The homeless guy was smarter than me (and maybe that’s not too difficult).

I’ve really been working on this journey of being enough rather than focusing on what I’m not.  It’s not an easy road and sometimes I find myself going in the opposite direction. But, the key to being enough is accepting the cracks in our personality – those imperfections we all have.  You know, the stuff we hide with money, bling, self deprivation, etc.!

In the area I stayed this past weekend, there were a lot of homeless.  In fact, on one occasion when I was at a local store, the clerk told me that they had a “homeless problem.”  Don’t get me started on that comment. Suffice it to say, that was enough for me to buy some cold water and soda (it was 95 degrees every day) and take it to some of the homeless guys I saw while I was out running.

One day, I found a man sitting on a bench.  I offered him a drink, he nodded and said nothing as he drank the first water.  After a minute I asked if he needed any more and he said, “Nope. Got no ones needs or expectations but my own. And my own’s good.” I nodded and left not really getting what he said to me or what he meant.  I figured it meant nothing.

Yet, later that day, it hit me – this guy was way smarter than me (not so difficult!).  He was literally saying to me that he didn’t need anyone’s expectations or judgments to feel ok with himself.  He was enough.  That’s self-compassion at its most basic.

Self-compassion requires internal kindness and humility. For many of us, finding that we are enough, is a practice, like gratitude.  It comes from living inside our story: meaning we either own our stories (even the messy ones), or we stand outside of them— denying our vulnerabilities and imperfections.   And, denying – as we all know – causes us to orphan the parts of us that we think don’t fit in with who/what we think we’re supposed to be.  It’s the desire for other people’s approval of our worthiness rather than finding it ourselves.  It’s the need for perfection (which we also know requires a never-ending performance).

Some of us (read: me) can accept others right where they are a lot more easily than we can accept ourselves. We feel that compassion is reserved for someone else, and it never occurs to us to feel it for ourselves.  But why not try it on ourselves??  Who better to love first (like putting on the oxygen masks on the plane) than ourselves?

I never did see that same guy again as I ran down the promenade.  But when I did run, I was reminded that someone much smarter than me, taught me – over one cold water and almost no words, that I’m enough just the way I am – flaws and all.  And I need not count on anyone else’s opinions but my own. 🙂

Have a great day!

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