Recently, I have been realizing more and more how at ease I have become with myself. Lighter and more present and genuine, in more areas of my life at the same time. For me, this is a startling realization, because it is not where I have been at for most, if not all of my life up to this point.
For most of my life, I have seen myself as a victim. If someone expressed an opinion to me that I interpreted as negative or as a judgment, even in my own defense to the contrary, I would always take it in as the truth. In addition, I would get to attack them as the person who attacked me. A tricky cycle, yet somewhere along the line I learned it carefully and never chose anything different for myself. The accumulating effects of this were self doubt, self loathing, feeling like a victim in all circumstances, and building of resentment and judgment. I did not know I could choose differently.
Then, beginning a few years ago, well into my adulthood, I started reading more books, studying more theories and concepts, and seeing that there could be another choice for me. I believed that it could be true to not see myself as helpless, not as a victim, but as powerful in my life. Yet I still didn’t choose it for myself; I was still enticed by feeling like a victim, a freak, like no one saw the goodness that I could bring to the world. And, that it was other people’s fault.
When, I first started offering hugs, I was just standing on a street corner. With my arms opened up wide. On the outside, I was seeming to show that hugs were available if someone wanted or needed one; that I didn’t care whether or not they would give me a hug. But, on the inside, I was placing the value of what I was offering on whether or not people stopped for a hug, or even looked my way for that matter. Even though I believed in what I was doing, I also felt weird, strange and odd for what I was offering. I wasn’t at ease yet with just being me, and having that be enough.
Yesterday, I spent nearly three hours offering hugs in my city. I had so much fun, and the beautiful part is that, I didn’t get that many hugs. Yet I had so many beautiful interactions with other humans. I was just being myself, and I felt amazing and inspired. Even with moments of self doubt, I have become so much more loving toward myself about who I Am and what I do in the world. I know that who I Am is not given its meaning or value by others around me. And, that I get to honor the value of each person I see, meet, or interact with, for just being who they are. It is the most free and peaceful that I have ever been.