Face Yourself

The work of therapy, the work of life, is to face it. Face it. That’s what there is to do. Simcha-Yael Pazuelo z”l, a psychologist and meditation teacher who lived with cancer for many years, wrote these words about saying yes to life.

Devotion / Simcha Yael Pazuelo
This life has no shape, or name.
There is no purpose that we must decipher.
There is no hidden meaning that we must seek in darkness.
Life is life.
All we can do is say yes.
Say yes to life when it asks to use us for
Its wild acts of love.
Say yes to the sea that wishes to carry our body between its waves.
Yes to the changing seasons with the flourishing that falls upon nature
In delirious spring.
Yes to maturity, and then yes to aging.
Yes to births, to illness, and to death.
Yes to catastrophes and to miracles. Yes to the constant changeability of all things.
So, yes. Just yes.
Why is it so hard to say yes?
How many years did I live through, before I agreed to give and devote myself to this life.
The truth is, I can call it devotion
Only after the fact, after life embraced me
An embrace of amazing kindness
Until that moment, it was just another fall.

How many of us agree to hand ourselves over to this actual life? The one we have. The one we are living. To look around, inside and out and say: This is it.

This unconditional acceptance is key in our relationship with ourselves. Think about it. The only person who will always be with you, from the first split second you were alive until the very last moment is yourself. The only vessel you have with which to hold your experience and travel through your days is the self. The self contains, witnesses and feels life and also acts to carry out our intentions and choices whether or not consciously made.

To function well, to change and improve, the first step is to see ourselves. To meet the deep, joyful, heartbroken, furious, awkward self. To meet it and say, welcome, yes I think I recognize you. I am willing to witness you.

For how can we use ourselves to live well if we do not deeply know ourselves? In the work of therapy, in order to achieve change and improve our lives, we start by creating a deep foundation of facing one’s life and oneself.

Without self knowledge there can be no conscious change. Without self acceptance and love, change becomes an act of resistance against our best friend in the world. Without the continual acknowledging of who we are, life is fraught with avoidance or with sorrow over a life unlived.

When we know and accept ourselves, it does not mean that avoidance and sorrow disappear. Rather, they become part of a tapestry that is woven through with more joy, more self expression and more effectiveness. More satisfaction, rather than traveling through our lives constantly wishing we were with someone else, on an entirely different vessel.

About the Author
Margo Helman, MSW, clinical social worker and therapist. Margo works with individuals, couples and families, adults and children, coping with depression, anxiety, relationship and developmental issues. She works in private practice and is clinical director of Gisha Lachaim (Tishkofet), a non profit that works to increase the focus on quality of life when living with or treating serious illness and loss. Formerly a midwife, Margo likes to remember that pain can sometimes be a precursor to joy.