You Can’t Offer the Shirt Off Your Back if You’re Naked!

ya-trust-yourselfYou cannot trust yourself until you heal yourself. It’s a sad fact, but if you’ve avoided your own pain through denial or numbing or running or repressing, you’ve only succeeded in feeding it power. And as long as you’re suffering, your pain will spill out on those who come close to you. You know whether you’re “right with yourself” or you aren’t; it’s no secret to you. You are aware if you’ve done the work to heal or you haven’t, and you also know whether love is at your center. (It is, but it may be buried under rage or blame or resentment, and if you haven’t walked through that fire, you’re just burning in it).

Maya Angelou speaks about this: “I do not trust people who don’t love themselves and yet tell me, ‘I love you.’ There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.” If you want to trust yourself, you have to find the courage to stop numbing your pain, and instead invite it, embrace it, and hold it up to the light. Otherwise anything you’ve pushed down owns you, your choices, and your behavior. Jung on this, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” You have to be willing to let your heart break open, and to be brave enough to be soft. That’s the only way to heal yourself, and it’s also the only way to trust yourself. Because you won’t heal without truly understanding who you are, without releasing the heat of painful events you may have been carrying with you for years, without understanding your blind spots, your tendencies and your outlook. You won’t heal until you know yourself deeply, and until you accept all parts of who you are, even those things that are hard to acknowledge.

Once you see yourself clearly and kindly, once you love yourself and understand what a gift you are, even with your flaws and your scars and your fears and your pain, then you can do that for other people, too, you can love with your heart wide open. If you’re coming from love, believe me, you can trust yourself. You can feel assured that your actions and responses will be coming from a strong center. You’ll still make plenty of mistakes, but they won’t be motivated by places within you that haven’t been explored, that are cloaked in darkness. Love gives you the strength to sit with painful feelings without acting on them. Love is not gonna sing “Kumbaya” all the time, or tell you or anyone else that “it’s all good.” It isn’t all good. Sometimes people will say things and do things that are careless or thoughtless or hurtful or cruel, manipulative or aggressive or dishonest. Sometimes you will, too. Love is like a mirror, you cannot lie to it, it’s just going to reflect back whatever the truth may be. There’s no hiding in love, it’s a naked, vulnerable experience, and sometimes love is gonna let you know you blew it and have some work to do. What’s beautiful is that when love says “no”, you can believe it. You can trust it. And when you trust yourself, you will know how to live. You will recognize the no’s and embrace the yeses, you will know what you need to feed your soul and keep growing and opening and challenging yourself to love more and heal more and give more, and also when to rest. Knowing how to live so that you can honor yourself and still face reality as it is, is a gift to you and everyone you encounter, and a true liberation. Wishing that for you, and sending love, as always, Ally

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