Happy 2020 my people! I know the new year is all about resolutions and what we can do to improve just a bit, and there’s plenty of time for that, but what do you think of the idea that we are pretty darn impressive just the way we are. What if nothing was wrong with you? I know….what if there really was nothing wrong with you and you just accepted that. How would that settle into your heart?
Stay tuned for today’s episode on self love, self acceptance, and the novel idea that we are acceptable here and now, just as we are. In fact we are more than acceptable – we are beloved and filled with magic.
Since loving ourselves creates the foundation for loving our story – this topic is ideal for the Love Your Story podcast, so I wanted to pose the question to you – What if there is nothing wrong with you?
I first heard this statement from Susan Henkel’s TED Talk, part of the “How to Be a Better Human” series, so let’s start there…
Susan Henkels has worked as a psychotherapist for more than 45 years.That means she’s spent decades smiling and nodding, decades handing over tissues at the appropriate moment — and decades hearing people tell her all the things about themselves that need to be fixed.
One day, as she was listening to a patient take her through the “whole list of what was wrong with her,” says Henkels, “I thought in the middle of this litany, ‘What? There’s actually nothing wrong with her.’”
From that moment, she realized there is a surprising power to be found in prompting people to ask themselves, “What if there’s nothing wrong with me?”
She says, This does not mean we’re perfect. For instance, most of us could stand to eat better and sit up straighter. But we can stop spending so much time dwelling on our personal shortcomings and imagining how our lives will be better once we finally — finally! — vanquish them. “We create this whole list of what we think is wrong and then create an entire life around it,”
In fact, the attributes we think of as problems can be our strengths. Henkels tells this story in her TedX talk.
“What if there’s nothing wrong with you?” is about building the skill of acceptance. Henkels says this question is about pressing pause on your inner critic and making “a choice to let go of all the ways you’ve made yourself wrong,” as she puts it.
Tune into the audio program to hear a clip of this Ted talk.
As you look at your own level of self love, let’s start with these questions. 1. What if there’s nothing wrong with you? And as you start to categorize that favorite list of short comings – ask yourself – What’s wrong with that? Really…could your perceived weakness really be a strength?
Let me share a story. I shared this in an earlier podcast, but it applies here so I’ll share it again. Last year I was at a women’s empowerment conference. One of the activities we were doing involved consideration of how who we are and our natural tendencies helps us to fulfill our callings – the things we are here to do. In other words, I am equipped to do what I am here to do. As I personally considered a topic I have often been criticized for and thus I have interpreted it as a weakness – that of being strong willed, determined, and sometimes pushy, it struck me that perhaps I am okay just as I am – perhaps that strength was given to me to accomplish what I need to accomplish. Perhaps I have a warrior goddess energy rather than a healing goddess energy or a sweet, compliant goddess energy because I will have battles I need to fight through, and there is definitely a place for the guardians and warrior goddesses, as much as there is a place for the goddesses of mercy, kindness and a more docile energy. This was the first time this has ever crossed my mind because it went against a cultural representation created about gender roles in my culture. But I loved it because it made sense and because it fostered a space of self acceptance, and just like the example in the Ted talk – how freeing to see something you have often considered a downfall or weakness and suddenly realize it makes you who you are and allows you to be who you came to be and do what you came to do. And what’s wrong with that?
In my interview with Emma Houston in episode 129, on fierceness, Emma talks about loving on ourselves. Tune into the audio program to hear this clip.
Laurann Turner also has some words of wisdom from episode #127 - tune in to hear this clip as well.
I love to discuss the concepts, but concepts don’t help us much until we implement them into our ways of being. So I always like to discuss ways to take action.
In my earlier episode #26 with Natalie Burrage, a self-love coach, we discussed the “how” of starting to love ourselves and then talked about a few tips. Tune into the audio program to hear her tips.
When we say, “Nothing is wrong with me,” we aren’t saying, “I’m perfect.” Rather we walk into a space of self-acceptance. And when we ask “and what’s wrong with that?” we start to question long held perceptions that may be completely off base.
One of the greatest tools of darkness is to make us feel as if we are not enough, as if we are flawed and broken and can never be good enough or as good as others. This mindset keeps us small and often afraid. We accomplish less, we step out of our comfort zone less, we hide our lights under a bushel for fear they are not bright enough or believing we don’t have a light worth shining. It’s a brilliant plan, really. A plan built on fear of rejection – beginning with our own rejection of ourselves. But as we come to understand the dark tools that don’t serve us, rather attack us at our very core and understand how they keep us small and afraid we can combat them with light, and loving ourselves is where this starts, where we remove the dampening blankets of shame and fear and not-enough and we start to shine. We are all in different places in our levels of accepting ourselves, but we all have a favorite list of things we’ve come to believe are wrong with us, so let’s start with self-acceptance and work from there.
Your challenge this week comes up the next time your inner critic starts to harp on you – come back with “and what’s wrong with that?” See where that questioning train of thought takes you and add a dose of compassion for your own beautiful soul.
As you move forward into the new year I’d like to suggest that you grab a copy of the LIFE – Living Intentional and Fearless Everyday – it’s about creating connection and possibility – but also SELF CARE. And we can all use a little more self acceptance, self love, and self care. Grab a copy on Amazon or hit the website – loveyourstorypodcast.com for a link to the Amazon page.
Happy New Year. Great things lie ahead.
Thanks to Daryl Chen and Ideas.Ted.Com for the information shared on Henkel’s Ted Talk