“We have even a stranger idea: that we will finally fall in love with ourselves only when we have become the totally efficient organized organism we have always wanted to be and left all of our bumbling ineptness behind. Yet in exactly the way we come to find love and intimacy with others through vulnerability, we come to those same qualities in ourselves through living out the awkwardness of not knowing, of not being in charge.We try to construct a life in which we will be perfect, in which we will eliminate awkwardness, pass by vulnerability, ignore ineptness, only to pass through the gate of our lives and find, strangely, the gateway is vulnerability in itself. The very place we are open to the world whether we like it or not. “
This section moved me to tears this morning I must admit. If I had such wonderful command of the English language as Whyte does, this first sentence could have easily been written by me. This is exactly the lens at which I view myself, or probably more accurately – feel about myself. My inner critic is very active, and very strong I think for so many reasons but one of them being this notion that when I ultimately get it right and “get there,” I’ll be worthy. This inner critic, this voice, or my loyal soldier (as some would call them), really just wants to help me “be worthy.” Worthy of what? I’m not entirely sure.
I’m fascinated and frustrated in this voice, this idea that the only way through is by doing and even more important for me – doing things perfectly. Perfectly. And yet as Whyte says, my greatest relationships, the path to love and intimacy and connection with others is through their vulnerability and has nothing to do with their perfection. It has everything to do with them being fully themselves, strong and the vulnerable, the light and the shadow, the happy and sad. It is through that openness that we find connection.
When I look at my 9 month old daughter, I feel as if she’s teaching me this in every moment. She’s simply being, embracing the entirety of herself in the moment, and basking in the presence of unconditional love of those around her – and for herself. Is she “worthy” because of what she does? Or simply because of who she is? That’s such an easy question for me to answer for her, but why not myself?