richard carlson on denial

Acknowledge the Totality of Your Being

Zorba the Greek was said to have described himself as “the whole catastrophe.” The truth is, we’re all the whole catastrophe, only we wish that we weren’t. We deny the parts of ourselves that we deem unacceptable rather than accepting the fact that we’re all less than perfect.

One of the reasons it’s important to accept all aspects of yourself is that it allows you to be easier on yourself, more compassionate. When you act or feel insecure, rather than pretending to be “together,” you can open to the truth and say to yourself, “I’m feeling frightened and that’s okay.” If you’re feeling a little jealous, greedy, or angry, rather than deny or bury your feelings, you can open to them, which helps you move through them quickly and grow beyond them. When you no longer think of your negative feelings as a big deal, or as something to fear, you will no longer be as frightened by them. When you open to the totality of your being you no longer have to pretend that your life is perfect, or even hope that it will be. Instead you can accept yourself as you are, right now.

When you acknowledge the less than perfect parts of yourself, something magical begins to happen. Along with the negative, you’ll also begin to notice the positive, the wonderful aspects of yourself that you may not have given yourself credit for, or perhaps even been aware of. You’ll notice that while you may, at times, act with self-interest in mind, at other times you’re incredibly selfless. Sometimes you may act insecure or frightened, but most often you are courageous. While you can certainly get uptight, you can also be quite relaxed. Opening to the totality of your being is like saying to yourself, “I may not be perfect, but I’m okay just the way I am.” When negative characteristics arise you can begin to recognize them as part of a bigger picture. Rather than judging and evaluating yourself simply because you’re human, see if you can treat yourself with loving-kindness and great acceptance. You may indeed be “the whole catastrophe,” but you can relax about it. So are the rest of us