“I’d rather be whole than good.” ~ Carl Jung
What does it mean to be “whole”? For me, it’s when I choose to unflinchingly see and acknowledge the parts of myself that make my face prickle with hot shame, love myself through it, and ultimately reclaim and integrate those parts. There’s no more resistance to any part of myself. No more hiding. No more people-pleasing because if-they-really-knew-me-they-
It’s also when I choose to see and embrace the parts of myself that make my heart soar with pride. When I show up in a way that I like and respect.
“Good” is when I have a mask on and am denying, resisting, or hiding the parts of myself that I find disgusting or ugly.
Which isn’t to say that “good” is bad. Hahahahaha.
What would you rather?
I was a very good girl. Except when I yearned to be whole. I learned quickly that wholeness wasn’t okay. In fact, sometimes it was dangerous.
I remember one time, I was probably 11, getting dressed for school. My mother had put out clothes for me to wear: a ruffled skirt and a blouse. Ruffled skirts and blouses may have gone in and out of style over the years, but when I was 11, that outfit was a big NOPE for me.
I can’t remember our exact conversation, but I can picture myself crouched in front of my bottom dresser drawer, which I had pulled open, and my mother standing over me insisting I wear that ruffled skirt and blouse.
I looked up at her and said, “Are you crazy!?”
Time stood still…and then…
…she slapped me across the face.
I didn’t want to be disrespectful, but my lizard brain was screaming at me: “If you wear that ruffled skirt and blouse, you will be the laughing stock of the entire middle school and you will die.“
And I’m guessing my mother didn’t want to slap me across the face, but her lizard brain was screaming at her: “If you can’t control her and keep her dressed in a way that is decent, if she isn’t GOOD, you will be criticized and you will die.“
Sounds pretty dramatic, right? Of course, neither my mother nor I were aware of what was happening in our brains. We weren’t aware of the fear. We were just playing out a long-standing unconscious pattern: a daughter not yet understanding that, according to centuries of patriarchy, girls can’t be whole, they must be “good” – and a mother who understands all too well, but who is perhaps unconscious to that understanding.
Perhaps she couldn’t hold space for her own wholeness (which includes the part that would feel shame if she were criticized) so she couldn’t hold space for mine.
Now I get to hold space for my wholeness.
Something to consider: Choosing to unflinchingly see and acknowledge the parts of yourself that make your face prickle with hot shame, and then choosing to love yourself through it? That’s freedom right there, babe. And when you give yourself that gift, you’re also able to let yourself shine!
Something to journal on: Imagine that an article was written about you in your local newspaper. What are five things you would not want to be said about you? (This prompt comes directly from the book “The Dark Side Of The Light Chasers,” by the late Debbie Ford and if you like to read my answer to this question click here to read “She Is A Selfish, Controlling Hypocrite…”)
Something to practice: Notice when you’re choosing “whole” and when you’re choosing “good.” Choosing good isn’t wrong. And neither is choosing whole. Just notice what it feels like. Play with it.Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. ~ Rumi