Welcome back to Charlie’s Toolbox. As you all know, I’ve taken a break from recording to rest and reset. This summer was a lot. I was a part of the massive layoffs in tech and banking due to budget cuts. I was also exhausted from creating and pouring so much into these episodes and I felt like I had nothing else to give. So, I took time for myself, moved to another city, found a new job, and basically started a new life and now I am back with a wonderful episode filled with so much joy and wisdom.
This week we are talking about accepting ourselves. Not just accepting the best parts which is somewhat easy to do. I am talking about accepting the parts we wished were something else. The parts we are embarrassed to admit we have. The parts we see in others and say to ourselves, damn I wish I could be that. The parts that we’d trade away just to be something else. That is what we will delve into today.
So, let’s get started with a Storytime...
Whenever I started a new job, I noticed that I would rub people the wrong way. I didn’t know what it was about me that caused this, but it was always something that happened, and I hated it. I hated always being in conflict. I hated rubbing people the wrong way. I hated the road to recovery after conflict and almost every job I would have to go through this.
And every time it happened, I’d ask myself what about me rubs people the wrong way. I’d ask to have a one-on-one. I’d read books on how to communicate effectively. Learn more about emotional intelligence, but nothing would change this pattern. No matter how much I changed my personality or strategized, it would always happen to me.
So, instead of worrying and stressing myself out about something I can’t control. I decided to accept it. I decided to understand that this is life for me. That conflict will inevitably happen because people come from different backgrounds and have different communication styles, assumptions, and biases, and it plays out in uncomfortable ways.
What also helped me be okay with it was listening to one of my old directors. He was this older, extremely educated, man, and one day as we were organizing a panel, he told me straight up that I don’t play well with others. He didn’t wear it as a badge of honor but stated it as a matter of fact, or as someone who understands who they are and is okay with it. So, I adopted that attitude as my own. I understood my habits, patterns, and life and accepted everything for exactly what it was.
I didn’t have to be the easy-going and happy-go-lucky co-worker, associate, or friend to be worthy or liked. Being something other than that did not make me less than. I was me, and what comes with that is valuable and good. I am honest, I ask questions, I am confident, I am not afraid to ask if we can do more, or if we can take things further and that is what makes me special and brings me to the places I am now. That is what helps me push my life to another level. This is how you must think about those parts you deem unlikable, unruly, or unlovable, they are valuable parts of you. They teach you lessons that you must learn for the next step in your life.
For example, without conflict, I would not know how to solve it. I would not know how to ask the right questions, be patient, and get to the heart of situations. And you know where that skill is valuable? Almost everywhere! Without conflict at work, I would have relied on what I learned at home and that is to be reactionary. At work, I had to calm down and regulate my emotions. I had to ask questions. I had to be okay with direct confrontation and I learned that because of me! Because of my traits, my habits, my circumstances, and now I am better for it.
So, when you are thinking about that unruly, unlikable, ugly part of yourself that you wish so badly you could change. You should know that these parts serve a purpose. They aid in your development. They’ve made you more compassionate, and patient, taught you how to teach, helped you sympathize with others, gave you a story to tell to connect with others, and given you skills that you will use in the future.
After a while, once you see the benefits of your gift. You will realize that there is nothing wrong with you. That ideal person or ideal trait that you fantasize about is neither good nor bad. It is just there, and it leads you to whatever roads you need to evolve. Also, one more thing…when you fantasize about this “right” way of being, you automatically place yourself in the wrong and you don’t want to make a habit out of making yourself wrong or bad.
Of course, you can always grow and become a better person, but you don’t need to hate yourself or dislike part of yourself to do that. That is not a necessity for growth. What is necessary for growth is curiosity. Learning more about this trait we deem unworthy. Asking ourselves what this part is communicating to us. Is it telling us that this part has been neglected? Does this part need more love, care, and attention? Is this part afraid? And the behavior is protecting us? Can we put this part to rest and assure it that the adult you can take care of you? These questions you ask your “unruly” part can provide a lot of insight into your consciousnesses, and If you want to learn more about that framing, I highly suggest you read “No Bad Parts: Healing Trauma and Restoring Wholeness with the Internal Family Systems Model ” by Richard Swartz. It’s a really good book that gave me the foundation to better understand myself.
So, on that note love this part of you and realize all the treasures you have because of it, and take care!