Choosing Aliveness Over Self-Improvement

My fear is of being discovered as not being good enough. My fear is of being seen and judged as unworthy. Unworthy! The pounding of that word into my brain.

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My fear is of being discovered as not being good enough. My fear is of being seen and judged as unworthy.

Unworthy! The pounding of that word into my brain. It feels stamped in like an intricate typesetting — indelibly etched. This is the story of my life. Self-help tells me I should do something about my feelings of unworthiness. I had someone leave a comment on one of my posts recently and they were incredulous that I was okay with having moments of crazy. They insisted that I do something about them so I could experience change.

I am actually learning to enjoy my crazy and know that it is from the vulnerability of my craziness that beauty emerges. The bigger the front the bigger the back is a zen saying I heard somewhere. I can’t separate my darkness from my light. They are one and the same. The only distinction is my judgment on the two. I decide what parts of me are dark and what parts of me are light. If I open to both equally, I feel more alive.

It feels risky to open to all of me because I fear judgment — yours, but mostly mine. In the past I did everything I could to avoid my feelings of embarrassment and shame, but with my heart softening toward myself even the sting of my judgments is becoming less bothersome. Freedom feels much more important than a temporary feeling state that will always subside.

Freedom is what I am embracing. Freedom to be myself as I am with no pressure on myself to be different. Freedom to fall on my face, to make mistakes, to get emotional, to not have it all together, to be clumsy, to look ugly, to innocently hurt another because of my lack of enlightenment, to be disappointing, to not be in a good mood, to lose my temper, to be unkind, to drop the ball, to be impatient, to be critical, to be demanding, to be firm, to fart in public, to have bad breath, to have my belly bulge revealed, to have my vanity seen, to have my fears witnessed, to show weakness. These are just a few of the things I want to hide and they probably all happen in one day.

Healing does not require me to do anything about any of these things. The push to change and improve myself so I can try and measure up to a made up standard I have internalized as a way to try and survive is not the solution. The solution is to accept my humanness and be with myself exactly as I am with no pressure to be any different. That is what brings out the best in me. Not the best based on my conditioning, the best based on what is healthy.

I don’t want to try to be better or be my best self. I just want to be myself and let go of my expectations. I am not being defeatist or falling into resignation. This is liberation and it is radical. I am stripping away my internalized oppression that kept me on the treadmill of self-improvement.

This is rewilding. It is allowing myself to come back to my natural state and rest in that. And just as a rewilded garden doesn’t necessarily meet our conditioned standards or beauty or rewilded selves won’t always measure up to made up expectations of how we should be. But it is not the look that is important, it is the aliveness.

Do you feel your aliveness?

I feel mine when I am not evaluating and measuring myself and looking at how I am doing? I will not always be pretty and kind. Sometimes I’m a bad*ss and sometimes I’m just a plain old B*%$# (symbols used to avoid censorship). I want to embrace my aliveness rather than improve myself. My aliveness isn’t always appreciated by others. Sometimes I offend people. Sometimes people’s feelings get hurt. Sometimes those people are the ones I love most in the world. But I have learned that perfection is a cruel mistress that slowly sucks the life out of me and has me walk an ever narrowing edge that leaves me feeling fragile with little room to breathe.

I will continue to accept me and all of the other parts of myself that I have been conditioned to believe should be hidden. I embrace my wild, untamed nature. I am messy and vulnerable and unfinished, and I am vibrantly alive.

Rather than fixing yourself or trying to do something about the parts of yourself you judge, what about opening up to the aliveness that lies within you — the fullness of who you are — both human and divine? How does that feel?

Originally published on therewilders.org.

If you would like to listen to the Rewilding Love Podcast, it comes out in serial format. Start with Episode 1 for context. Click here to listen. And, if you would like to dive deeper into the understanding I share along with additional support please check out the Rewilding Community.

Rohini Ross is co-founder of “The Rewilders.” Listen to her podcast, with her partner Angus Ross, Rewilding Love. They believe too many good relationships fall apart because couples give up thinking their relationship problems can’t be solved. In this season of the Rewilding Love Podcast, Rohini and Angus help a couple on the brink of divorce due to conflict. Angus and Rohini also co-facilitate private couples’ intensives that rewild relationships back to their natural state of love. Rohini is also the author of the ebook Marriage, and she and Angus are co-founders of The 29-Day Rewilding Experience and The Rewilding Community. You can follow Rohini on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. To learn more about her work and subscribe to her blog visit: TheRewilders.org.

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