The Heart of the Matter

No amount of self-improvement can make up for any lack of self-acceptance

 

Deepti asked me to share my thoughts on this line' The heart of the matter..'.  Honestly, it sounded bizarre to me initially and I was waiting for her to complete the line. But she shrugged her shoulders playfully and  with smiling eyes said "this is it…You can take your time if you want."  I thought  "hell ya, I don't have a choice, do I."

But on much pondering and with some "real-time" experience I seemed to get an answer to it. One of my friends Neha helped me realize it. The heart of the matter is Self-acceptance. It sounds odd but we humans have some remarkable flaws which when aligned make us Super Humans. 

I met her at a friend's party. Neha had gained around 20 kgs during her  pregnancy. After much effort she lost 10 kgs. She said she felt  fitter but still has to lose some more. With people acknowledging  her change and all positive remarks, she looked happy. And I could tell that she was confident and radiant. While we caught up, she told me that she had finally got the guts to wear the dress that had just recently started fitting. Same moment, a colleague walked in wearing almost the same dress style. This colleague was on self-shaming ride  as she repeatedly cracked jokes on how her husband is constantly nagging her to lose weight. Well, what could we say.. Guess husbands are right sometimes!

We were all listening to her bantering when another friend pointed out that Neha and this colleague looked quite similar in appearance. T hat colleague who was otherwise in jovial mood, sharply retorted-" c'mmon, this is a bit harsh now, I know I am heavy but not this heavy."  

Neha excused herself and pulled me away too. She looked pale and embarrassed. You know the first thing she asked me was-" is this true? Do I look heavier than her. I want you to tell me the truth. "  I told her you look almost the same but definitely not more.  She said numbly – "I did not know I was this fat. I thought I looked slimmer. " Throughout the rest of the party , her radiance and confidence died a slow painful death.

Neha was hurt and why? Apparently she thought that this colleague was way plump as compared to her.  Trouble started when Neha's own mental image clashed with the one projected by  the social world. She wanted others to look her in the same way as she did. When that did not happen, her heart pained. And why should she care what others think –

When people are not accepting towards themselves they are often obsessed with acceptance by others

Nathaniel Branden

 

The moment Neha was critical of herself, her charm vanished. That's the underlying problem. The world is bound to judge you and it will judge you on things that it can measure and compare. If we could measure happiness, we would have been comparing that too. That's precisely human. We want to be accepted as per the social norms and in that struggle we make it a matter of heart. We feel pain, we hurt ourselves while looking  for acknowledgement, appreciation, acceptance from others. We ignore that our life's journey is about self-acceptance and self love.  We fail to reason that we actually just need to embrace ourselves. The moment we start appreciating us, it will be much easier for us to accept who we are and primarily how we look. We need to feel beautiful to look beautiful. 

As is customary with the theme of this blog to quote a story to suffice the premise…here it goes:

The student approached the master and queried, "Master? When I was young, I desired for my family and loved ones to be proud of me. Were you ever the same way?" "Yes," the master answered.  

"Why did you desire this?" the student asked.
"So that they would feel they had more reason to love and accept me," said the master. "And the reason I desired this was so that I in turn would feel I had sufficient reason to love and accept myself. That was what was at the root of it. But then one day, I woke up and realized, 'What if I bypass all of that and learn to unconditionally love and accept myself, without requiring anyone else's love, acceptance or approval in order to feel good about myself? Then my happiness will no longer be dependent on outer circumstances, but will be as constant as my own heartbeat resounding strongly within my chest.' Thus began my quest for Self-realization."


"And you never desired them to be proud of you after that?" asked the student. "My ego did, but I no longer completely identified myself with my ego as I had. And I no longer cared what others thought in the same way. I respected it, and honored it, but no longer gave it so much weight or paid so much attention to it," the master replied, smiling. "And never had I felt so free, as when I finally released myself in this way…"

Let's love the way we are and put a lot of heart into this matter rather than making it a matter of heart..

 

Reeti 

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