Clutter, lateness, and disorder are all fantastic ways to reject ourselves. We walk into our bedroom with clothes on the floor, or in a pile on a chair, and tell ourselves, “What a mess you are!!” That hurts, and it doesn’t really motivate us to clear up the piles. We don’t want the mess, and we don’t want the rejection.
So, why, why, why the ongoing mess? We don’t want it, but we sure can keep it. I think self-rejection is a habit that is borne out of earlier rejections. Running to meet a mom or dad who was too preoccupied for a hug, perhaps. Or too busy to hear about your young thoughts. What a small thing, but those little rejections add up. We become used to them. It’s the water we swim in. We’re used to it. It’s what we know. The relaxation of enjoying who we are might not have the comfort of familiarity. Even now when my house is so much more peaceful and pleasant, there are still some ongoing piles. Just enough to give me a chance to get on my case.
Experiment with welcoming the self. Try saying “Hi, welcome!” I’m glad you are here. In fact, I’m thrilled that you are here.” Try self-hospitality. What would you say to a beloved guest coming to visit after a long time apart? Would you say, “What a mess you are!!” No, you might say, “I’m so so happy to see you. I am delighted to see you.” Take your time with welcoming this special guest. You are the special guest.
Let us be like Abraham who, when he saw visiting angels in the form of men approaching his tent, ran in the hot sun to greet them and asked that he might host them, and ran to call for bread to be made for them and ran to his herd to choose a calf for slaughtering.
He was in haste to be hospitable to the angels, and we can hasten to be hospitable to ourselves.
Here is a poem by the poet Rumi about welcoming our own experience. Even welcoming our own lack of hospitality for ourselves. Welcoming every part of the self. Let’s leave rejection aside for the moment. Even welcoming our own lack of hospitality for ourselves. Hmm. Ponder that one.
THE GUEST HOUSE
This being human is a guest-house. Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they are a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.
— Jelaluddin Rumi, Translation by Coleman Barks