Please remember that people do not need to be their best possible selves before you can honor them.
Please remember that people do not need to complete themselves before they deserve connection.
Please remember that people do not need to be perfect before they can be loved.
I know it is easy to think this way — we grow up hearing what is right, and what is wrong; who is acceptable, and not, what is justifiable, and not, what is righteous, and not.
Sometimes, these lessons guide us in the right direction.
Sometimes, we take the wrong message away.
What we learn when we set up rules and regulations and expectations and standards to express love and respect to someone is that people who are imperfect do not deserve our grace.
When we think this way, it means we also deny compassion and understanding to the people who often need it most.
It’s understandable why we start to think this way — that we have a right to judge and condemn people who have stepped out of alignment with justice and their best interests.
It’s an unconscious assumption that if we punish them in a way, we’ll help them chart back on track.
The opposite usually happens.
Nobody falls off path because they’ve stopped caring what other people think — they fall off path because they are so absolutely terrified of what other people think that they start shaming, sabotaging and rejecting themselves, and that’s when their real problems start.
In a similar way, nobody comes back together because someone else bullied and judged them into it.
They rise up when someone believes in them, when someone meets them where they are, when someone holds space for who they are becoming.
The truth is that learning to love an imperfect person is also how we learn to love ourselves.
Because when we set up stipulations around who we will and won’t give our approval to, we end up cutting it off from ourselves, bit by bit.
When we have moments of failure — which everyone will — we start to rescind, we start to judge, we start to believe we are unworthy of our own love and acceptance.
Then, of course, we assume we are also unworthy of someone else’s.
When we realize that we do not have to wait for someone to complete themselves before we can truly love them, we likewise stop waiting for ourselves to be perfect.
We lean into who we are now.
We lean into the love we have here.
We start to become who we might be — that best, kindest, highest self.
Not because we are afraid that we might be rejected.
But because we know that we are worthy of time, of love, and of being no matter what.