You are not broken. Isn’t that a relief? Yup, your soul doesn’t need to be fixed, nipped, tucked or squished into an acceptable template. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with you. If you feel like a square peg in a round hole, if you feel unworthy, neglected, banged up or lost in any way—this blog is for you. Welcome to unconditional self-acceptance.
Through my work I get to travel the globe giving lectures and speeches, signing books and meeting thousands of people every year. I treasure those experiences. They remind me that no matter what our history, we’re more similar than different.
We all want to feel peace, connection and love. We all want to heal. And we all can.
As I stand on stages awash in sparkly lights, I often find myself looking into a gentle ocean of searching eyes. Eager seekers trying to learn how to live a good, healthy life. Smiley people. Tall people. Old people. Young people. Sick people. Perky people. All types of interesting people. But sometimes my intuition sees a layer deeper. In those moments, I notice a (subtle) collective anxiety, a pulsing desperation to get it “right.”
Of course a gusto for growth is vitally important. We all benefit from educating ourselves and making lifestyle upgrades. But it’s tricky to make changes from a belief that we’re fundamentally flawed. When we force improvements from that negative space, it becomes impossible to stick with them.
The good news is that it’s possible to seek from a place of fullness rather than lack, excitement rather than fear. To know that even though you may be confused about a particular topic, you’re not incapable. You’re not a project to be checked off and accomplished. Your deep capacity to heal and grow is always present. Always. You don’t need a book or a doctor or a shaman to guide you. You just need to know how to go home to yourself on a daily basis.
“Do you make regular visits to yourself?” — Rumi
Such a great question! Thanks, Rumi.
Recently, my mom and I made visits to ourselves by attending a three-day meditation workshop with best-selling author, Buddhist scholar and psychologist, Tara Brach. It was deeply replenishing for us both. As much as I love teaching, I also cherish my time as a student. The title of the workshop was “True Refuge: Three gateways to peace and freedom.” True Refuge is also the name of Tara’s most recent book, a must read. In between guided and silent meditations, mindful strolls and candid personal reveals, we discussed how to cultivate presence (or mindfulness) through the three gateways: awareness, truth and love. Why do we do this? To access that homey space inside ourselves, to visit the True Refuge.
Hold for a poetry break…
Clearing by Martha Postlewaite
Do not try to save
the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
in the dense forest
of your life
and wait there
until the song
that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself
to this world
so worthy of rescue.
“Create a clearing in the dense forest of your life.” Isn’t that delicious? Tara read that poem to kick off the weekend. When I think of that clearing, I feel an invitation to come back to myself, to experience grace while releasing the thoughts that paralyze me. That clearing is inside you. How easy it is to forget when we get caught up in everyday stressors and old aches and pains. Presence (pause, awareness) is the last thing we think of cultivating throughout the day, especially when the going gets tough and the proverbial shit hits the fan.
Our society makes finding that inner space all the more challenging. Tara discussed how we live in a culture that encourages separation from ourselves and the world around us. Whether we’re conscious of it or not, we’re encouraged to fit into certain standards. “The best bikini bodies revealed!” or “10 things you need to do TODAY or your man will dump your ass!” Unfortunately, the only way to fit in is to whitewash our uniquely fabulous, kinky, quirky, wild essence or real self. Next we construct a fake (more snoring-ly appropriate) self in order to get the love and approval we seek. That kind of validation is built on a house of cards. And as I was reminded this weekend, the separation from our self (soul) only creates more suffering.
The more separation we feel, the harder it is to nestle into the genuine loving refuge inside ourselves. The True Refuge.
But finding your way to unconditional self-acceptance is easier than you think.
If I were to set my inner GPS to “home,” here’s how it would direct me:
- Pause and prepare for some Spiritual Spelunking!
- Set your intention to find your way back to yourself.
- Grab a sturdy flashlight and allow whatever feelings to come up.
- Notice without judgement (yeah, get off your own back!).
- Have the courage and compassion to sit with any discomfort.
- Connect with your heart. You may chat with yourself: “I’m here, it’s OK, I love you.”
- Practice non-attachment—basically don’t identify or cling to your shizzle. And remember, it’s a thought, not a fact.
- Woot! You made it.
If pesky, loud thoughts spring up during this practice, remember, it’s just brain blather. If your mind is like mine, it’s a raunchy parrot fluttering amok and crapping all over the place. Except I am not the parrot and neither are you. As we become more conscious of our true nature and as we develop a loving friendship with ourselves, we can slowly awaken from the illusion and realize that we’ve got the goods right here, right now, today, tomorrow and for all eternity. Being present and accepting ourselves in all our messy majesty is our greatest spiritual opportunity.
“Between the stimulus and response there is a space and in that space lie your power and freedom” — Viktor Frankl
So relax your body, release your “shoulds” and as Tara said, “stay close to what matters in your life.” Start to look for healthy, feel-good ways to truly be with yourself. And when self-judgement or attack shoot up, hold those negative thoughts with compassion and loving kindness. You might be surprised at how quickly they dissolve.
