A couple of years ago, a healer offered me a practice that I use on a weekly basis. It’s a personal blessing that I offer to myself whenever I feel uncertain, afraid even, of being who I truly am when it means being different than those around me. The practice has been life-changing, and is as simple as lighting a candle and saying, “Bless me when I am different.”
Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this. There is a deep and profound healing happening in this simple ritual when you name and acknowledge your uniqueness and ask to be blessed for it. Imagine that, your differences blessed! This can be a big departure from the experiences many of us have had where our unique ways were not received by the world. Maybe we were even ridiculed, punished, left or avoided for being divergent somehow from the expectations of those close to us.
Do you know what I’m talking about?
That place in you that says it’s not safe to be who you are? Afraid to say what’s on your mind. Afraid to walk your own path. Afraid to be different.This way of living hurts not just you, but everyone around you. For in this condemnation (and make no mistake about it, this is what you are doing) of who you are, the world misses out on you and what you bring. Not to mention that it gives the world the wrong message. That being, to be different is bad, wrong and therefore, to be denied.
Now you might be thinking, but what about all the focus on diversity now? If you take a close look, yes, there is more awareness around tolerance for the “big” differences among us like race, gender and sexuality. But we are woefully failing when it comes to many others areas; like tolerance politically, or around medical choices and freedoms, or which side you are on for hot button topics like Roe v. Wade.
As I see it, the genesis of the problem here is that we are starting in the wrong place. We are going from the outside in as opposed to the inside out. For until people can truly accept what is different about themselves and honor it, no diversity training, no legislation and certainly no public guilting and shaming will ever get people to truly accept what is different in another until they can first find it within themselves. Oh sure, you’ll get outer compliance, you’ll get people signaling to others how tolerant they are, but it won’t be a real and true thing.
Instead, it will be something people do when others are watching or when it garners them likes on social media. Believe it or not, it gets even worse. When you are doing something you don’t truly believe in, not only will you have to pretend, you will also miss when something really needs to be said that won’t be said because you fear looking like an un-inclusive person. This kind of distortion between us breeds distrust and paradoxically enough, less acceptance of the differences among us because we will resent others when their differences are included, but ours are not.
Blessing what is different begins within you in relation to yourself, and is a sacred act that once undertaken for yourself, is automatically extended to everyone and everything around you. Try it for yourself and see. All it takes is a moment, a candle and a heartfelt blessing.