I am allowed to change my mind. You are allowed to change your mind. We are allowed to change our minds. They are allowed to change their minds.
It's the most powerful permission we've been granted--to change our minds, to change our definition of ourselves, to change our passions, to change what it is we find important. And we can change as often as we wish--every day if that's what it takes. Because the most important thing is for you to be content with yourself.
But here's the trick and the hardest thing--love yourself as you are, even in the midst of change. Otherwise desperation, panic, and hatred will find you drawing hasty conclusions and taking paths that may look clear and easy, but bog you down in their sameness or, worse, leave you exposed and without shelter. There is no shame in stopping, turning around, and heading back the way you came, then choosing a new direction.
It's an almost impossible ask, to love yourself exactly as you are, no changes necessary. And honestly, I don't think any one of us can claim they've succeeded at that for more than a few minutes (although props to you if I'm wrong). But I don't think getting the unconditional thing right is the point. The point is in the effort. The point is in letting this sweet body and mind know that you're in this together, that you're doing your best not to cause more pain, but to relieve it.
And relieving that pain is not achieved by withholding love or food or rewards or rest, but by giving this body everything it needs--even if those needs go against everything you've been led to believe as truth.
Nonconformity has never bothered me. Of course, I am an Aquarius, so I suppose a bit of that comes with the territory. But at some point along the way, I lost that pride in my not-belonging, falling into step with fashions and ideas I would have scoffed at twenty years ago. So it makes you wonder, doesn't it? When did we drift into autopilot and how long has this thing been flying without a captain?
(It's Friday, so let's all assume you'll forgive me some really lousy, mixed metaphors).
Luckily, though, I think there's ample time to wake up before crashing to earth, before landing, stranded on some mountain or desert island we had no intention of visiting in the first place. I think it can't ever be too late to reclaim one's identity, even if we come back to it much later than we ever intended.
Hindsight, while necessary to avoid disaster, I suppose, can be an evil, evil ability. Looking back and wishing for otherwise is as useless as trying to teach a toddler to walk by yelling, "It's easy! Just put one foot in front of the other!"
Everything seems obvious from a distance. But, you know, some things just have to be lived through. Some falls have to be taken, and though we may repeat our habits, our destructive patterns, over and over and over again, eventually we find a moment between them, and eventually that moment will be long enough for us to gain some perspective. The danger, though, is not forgiving ourselves in that moment.
Forgiveness is the antidote to destruction. Forgive yourself as often as you can and then move forward--no looking back.
You're alive. That's enough. You need do nothing more to earn your meals, your rest, your sleep. You need do nothing more to secure your place here, but after you are fed, after you are rested, maybe then you'll know how to love yourself and, from there, the world.
We're so terrified of stillness--of not taking immediate action, of being alone with ourselves, with the bodies and the space and the time and responsibilities we inhabit now that we have no idea what would happen if we stood still. Just for now, just to see.
I wonder what that kind of stillness would feel like, and I wonder if we have the stamina for it.
I think I've decided to rely on full disclosure more often than not. You know, when appropriate. Perhaps if I stop acting as if something isn't bothering me when it is, when asked, I'll tell the truth. Perhaps we're all alike in our neurosis, that as different as they may be from one another, they don't need to separate us. Perhaps, if we could speak them aloud, we'd all fit like a puzzle, filling in strength where others lack it, shoring up worries by those who have been where we are.
Perhaps if we were all just simply, and without drama, transparently honest with each other, we'd all sleep better at night.
In a world where shame seems to be both currency and language, it's hard to love ourselves at all, much less more each day. Speaking as someone for whom self-love doesn't come easily, I think it's maybe the only thing we *can* do. It's the only kindness guaranteed to heal whatever mentally, physically, spiritually ails us.
But it means we have to love all of it--and sometimes that is so exquisitely painful that it feels like failure. But I think it must be the opposite of failure and that, with practice, one day it will feel like it.