If you’re having a hard time with this, Tara suggested an awesome exercise. Identify a being that you see as enlightened. Invite them into your consciousness (I pictured Gandhi and me floating on rafts in my pool, beer cozies and all). Allow them to advise you. Ask yourself to just shhh and listen. And then, just wait for wisdom, comfort and bliss to wash over you.
Your turn: Do you struggle with self-acceptance? What tried-and-true techniques have you used to increase your self-love?
Peace and untangling,
My 52-card affirmation deck will bring you daily reminders of the infinite possibilities of your future! Check out my Crazy Sexy Love Notes deck today!
Thank you thank you thank you. You’re sharing this has come at so perfect a time my eyes popped (how did you know I needed this exact message at this exact moment?!!). You’re kindness and generosity have given me fresh hope for this day and week which started out rather blue, and reminded me to remind myself of the progress I am making in work/life versus focussing on all the things I haven’t accomplished/am behind on.
Need to read this through a few more times, and find a bit of quiet time to reflect and reassure and root for myself:)
With love and great appreciation,
Thank you, Tara. That was food for the soul. I will print it and read and reread.
Beautiful post Kris and very à propos 🙂
These thoughts: “I am broken, I have to work on myself, I am not enough” are so rampant these days.
(I know, I have them too).
The good news is that they’re just that, thoughts. We can stop thinking them and giving them so much importance. It’s like removing the thorn in your arm (see The Untethered Soul for more on this)
A belief is a thought we keep thinking over and over again. We are therefore just a (new) thought away from freedom! This is my own revolution this summer: fresh, expansive joyful though freedom!
“I am whole, I am peace, I am perfect just as I am.”
(Include you own new fresh thought here __________ and repeat often 🙂
Yes. Just yes.
Thank you, you beautiful woman 🙂
Beautiful imagery… the clearing in the forest, loved the spelunking imagery too:-)
Best article yet, Kris! I originally subscribed to your blog for food and health information, but this is so timely for the planet right now. I love your wit and enthusiasm…you make me want to BE a better me…keep doing your thing!
I often feel broken & tossed around by circumstances. I often long to be more beautiful, more
thin, more bubbly, etc. Thank you for reminding me of where peace lies & how vital it is to connect
to that inner garden regularly. You continue to change my life for the better. Thank you Kris.
Wow, this is exactly what I needed this morning. I have been having trouble staying on track, the path to health and self acceptance. The child in me seems to only be soothed with comfort things that are not good for me. Giving her a big hug will have to be the new comfort. Its ok to sit with the feelings. Nothing will happen, except growth.
Thank you Kris for all that you do.
Exactly, Kris! In fact, earlier in the year I wrote a post, a very brief one, almost more of a love poem, with the same title.
And, I consider Tara Brach one of my teachers so this post definitely resonated with me! I like her discussions about the false refuges, places where we go (drinking, food, negative self-talk, etc.) that we think are helpful, but are actually destructive. Too much “self-help” can be a false refuge. Thanks for sharing this post, Kris!
ATM I feel not worthy of much
I will get better and thanks for your words I have downloaded her book on my kindle and will try some me time x
I love your inspirations
We all need them 😉
I so love your food for the soul!! Sigh…. thank you Kris! xox
Thank you, that was beautiful, just the inspiration I needed.
Whew! THIS was a fantastic article. Thank you for caring enough to share it with us.
Thanks yet again for a fantastic post – I look forward to reading them every Monday night as it always helps me put my hectic start to the week into perspective! You have been an inspiration to me over the past five years since I was diagnosed with MS. Do you have any plans to visit Australia??
Boy did i need to hear this today. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Thank you Kris! This is exactly what I needed to hear today. Beautifully written. Thanks so much for being the shining star that you are, your work is deeply inspiring. I will re-read this blog now…loving that poem.
I loved this post. The idea of spiritual spelunking is fabulous. I’m a storyteller who writes about how inner peace is the key to peace in the world. And healing is such a critical part of inner peace – to include physical healing and emotional and mental healing. Thanks for keeping us healthy!!
Love, love, love! I am filled with gratitude! 🙂
This… was… SO juicy, wow, I don’t know anyone who couldn’t benefit from this post.
So many of us have conditioned ourselves to morph into this flawed notion of “ultimate acceptability”. Total bullshit, and a waste of time. Thanks for this reminder, it’s a lesson so easily forgotten.
I love the Brene Brown quote (oh, Brene, you wonderful woman) where she says “fitting in is the greatest barrier to belonging”. Bam. So powerful.
Thanks for the poem as well, that was beautiful. xo
Wow thanx sooo much Kris! It´s awesome and very inspiring, as usual! Warm hugs from Paris