Acceptance of challenges is a ‘way of life’. Well, yes, I do try to overcome things that are sometimes difficult, I try hard to find creative ways to deal with adversity, and yes, I also try to look at how to improve myself, whether it is physical, intellectual or spiritually. I guess if this is my way of life, then I accept the challenges that goes with it.
Have you ever found it difficult to accept compliments? I have. Have you ever doubted compliments like ” You’ve done a damn good job” or ” You’re really good at….”. Why, I wonder? I bet you think as I do that you are a pretty self-assure individual. I always thought that it was just a “Canadianism” , this self-doubt trait. For me, I can not pinpoint the actual time or event that changed this idea or feeling, but something shifted.
If you are anything like me, a compliment sometimes causes two different reactions. One reaction is of a slight humiliation, that perhaps comes from a hidden feeling of fear. “What you see is not the authentic me”. The other reaction is of distrust of the intention behind the compliment… “they may want something from me”, or “there is an alternative intention here.” Whatever the reaction is, the result is that the compliment is not something to be believed or accepted.
As you and I intrinsically know, what importance positive self talk has, the value of positive attitudes, and the worth of self-confidence and of self-motivation. However, what one knows in theory is not always what one puts into practice. Correct? I have to admit this is true, as it happens to me. Believe me, it is not for lack of trying or desire. It does seem strange that somehow, something seems to come along to sabotage the efforts.
Do you also believe in the saying, ” What you (one) put out there (in the universe), will in turn be manifested”. Perhaps this was the principle that caused the shift for me. I am not sure, but something shifted for me on the Camino and is still with me today.
I walked the Camino, sometimes alone and sometimes with other pilgrims. The world as I had known it, began to fade in the distance, the longer I walked. I found a new reality on the Camino. Small things began to make a difference to me, and how I felt. Little behaviours changed… the daily routine of makeup each morning faded, the once varied, colourful wardrobe began to look the same each day, and I enjoyed the walking by myself. These new routines slowly eased me into a relaxed, easy state of comfortability.
As I continued walking, I was sometimes held hostage to praise from fellow pilgrims. As I listened, I thought to myself, ” Well, anyone could do that”, or ” That is nothing out of the ordinary, it is quite normal”…that little ‘self-critic’ emerges again.
What I began to do on the Camino, was believe and trust in the authenticity of people, believe that what they said had value. This is turn forced me to believe that what they said about me, had value and if ‘they’ believed it…and I valued them, then I ‘had’ to put value and accept what they said about me. This was the shift for me. Once I started doing this consistently, I looked at myself differently. This changed my perception about myself. I accepted that what others see, maybe hidden for me. I started accepting the good.
The manifestation of this new perception into my reality today, is a renewed positivity and more energy and focus in the day, with a stronger desire to embark on new adventures. I owe much of this renewed vigour to all those wonderful people on the Camino, who helped in this process of growth for me. Thank you for your wisdom, your patience, your energy and love.
Ps. This is for Dave, Andreas, Carlos, Paul, Sós, Neil, Rainer, Kati, Ettore, Tom, Rina, Marianne, Clare, Marjorie, Ron, Hilary, Bob, Peter, Kathi, Debbie, Koen… and many more along the way.