Recently, I’ve had the conversation about the beauty in humanity with a couple of different people. It seems that as humans, we constantly live in shame of our humanity. We are always focused on the negative; always focused on the belief that we are not good enough. If we aren’t criticizing ourselves, we are criticizing our spouses, children, pastors, political leaders, friends and family. This is something that Brene Brown understands and discusses in her book The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You Are Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. She writes, “To become fully human means learning to turn my gratitude for being alive into some concrete common good. It means growing gentler toward human weakness. It means practicing forgiveness of my and everyone else’s hourly failures to live up to divine standards. It means learning to forget myself on a regular basis in order to attend to the other selves in my vicinity. It means living so that ‘I’m only human’ does not become an excuse for anything. It means receiving the human condition as blessing and not curse, in all its achingly frail and redemptive reality.”
When did we stop offering compassion and understanding for mistakes, feelings and brokenness?
Maybe the question we should ask instead is have we ever offered compassion and understanding for mistakes, feelings and brokenness. Do we know how to do that? Maybe we can do that for others, but we aren’t able to do it for ourselves. Imagine what it would be like to “grow gentler toward human weakness” and “receive the human condition as a blessing and not a curse.” I imagine we would live life with a much stronger sense of freedom; that our stress levels and anxiety would decrease. I imagine that we would have healthier self-esteems and greater self-compassion. I imagine that relationships would be stronger and safer, and that we truly experience unconditional love.
What would it be like for you to not be afraid of failure and afraid of the judgment of others?
When I apply that question to my own life, I see the many ways that I would be happier, less anxious and more confident. Recently, I decided to put this into practice for myself and see what would happen. I had to speak in front of a group of people and was feeling extremely nervous. I decided to give myself the permission to fail. I told myself that it was okay if I messed up or said the wrong thing or left something out. I told myself that I get to be human too, just like everyone else. The relief I felt was amazing and my anxiety greatly reduced.
It would be my hope for everyone to find the beauty in humanity. I encourage you to check out Brene Brown’s book and begin seeing the gift of imperfection. If you find yourself needing more than just a book, I would encourage you to check out The Refuge Center for Counseling. Perhaps having a safe place to share is exactly what you need to move away from shame and fear. You can check us out at http://refugecenter.org/