"The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure that you seek." - Joseph Campbell
Okay, it's time to get real. Serious honesty. Here we go...
As a coach and healer, my mission has been for people to know how loved they are, for them to see that their perfection lies in their wholeness (the light AND the dark parts). I see the beauty in each person I work with, and hold the space for them to see it for themselves. But, I would be lying if I said that I don't struggle with this very thing myself. Confession: I am a perfection-seeking, people-pleasing, power-fearing human being trying desperately to love herself.
It's extremely vulnerable to say that out loud, but that is the truth of it. The thing that hurts my heart the most though, is the idea that I believe on some level that who I am is unloveable. Heart-breaking. I believe that is what stops each one of us from standing completely and whole-heartedly in our authentic wholeness... the fear of judgement, rejection... of being abandoned or outcasted. In perpetuating this belief, whether conscious or not, what we are really doing is withholding love from ourselves.
In a workshop with Meggan Watterson, she offered up a question that rattled my core and left me breathless. Simply... it was this:
"Where within you has your love not yet reached?"
That question holds the key to our healing, for it acknowledges the power to be loved has always been within us. We are taught that validation, approval, and worthiness comes from what people think of us, what we do, or what we have. But in seeking for our value outside of ourselves, we will always come up empty handed. Our wholeness comes first in acknowledging what we have not wanted to acknowledge about ourselves... the aspects we push down, and hide, and shame. These aspects (our shadow) need our love. We cannot seek wholeness without addressing their pain, because in denying them, we deny ourselves.
It is terrifying to admit this, but my deep shame is that I am bad... that there is something SO inherently wrong about me, that if anyone knew (you all now do!) I would be completely rejected. Where this comes from, I couldn't tell you, but the belief is undeniable and has crippled me my entire life. I have tried to cover this up, by always being "the good girl", seeking to always be "perfect"... as I knew that would guarantee me love. But we can't always be good, and in our humanness, in our learning, perfection isn't attainable by our standards. So in asking where within me has love not yet reached, it is this "bad" creature I must shake hands with and offer over my love and compassion. By LOVING her, I bring her out of the darkness and into the light, and she becomes cleansed by my willingness to acknowledge her. By refusing to deny her, I come to know the message she brings me: "That mistakes are opportunities for growth. That it is my responsibility to give myself the love, respect, acceptance, and worthiness that I have been seeking. And in denying my wrongness I have denied my rightness." With this awareness, I am by no means "DONE" with my work. There are layers to our inward journey, but it starts with extending a hand and walking faithfully into that dark cave of our being to meet the "beasts" we fear being exposed.
The beautiful part about all of this, and hear me when I say it:
THERE IS NOTHING AND NO PLACE TOO DARK WHERE LOVE CANNOT REACH.
Our true authentic self is Pure Love. Our healing comes when we extend this loving grace to the ones that need it most, whether that is our beasts or someone else's. They are our greatest teachers that lie within the darkness.
We must remember that True Love offers no judgment, makes no demands, and is not conditional. It sees the gold, the Divinity, and the beauty of humanity and holds the space for our potential to emerge forth, all the while knowing our complete perfection.