The Parable of the Poo & Self Acceptance

Last night as I was walking my dog Nelly, I bumped into a friend who was also walking her dog. My friend has a new puppy that she is trying to socialize so we decided it would be fun to walk to the nearby elementary school and let the dogs run free and play together in the soccer field. As the dogs pranced around the lawn and sniffed each others bums, I told her a story about the previous night.

I left my house in such a rush that I left a rotisserie chicken carcass (Costco!) from dinner on the counter and that Nelly had literally consumed the entire thing.

I found the overturned container and evidence of the greasy thing having been pushed around every inch of my kitchen floor as she devoured it.

I was so worried.

I called the animal hospital to ask what to do, and was told to feed her a can of pureed pumpkin and watch her for vomiting or other signs of illness.

Also, I was to check her stool for the bones passing.

Which is fun.

Following my dog into the back yard to watch her do her business as she peers at me from over her shoulder like, “Do you mind?” and then squatting down to inspect the poop, sometimes poking it with a stick to look for chicken bones.

This is not a glamorous life, guys. But I do it for LOVE!

Anyway. At the park with the two playing dogs. Nelly goes to the bathroom (for the 100thtime that day) so I have to get out my flashlight and walk over to inspect it. My friend followed behind me and as I squatted down to examine the specimen, I see that she is squatted down right beside me, head down, eagerly looking at my dogs poop.

This is when it hits me.

I have great friends.

She gave no mind to the smell. Or the appearance (pumpkin colored soft serve ice cream… sorry. Had to.)

Earlier in the day I sent this text to another friend:

This post is turning into a post about the pitfalls of pet ownership, but I really mean it to be about surrounding yourself with people who love you. People who really know you and love you anyway. People who you know won’t be disgusted if you tell them you eat dog food off your pantry floor.

I have been so blessed in my life to form friendships with people who love me despite my neuroses. This isn’t to say, I share all of my heart with everyone I meet. But I do have a handful of friends that I truly trust and know that they love me. The real me. This is one of my life’s greatest gifts.

There is a brilliant woman named Brene Brown who I first saw give a Ted Talk. After watching that, I immediately devoured two of the books she has written. I want to share a quote that I love from one of her books:

“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”

I love this so much. There is zero point to pretending to be someone in an effort to gain acceptance. This is not really acceptance, is it? If you show up with your true self, pretty parts and ugly parts too, and you find love and friendship anyway? That’s when you feel the acceptance we all crave.

As I think about the people in my life that I admire the most, or even just the people I enjoy the most, they are the people who are comfortable with who they are. I want to say these are people who dare to be different, but I sometimes think that really means people who dare to be real.

What does that mean for you?

Daring to be real?

Is it in expressing how you feel without apology? Is it in how you dress? Is it in how you spend your time? Or, who you spend your time with?

If you are being truly authentic to yourself today, what would that look like?

What would you say to your spouse?

Who would you spend time with? If you called a trusted friend on the phone, what would you say to her? What would you do? What would you not do?

If you value your own opinion more than that of those around you, how would that change this day?

Think about that and then act on it.

Even if it’s a tiny change. That’s a step in the right direction. It can be scary to put yourself out there. It can feel naked and vulnerable. I am very aware of this. I feel these things like nobody’s business. But, I am here to tell you that everything amazing I have in my life has followed those feelings. Those terrified feelings always precede the awesome.

Originally published at findmeaning.net on March 20, 2015.