"I must learn to love the fool in me - the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries. It alone protects me against that utterly self-controlled, masterful tyrant whom I also harbor and who would rob me of human aliveness, humility, and dignity but for my fool." - Theodore I. Ruben, MD
This is one of my favorite quotes in the whole world. It's hung on the wall above my desk and I read it whenever my inner-critic gets too loud. It reminds me of who I am, where I've come from, what I'm on this earth to do and why it's so important to live authentically. I have been staring at this quote for the past few minutes, ruminating on my journey towards self-acceptance and all of the women that I know who struggle so much with this. So many women place more value on the "masterful tyrant" than on the glorious mess that makes us human. I have certainly spent a large portion of my life living within this paradigm. And we place our value there for good reason: most of us have been told from an early age that the ideal woman is anything but messy. She is in fact the opposite: self-contained, rational, put-together, not too much of anything, but enough of everything. Many of us spend every waking moment trying to be more like this ideal and less like the imperfect, sentient beings that we are. But this comes at a great cost. As we deny ourselves our most authentic nature, our deepest and most dynamic parts, we begin to "rob" ourselves of "human aliveness"as this quote so eloquently suggests. We become depressed, aimless, or driven and disconnected. We have to move faster and do more in order to avoid the growing feeling of emptiness and fit into the expectations of a male dominated world. And for what? Ultimately, for love I think. Love and acceptance. Isn't that what we're all striving for? But the longer we deny ourselves and the world our authentic nature - whatever unique form that may take, the further from love and acceptance we get. In my experience, it's near impossible to love or be loved from an inauthentic place - it just leads back to more emptiness. So my hope for all of us, women and men alike is that we begin to recognize this value system based on denial of the essential self; That we challenge the belief that to be loved means to extricate the most alive parts of us and that we embrace the "fool" who knows that the messy-ness in each of us is the most spectacular part of being human.
Here at Lotus, we celebrate the belief that we are more than our bodies, faces and features, but as this video demonstrates, learning to recognize and embrace our external beauty can be a step towards freeing all parts of ourselves.
-Lauren Reppy, MFTi 74501