On a run, I saw a small, black pit bull with milk-filled drooping nipples being walked by an elderly woman. As I jogged up on them, I scared the mother pit bull and she cowered under the elderly woman’s legs. Looking at me with wide, shocked eyes, I saw the fatigue and many years of abuse in the little furry angel. I began to cry as I felt the pit bull’s desperate attempt to protect herself.
I thought about all the times this little furry being was approached by others as a “big bad pit bull” instead of as the scared, vulnerable mother. I have owned many bully breeds and have seen people’s disgust and fear, not allowing my gentle, well-trained dog a chance.
I would think, “Do they not know pit bull fighting is prevalent in this area? It is not the breed’s fault.” The animal’s environment has demanded it to obey the cruel demands of its owner. No animal or person is born bad. The whole breed is not bad from the acts of a few, and likewise, you are not bad as a whole from your mistakes, however many. IF given a chance… love, organic, whole food, and new skills can rehabilitate a person, or animal, back to their natural state.
So why don’t we give ourselves or a pit bull a chance? It is common, and erroneous, to view a ‘strong person’ or leader and assume that they don’t need the same gentleness as everyone else. Many of us assume that the big, muscle-bound man doesn’t need gentleness with his emotions or vulnerabilities. Why do we wonder why men commit 95% of shootings, when current societal norms to “be a man” doesn’t allow space for them to be gentle, vulnerable AND strong, commanding?
What if we are ALL strong and weak… tough and a tender kitten? Have you ever noticed its the “tough” woman that gets abused? Holding one’s heart with intentions of gentleness allows strength to manifest in the world, grounded in self-care. A tough heart keeps its owner’s hand “on a hot burner” painfully smiling and enduring the unhealthy situation. In fact, approaching your own heart with gentleness allows you to know what your needs are, and to have clear boundaries. A soft kitten heart empowers the toughness and strength in you to feel supported in life and make healthy choices.
We don’t know how to hold both our strengths and our flaws. As a human, the pit bull is both strong and vulnerable. Our perspectives of animals reflect back our self-perspective. The principles of an eco-psychology state that how we treat others, animals and the earth… is how we are subtly, or in big ways, treating ourselves.
You can be a great leader, teacher, mother, father, provider and be scared, insecure, confused, or addicted at times. We are all sinners and saints. We are all human and divine. We are all perfectly imperfect.
Opening space in your self-perception that includes your flaws and gifts dissolves that nagging feeling of not being quite good enough and aligns your vision with the already present goodness. What if your flaws are the very thing that helps you to serve others? This is applicable NOT after you figure it all out… but right now.
Everyone, person or animal, has their flaws. Real self-confidence comes from holding a bigger space for oneself which contains room for all of you. You are worthy, and you have a few weaknesses… but this does not change who you fundamentally are. A few brown leaves on the tree still make the tree… a tree. By embracing all parts of yourself, both dark and light, you remember your true beautiful divine self.
An open heart is not weak. Acceptance and unconditional love gives one the power to choose higher and see bigger. Seeing “the best” in an animal or person without awareness of their pain/struggles is stupidity. Unconditional means to accept all parts… all conditions… this creates space for you to be aware of their issues, and to choose to live and move in a way that is healing and empowering for you both.
Every person is a paradox of both light and dark, human and divine. Stop trying to cut away the dark, escape your humanity into the light, or burn away your perceived flaws. Embrace your dark, dank humanity and you will know a beauty beyond your current mental structures. Perfectionism and fear of failure cease to stagnate your life when you allow your perceived flaws to grow you into deeper self-awareness and compassion.
Your vulnerable heart is the healing ointment your friends, family, and community needs. As you stand with an open heart, you allow life, love, and beauty to flow through you, and in your life.
Mentoring and healers training are available one-on-one. Workshop February 21, 7-9: Deepen your capacity to be love, connect with others, and feel life supporting you.