We are all OK
My three-year-old nephew developed, over the summer, the most adorable way of asking us, “Are you OK?” With that beautiful little inflexion in his voice, as he articulates his words of concern, he brings nothing but absolute joy into our lives!
If we could step aside for a moment and look at ourselves, chances are we’d see someone who’s always done whatever seemed like the right thing at the time. We’d see someone who wants to be happy but doesn’t always know how. Someone who wants to be loved, but may not always feel loved, who’d like certain things out of life, but can’t always seem to get them. It wouldn’t be difficult to feel empathy towards such a person, whatever their so-called shortcomings.
If we got to know this person well, heard all about their past successes and difficulties, understood their strengths and weaknesses, and shared in their hopes and fears for the future, we could doubtless grow to become quite fond of them…maybe, even become friends.
Would this person have to change for us to think them lovable? Probably not. We may want to encourage them to change in some way in the future, but that needn’t be a condition for loving them now. Actually, why do this at all? We are who we are, and who’s to say what we need to change, anyway?
When we see ourselves as ok, just the way we are, any changes we may want to make in the future can be made out of choice and a desire to grow, rather than out of a need to be different in order to cope, by keeping busy, just so we can feel good about ourselves.
Viewing any transformation as simply part of life’s adventures isn’t always that easy, especially when the challenge feels like a huge mountain to climb. It would be great if we could just snap our fingers and make those changes right away …if only! The challenge is to keep growing and developing, increasing our awareness all the time, so we’re able to learn and continue to make better choices, but not at the expense of who we are right now.
When we accept ourselves as we are, we can be honest with ourselves and with others about our fears, our weaknesses and our disappointments. With those we trust, meaning those who are able to give us space, time and the attention to simply listen without judgement, we can begin to drop the mask in an attempt to be who we really are. We can be more authentic, without diminishing our self-esteem and without having to protect our ‘image’.
We can drop any attachment we may have to always being right. We can readily admit when we’re wrong without feeling we’re worth less as a result….and even when we think we’re right, we no longer always need to prove it. We can forego the short-term gratification to our ego of proving we’re right in exchange for the greater benefit of deepening our relationships.
We can also drop any attachment we may have to being perfect either in the way we are or in the things we do. We can allow for mistakes and acknowledge this as part of our natural process for growth – for, if we never make a mistake, then how on earth do we ever learn anything from what we experience? Never underestimate the power of self-reflection.
We can do things because we want to do them, rather than winning the approval of others in a show or displaying that everything is tickety-boo when, in reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. We can devote more of our energy to giving love to others rather than focusing on self-protection by seeking it for ourselves, winning the approval of others or gaining their admiration. Receiving love, approval and recognition may be pleasant and even desirable, but we don’t need to win approval or recognition for everything we do in order to keep feeling good.
We can be grateful for what we have right now, even if we might prefer something more or different in the future. Just being alive can be a challenge for some, but we must believe that we are all valuable human beings, simply by being who we are. Our imperfect selves must be treasured. We are all supposed to be different, each here, playing an individual and uniquely special part for the whole of humanity.
Wishing you a wonderfully happy start at your new school, Abubakr. God bless you, and yes, my little sweetheart, thank you for asking: “I am OK” …..and so are you!!