“If we treated others like we treat ourselves, we’d all go to jail.” Anonymous
There’s a part of us that is pure innocence. How long has it been since we recognized it?
When we were infants we had a purity of spirit and weren’t conditioned yet by the expectations of others. We weren’t yet indoctrinated to believe that love comes from the outside, and that we have to earn it.
Innocence is our freedom- from being wrong, and from having to prove ourselves lovable.
As adults we avoid innocence because, unless charged with a crime or blame, it is taken as a weakness. For the outer world we toughen up our emotions, demonstrate ourselves to be worthy, work for the approval of others, use knowledge as a badge of honor or a shield, and let achievements stand for who we are. In our inner world, we blame ourselves and make ourselves guilty of any number of perceived shortcomings. We tell ourselves it’s not right to “should’ on others, yet it seems routine to turn it on ourselves.
Quietly, though, innocence resides within us ignored, abandoned or rejected by the attractions of the outer world where we try to validate our existence.
How would we treat ourselves if we recognized we were pure innocence at heart? Think of how we might best love a 4 or 5 year old. More than likely we would be tender, nurturing, celebrating small accomplishments, making it safe to explore. We would focus on what she could do, not beat her up because of what she could not do. If a certain benchmark wasn’t reached in an expected timeframe wouldn’t we wholeheartedly continue our support and provide encouragement?
I invite us to say it is OK to be ourselves, floundering, unsure, innocently loving without fear of being hurt or rejected. Vulnerability helps create the deepest connections. Innocence is our wisdom and if we stay in touch with it, it will guide us in our decision making to stay true to ourselves through the changing tides and influences of life.
This Valentine’s Day, let’s love our own innocence and celebrate its strength. Let’s thank it for always being there. Let’s trust that we are more than enough just the way we are and just the way we’re not. We are pure and innocent and finding our way like every other. Let’s trust innocence to lead us into what truly matters.