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When someone rejects you, for whatever reason, that rejection reflects their wants, not your limitations. You are in no way defined by the rejection, or the acceptance, of anyone else. Your worth depends on no one.

Not everything
is about you.
In fact, most
things aren’t.
What a relief, right?

What you behold
as beautiful
is a reflection
of the beauty
within you.
You cannot see
what you are not.
To lose yourself
in the radiance
of a golden sunset
is to find inside yourself
a light no less luminous
than any miraculous sky,
no less incandescent
than a thousand blazing fires.

You never know when you’ll be the person who ignites an awakening in someone else. That’s why it’s so important to weave kindness and love into our interactions as often as possible. It may be in the advice you give your dearest friend or the unfiltered smile you offer to some stranger at the store. It may be your willingness to stop whatever it is you’re doing to listen or the way in which you allow your eyes to rest on another without judgment. You can’t predict when you will be the catalyst for something wonderful to light up another human being, but there will be many such moments when your love and compassion are just what someone needs to feel understood, and okay, and inspired. To feel seen.

I will not give myself over
to the limiting fears of others.
I have my own fears to face,
my own insecurities to accept.
I am not seeking permission anymore
and will no longer stumble
under the weight of doubters
when I was put on this earth to soar.
I may not yet know what I can achieve,
but I’ve seen what I can overcome,
and I refuse to underestimate myself again.

Along with being joyful, let me be okay with my sadness. As well as belonging, let me be at peace with my loneliness. Let me cradle my anger with the same acceptance I bring to my compassion, and hold space for my insecurity as I do for the belief in myself. Being human isn’t easy a lot of the time, but I see how much harder I make it by resisting my complete humanity, by welcoming what’s easy to accept about myself while avoiding what’s difficult to own. I am no longer interested in rejecting any part of myself. All aspects of who I am are welcome here, and none will any longer be received with shame. To all of myself I will say, again and again, I love you. You have a home here always. I love you.

And then it hit me:
I don’t have to participate
in these toxic conversations.
But if I choose to,
I can set a different example.
I can bring love to the moment,
regardless of the response,
and choose to be kind,
to empathize, no matter what.
I can root myself
in our shared humanity
and remind myself:
My power lives in love.

Each of us brings to our experience of another our experience of ourselves. Even the opinions of us that seem entirely personal are influenced by the other’s reality and made in great part from a story that has nothing to do with us. A room of one hundred people will have one hundred different experiences of you based on who and where they are in their own lives. I think about this when I’m inclined to take things personally.

It’s one thing to acknowledge how difficult life can be, but it’s another to focus on it, to talk about everything that feels wrong all the time, to act like there is only darkness and misery here. In our compulsion not to deny the harsh realities of this unpredictable existence, we often end up denying life’s extraordinary beauty. We focus our gaze on division and blind ourselves to real connection; we seek out examples of brutality and ignore the many moments of kindness; we bind ourselves to the opinions of others and silence the deep wisdom of our hearts. In our effort to avoid spiritual bypassing we pass right by the endless exhibits of love on this planet, within this humanity, from one to another and another to one. There is so much hardship — yes, too much — and there is so much beauty too. Where are you looking, and what are you looking for?

I’m interested in belonging, but not so much in fitting in. Wanting to fit in feels like a desperate desire of the mind, one that has us contort ourselves away from what’s real, into some limited expression of conditioning and expectation. The need to fit in often compels us to deny or lie about who we are and in turn attracts people into our lives who are responding to the false version we’ve presented. There’s very little fulfillment in that. The desire to belong, deep within all of us, offers a different invitation: Just be yourself. Then, those we magnetize into our lives can respond to who we are for real. The love and acceptance we feel from these connections tend to be wildly fulfilling, energizing, and true.

We don’t have to know each other to love each other. Let’s start by loving each other and see what we come to know from there.

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Love,
Judy