A paradox is a contradiction or inconsistency that when scrutinized proves to be true. It also can provoke serious thought.
When I think of an example of a paradox I think about working out. People go to the gym to lose weight and get fit, and they find that they get fit but do not always lose the weight. Obviously this can still be healthy as muscle weighs more than fat, but it can be discouraging. Maybe this example doesn’t promote serious thought, but here’s another one: Less is more. How can this be true? I tend to consider my finances when I think of less being more. When my family has less to spend we tend to find things to do that promote greater connection while spending less money. Going out to a movie because you have an extra $50 doesn’t create the same connection that playing Uno does. Going on an elaborate vacation doesn’t communicate that I love my family any more than dancing in the living room to my son’s choice of music.
My life is a paradox. The most important paradox I am trying to reconcile is the paradox of accepting myself the way I am and yet recognizing that I need to change.
Acceptance is so important. I was reflecting on the help I received while at Timberline Knolls (yes, the one in the news for some horrific things) and was overwhelmed with gratitude for the therapist I had. I experienced two things while working with him: 1. I always felt safe. 2. I never felt judged but instead accepted. I have that experience now with my therapist. I have been able to talk about things related to my sense of self that I am not comfortable talking about with others. I need experience outside of the therapy room with people walking alongside me, not afraid of who I am or who I am becoming.
Don’t get me wrong, I do not need others to accept me to begin to accept myself. I do need to see myself as enough though.
I recently read about this in the Elephant Journal https://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/12/hello-you/. The author, Andy Charrington says that we must trust that we are enough. “Of course you could work out a little more and drink a little less. You could read more books and lie under stars more often – but none of that is “you…” That you – just as you are – are quite simply, perfectly beautiful.”
We are perfectly beautiful the way we are. And yet we are becoming. Like a flower in bloom.