HomeVolume 7January 2022What feels right for you?

What feels right for you?

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What feels right for you?

JUDITH NELSON introduces a new series for 2022 that highlights and explores ways to integrate different perspectives on various topical issues.


EMBRACING DIFFERENCE


I don’t know anyone who has found the last two years easy. For most of us, it has felt like a rollercoaster ride through a very long pandemic tunnel, with an unrecognizable landscape as we emerge! 

I have felt overwhelmed by polarized and contradictory information, advice, and instructions. How to navigate the non-stop media bombardment of endless tips and tools for well-being, and “toxic positivity”? What to do and not do, say, think, be, look like, etc.? It’s no wonder I am tired, and it’s a relief to drop all this stuff, let myself and my feelings be what they are, accept myself, and embrace all our differences. 

Life is an ever-changing picture. We are also constantly changing, even if we don’t realize or feel it. Even within ourselves, we often need to reconcile many different feelings, emotions, and thoughts, so why do we load ourselves with an expectation to be right, to be certain, and to feel the same as others? How can we learn to stand in our own “space,” among many different views, and enjoy and respect them all? That’s our challenge. 

In a recent discussion, the actor Kabir Bedi asked Daaji about his views on God. Daaji said he doesn’t think much about God, and that if you ask the five most evolved human beings this question, they would all have different views. He spoke about the beauty of individuality, and the need to honor the perspective of others when they describe the beauty they see, which we might not see in the same way.

I was happy to hear this answer, as a validation for being authentic. I felt encouraged to honor my thoughts and feelings, also allowing the same for others. Each of us is a spark of the whole, so by being ourselves we enrich our landscape and the tapestry of existence. We can’t and shouldn’t be homogenized like milk.



So, the big question is: Who is the real “me”? How do you get to know yourself and understand when to say yes or no, and when to feel comfortable with not knowing? This takes time and practice. How can you allow yourself and others that time of discovery, and the opportunity to get things wrong? And why does it feel like there’s so much pressure to get things right?

It’s not the end of the world to think and feel differently from those around you, to make mistakes, which are necessary for growth. Unfortunately, your ability to peep into the online world of others (even if it’s all illusion and fake) won’t help you feel better about yourself. So many of us feel anxious and, even worse, hopeless when we do. 

Us oldies enjoyed the freedom of making spectacular but helpful mistakes (certainly in my case!), without having them recorded and circulated on social media. But that’s not the case today. An excellent BBC documentary about mental health issues in young people highlights the fact that children as young as eight are feeling so unhappy with themselves that they contemplate suicide. It’s hard to imagine how an eight-year-old can feel so desperate. One seventeen-year-old girl said, “We are exposed 24/7 and anyone can have an opinion about us.”

There’s no doubt that many youngsters are feeling the pressure to be perfect in their behavior, looks, scholarly achievements, and presence on social media, where they must look perfectly happy in the perfect life. But life isn’t like that. It’s a big mix of ups and downs, experiences, and emotions. It’s ever-changing, like the seasons. Even daily, we face many changes of mood and atmosphere due to internal as well as external factors. In time, our inner environment can become easier to manage, especially as we mature, but we still must deal with the outer environment and all that it throws at us.



In this spirit of self-acceptance,
and instead of offering tools for self-help,
the series “Embracing Difference”
will feature different views and perspectives on topical subjects.
If we can all accept the challenge to honor
and enjoy these differences, it will inspire healthy debate
and better understanding, and help us
find our own ground.



Being yourself can take the pressure away, and, for me, that means a heart-felt acceptance of who I am right now. I’m not suggesting that you start behaving in any way you want, but just allow yourself to be as you are.

Self- acceptance has helped me to feel calm and present in each moment. It’s a relief, like a pause. It’s most beneficial when I feel at my worst, although activating self-acceptance, especially in difficult circumstances, can take a bit of practice. However, I’m not advocating hard work to achieve it! Quite the opposite. In my experience, rather than loading myself with more tasks, letting go or not doing can be the best and, paradoxically, the most productive thing to do! It’s in the silence or the space between the thoughts that you will understand yourself and hear or feel the “yes” or “no” you seek. And it’s in learning to stop and pause that you will find the courage to wait when the answer isn’t there.

So, in this spirit of self-acceptance, and instead of offering tools for self-help, the series “Embracing Difference” will feature different views and perspectives on topical subjects. If we can all accept the challenge to honor and enjoy these differences, it will inspire healthy debate and better understanding, and help us find our own ground. 

And we’re asking you, dear readers, to join us in embracing these differences and enriching yourselves with these lively debates. We also invite you to engage by contributing in the comments section on the website.

There’s no one way, there’s your way, there’s my way, there’s his or her way, and that’s okay. Life would be so dull without our differences, so let’s honor and embrace them with open arms. 


“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right-doing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.”

Rumi



Illustrations by ANANYA PATEL



judith nelson

Judith Nelson

Judith lives in Scotland, and has a background in physiotherapy, broadcasting, presentation, and property development. These days, she teaches Heartfulness in organizations and communities, and is Vice-President of two Heartfulness charities.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Nice article oozing with self compassion and empathy to embrace differences amongst us. Each of us being different is a unique and wonderful thing after all.

  2. I don’t think anyone could disagree with what Judith says here. Too often we are told we should be doing this or that, this way or that way, at this time or another time, for this long or that long. Judith’s advocacy of responsible, responsive and sensitive anarchy is the required corrective to all those feelings.

  3. Being “myself” is being unique. That’s how I make myself understand, because I find myself very different from most people. I want to love myself despite this.

  4. I really enjoyed reading the article and heartily welcome the idea of learning to accept different views. Thank you for creating this platform.

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