pilot Light":

"You know how sometimes you feel inferior to others, and other times you feel superior?  Darling, this only stems from a misguided notion that we are not all One.  So many suffer from the illusion of separateness, and it leaves you feeling different, special, and unworthy, like everyone else belongs - except you.  But know this. You belong. We all belong. You are not less than or better than. You are equal to every other soul on this planet because every one of us has within us a little spark of divinity that makes us worthy. Know who that little spark of divinity is?  Moi! 

When I read that, it was not long after I had posted THIS gem as my Facebook quote of the day: "Criticism is just someone else's opinion. Even people who are experts in their fields are sometimes wrong. It is up to you to choose whether to believe some of it, none of it, or all of it. What you think is what counts." ― Rodolfo Costa

A moment of raw honesty: I have always struggled with my relationships to others, particularly in feeling "less than....." I don't know when it started, only that I've seemingly always lived with it. If you have never faced this, God bless you. If you've lived it (like me), then you know. I don't have to say a thing for you to know how this feels. Why ..... Why do we torture ourselves with the belief that we are somehow greater than or lesser than another human, also made in the image and likeness of the Creator? Why do we allow ourselves to feel as if the person standing in front of us is somehow more special or a better person than we are?

A few years ago, I would have felt that way but never dreamed of telling anyone else. I dared not show my perceived weakness to another soul. No, no, no...... showing weakness was how you got wounded in the first place. Don't give the enemy out there any additional ammo, right?

Over and over again, in the last year, I have seen countless meditations, thoughts, books, etc. about the power and strength found in vulnerability. To be able to open yourself up to another person (or to many others) and risk everything to be exactly who you are. It is only from a position of true strength that you can say, "Façades are exhausting. I'd rather you see who I am behind the mask -- and if you don't like me, then I hate it for both of us. But I have to be me, regardless."

This is me: a little crazy, a lot tired and worn-out. I laugh too hard and too loud. I cry openly and often -- which amazes me, given that my heart is still tender after some of the beatings it has taken! I'm loyal to a fault unless you do something so painful that I cut you out from my life. And don't think I wouldn't; I have before with some others. I try to be as positive as possible and yet I worry when I shouldn't. I'm unabashedly a person of faith, and yet very open to reason and education, with a healthy dash of cynicism thrown in. I love my godchildren to the moon and back. I have the best girlfriends you could ever hope for. My families are big and insane and I wouldn't have it any other way. I know who I am, where my people are from, who they were, and where my heart lies.

I have been hurt badly enough to be a little gun-shy around people. I don't trust easily, and when that trust is damaged, it is hard to repair. Too often, my willingness to please and my kindnesses have been perceived as weakness. So I got tougher, less kind or less inclined to show it (especially when it hasn't been returned or even acknowledged). This has been a wrong approach......................

Strong is an awesome word. But real strength comes from being open to others, to be willing and able to be vulnerable, to risk rejection and being misunderstood to be real. To belong. To matter. To simply be you, the wonderful person that you were divinely created to be. A one-time-only way that God has smiled at the world again.

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