Learning to have compassion for oneself is the first step in being able to accept others’ imperfections. Dawna Markova offers an inspiring look at the open heart, open to oneself, in her new book Wide Open:
Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love. –Rumi
Befriending oneself sometimes involves opening your heart as a homeless shelter for all the exiled aspects of your being that you have been running from for years without even knowing that’s what you have been doing. Befriending yourself involves telling yourself the complete truth about everything and challenging the thinking that says horrible things will happen as a result. Is it really true that you will be rejected if you don’t respond to all the e-mails or phone calls you receive?
Ultimately, befriending yourself means finding the courage to become a refuge for whatever is most difficult for you to accept. Not courage as in blood and guts, but rather courage to root in one’s darkness and allow a sense of understanding to grow there.
Reconnecting with who you really are in this way is a stepping stone for understanding the experience of other people. It is how we grow compassion. Your pain begins to have meaning. When you allow your heart and mind to pay attention to each other in this way, silence becomes a loom on which your soul can weave the fabric of purpose into your life.
May your life be a mirror for the beauty you find in the world.
Adapted from Wide Open: On Living with Passion and Purpose, by Dawna Markova (Conari Press, 2008).