I’m not talking about physical nakedness in this post, although that is absolutely an amazing part of you that deserves your value and attention. At the moment, I’d like to focus on metaphorical nakedness. This concept is best explained with a short activity.
Pull out a paper and pen, or iPad, or the Notebook feature on your cell phone, or just close your eyes and participate in your head (after you’ve read the instructions, of course). We all have metaphorical “clothes” that we wear everywhere – some are placed on us or encouraged by others, some are taken upon ourselves. Some are positive, some are not, but they often become a strong part of our identity. Your metaphorical clothing might include “musician”, “smarty pants”, “nerd”, “writer”, “sister”, “beauty”, “gymnast”, “nice girl”, “niece”, stubborn” girl, etc. I want you to write down every word, title, or label, positive or negative, that you or someone else might use to describe you.
Do you have your list? Ok, now I want you to look at your list and imagine yourself standing behind the words – maybe the words just float on you, maybe they are tattoos, or maybe they are just descriptors pointing to different parts of you. Picture it however you like, but imagine those words being on your body, your person in some way.
Now picture those words melting away until they are gone. As if they no longer apply to you. What is left?
More importantly, at this juncture, I want you to ask yourself: “do I love and value what is left?”.
In our day there is so much emphasis put on achievements, abilities, and accomplishments – all by people who love us and want the best for us – that it’s easy to wrap our identity up in all those different roles we play, the things we do, and labels we carry. But when you take all that away, and leave just the nakedness of you, that is the you that needs your greatest love; The you that is valuable and worthy simply because you are you. There doesn’t have to be any other reason. You are of value. With no strings attached.
Now skills, abilities, and accomplishments are all amazing things and quite necessary for fulfillment and even survival these days, so let’s not pretend they don’t exist and ought not be celebrated! But they are not what make you inherently valuable. They are what an already valuable person exudes. And the greater your sense of inner value, the more you can believe in yourself and guide yourself towards that achievement that will contribute to your fulfillment and survival.
Look back at your page with you and your non-existent words. You may not love that naked person right now. You may feel she is only worthwhile with her baton or calculator or hairbrush. That is not the reality. Take some time every day to spend with that naked girl. That girl deep in your core that lies at the very heart of who you are and does nothing, accomplishes nothing, just simply is. Begin to nurture her the way you would your own child and practice cultivating loving feelings for her. In time, you will find that your value lies in far more than what you contribute to the rest of the world. And that your contributions to the world are simply loving expressions of your deepest self. Give her a chance, she needs some attention.
And I think you’ll like her.