The Gifts of Being Human

Being human means coming to terms with the fact that we are an imperfect being. It is one thing understanding this at an intellectual level. But completely different to sit with this reality in our gut and say we accept this fact.

The journey

I observe how much inner turmoil a lack of true self-acceptance and self-love brings. As if there are not enough external challenges in the world. The inner challenges seem to loom larger than life at times.

The sages often talk about the need for us to become like a child. When we picture a child the following words bubble up: spontaneity, fun, exploring, adventure, laughter, adaptability, playfulness, etc. Of course the reality is that some children have entered the world as serious. Or with a heavy stack of cards against them. These no doubt will impact on what it means being human.

As innocent children we are fed into the System. It starts with play school, then school, university or college and work. The System has its own set of rules: some visible but many more subtle. And the impact of these on a young child is tangible. Over time the voices of others such as teachers, parents, siblings, bosses begin to dominate our lives. We make mistakes and are judged. Being human sets us up for feedback from others: some positive but a lot also negative.

We are expected to conform and fit in but may end up a rebel or an outsider. Along the way we learn to compare ourselves with others or to be judgemental of who we are. We feel we are flawed, wanting, not measuring up. Before we know it we have an adversarial relationship with ourselves that we carry well into adulthood.

Coaching and therapy helps to address these foreign voices that dictate our lives. It also helps us deal with the impact of these voices on how we feel about ourselves.

When we are young we lack the inner resources to deal with negative input from the System. It is hard for a child to stand up to a parent or teacher without further retribution. It takes years to develop self-worth and confidence to own our own voice and to ensure we are heard.

Taking stock

Somewhere on our journey we will stop and reflect on how we feel about ourselves. We may even ask: “Is it helpful to keep fighting with myself?”

It may be necessary to take a conscious decision to be our own best friend.  This means taking a radical step to accept who we are: both the good and the bad. If I cannot accept myself the chances are good I will be unable to accept others as they are. Instead I may go around “deleting” people from my life when they are purely being human!

How to accept being human

The poem by Michael Leunig comes to mind:

Come sit down beside me

I said to myself,

And although it doesn’t make sense,

I held my own hand

As a small sign of trust

And together we sat on the fence.

Can you sit on the fence with yourself? Can you see the person beneath the bravado, masks and veneer? Can you be with yourself without judgement…. and perhaps find a way to love your human frailties a bit at a time? Can you find a way to laugh about them, not at them?

Being human brings many gifts and hidden blessings if we take the time to look for them. What have you discovered so far?

When you make a mistake again or do something wrong, ask yourself: “What are extenuating reasons for my behaviour”. If you scratch beneath the surface and you had a heart to heart chat with yourself what good reasons would you find for your behaviour. Be honest with yourself. No excuses!

Finding the gifts in being human and loving yourself is a process. Coaching can help you become your own best friend and embrace being human. Honour your journey and enjoy being a work in progress!


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Posted in Self mastery.