It’s not unusual for someone to say something to me like, ‘Leah, I love your honesty. Thank you.’ And I immediately cringe and shrink and feel a familiar discomfort inside, my mind scanning through the catalogue of my life - both past and present - highlighting all the ways - both large and small - in which I have not been, or feel that I am not being, honest.
And so shame keeps us separate and small, tricking us into believing that if people were to see the truth of the matter, they would not call you honest (or insert your own word here) and, more importantly, they would not love you as they do.
Yet my mind goes to the people I’m privileged to sit with, who so often reveal to me bits of themselves they’ve never revealed before. The bits they think are so outrageously awful that judgement and rejection must surely follow.
But I can say with all sincerity, that no mater what I hear in these precious conversations, I never feel differently about the person. If anything changes at all, it is only that the love grows greater.
It is often hard to believe that we can be loved so wholeheartedly simply for being who we are and exactly as we are in any moment or period of life. Yet this, I think, is precisely what life offers us; the opportunity to come to know truly in our hearts that all that is asked of us is to be ourselves and to know that we are loved beyond all understanding not because of anything we do or don’t do, not because of anything at all really, but simply because we are here.
The mind will never understand this as it picks its way through all your apparent faults and ugly bits. But the heart, the heart can find its way to this truth. And when it does, there is such a softening towards yourself and towards others as we realise that ‘even’ this bit is loved. And this bit and this bit and this bit.
All the bits.
Love and courage,