Our First Principle says that every person has inherent worth and dignity and yet I wonder how often we truly think this about ourselves. I can only speak for myself, but I am very familiar with SWC – shoulda, coulda, woulda. I shoulda done X… then I coulda done Y… and I woulda been Z. We second guess our decisions and talking ourselves out of things we might otherwise do. I am guilty of it. Are you?
I had a therapist once tell me, “Miriam… you know the golden rule? Treat others as you would yourself? I want you to reverse it. Treat yourself as you would treat others.” And it is hard. So often are we told that we can be good enough, but that we, where we are currently, aren’t. We’re too quiet, too loud. We earned the wrong degree, we aren’t active enough, yet too busy. If only we sang the right songs, said the right prayers, spoke the right lingo, and ate the right foods. Then, we’d be perfect for….. you fill in the blank.
About two months ago, I ran across a book in my search for a journal called “Start Where You Are”. It is something similar to a daily reflection or reading. Each page is accompanied with a quote and a reflection. The whole idea is that I am in the perfect place, no matter where I am, to start. I am in the perfect place to reflect on my past, enjoy my present, and plan my future. I am in the perfect place to share my gifts, and accept help from others. I wouldn’t be who I am without my past, without my scars, without my joys — how could I move from where I am, if I wasn’t here?
Where we are is our original, first harbor. It is where we often feel most at home, and sometimes, where we feel most unsure – like we just stepped off the boat into a new country. It is a safe place we can always retreat, and yet sometimes it betrays us when we need it most. But, without ourselves, where would we be? Without our inherent worth and dignity could we fight for justice? Could we search for truth? What power might we find, if we looked inside?