Acceptance of ourselves and others, with all our flaws

Our inner beauty comes out after it is ripe…until then, what covers it is protecting its growth…

Hashem designs us with an inner beauty, the nefesh elokis, covered with a body and with a dominant nefesh behema. Hashem does not make mistakes. This is how He gives us free will. However, Hashem is very patient…for a lifetime. We can do teshuva as long as we are alive.

Our inner beauty, the part of us that is yearning to reveal Hashem’s compassion and take root in our heart as our true identity for now and all eternity, can only come out when we are able to peel off the shell that protects it. What makes the shell ready is its own awareness of the true inner beauty of the nefesh elokis. Once, with free will, we choose to reveal Hashem, the spiritual material that has been serving to protect us by virtue of the nefesh behema is willing to dissolve into and strengthen the expression of a unified soul with its protection. Like a catipillar in a cocoon, the life force that is drawn into the body dissolves and is re-absorbed, returning what strength it gave for the goals of the nefesh behema to the goals of the nefesh elokis, only with the nefesh behema on board.

Understanding this process of teshuva that awaits us is tremendously advantageous because it helps us put into perspective our weaknesses and habits that eventually we want to mature. Without understanding the ultimate goal, we might get lost in the darkness into which the nefesh behema is likely to run. With understanding of the ultimate goal, we can see that there is no need to feel guilty or inadequate if we are “a work in progress,” because we ALL ARE. The key is whether we give up on the ultimate goal or not. Perhaps we might tell ourselves we can’t do it, or we won’t ever have time, so we are relieved from the inner work of using free will to try. This leaves us in a constricted state.

A simple sincere prayer is all we have to take on…” I want to not want what my urges and impulses want that I follow. Please help me.” What such a simple sincere prayer does is tell Hashem that we know we are creations, that He is the Creator, and that we are asking for His Compassion to help us. By so asking, we are going against our nature, the natural urges and impulses of our body and nefesh behema. A willingness to go beyond our nature with a simple sincere prayer is all that Hashem asks from us. For such effort, Hashem is willing to bring us to feel the simcha of our yetzer tov, which we experience as calmness and clarity.

We don’t have to be perfect and cannot be perfect. We don’t have to feel guilty or inadequate because we are behind or making mistakes. We simply love Hashem and cry out. This is real sweat though, because we have to have the awareness of our patterns and natural urges and impulses to recognize them, to see them at their inception, and to turn our eyes upwards, sincerely.

From this perspective, we not only can understand ourselves, but everyone around us as well. There is no need to downgrade, judge or discriminate with negativity. Although we might undergo a test in our inner calm due to the actions of others, once we are experiencing the turmoil, it is no longer from the other person – it is from Hashem, Who is giving us an opportunity to take a G-d-like step and go beyond our natural urges, impulses and reactivity to ask for Him to help us bring forth the inner beauty – compassion – into our hearts so that we may feel His Compassion and reveal it. We want to peel back our urges and impulses. We are ready. And if we are not ready yet, we cry out that we want to want to be ready to not want them.

We can go at our own pace. We just need to know that we are more than our nefesh behema and not go on a path where our soul is drawn more and more into its grip. We need Hashem’s compassion but He is all love and a Giver. We trust only in Him!

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