Would you criticize the appearance of a rock?

Imagine you are on a hike. Maybe a hike on a well-defined path, near a river. There are a lot of rocks around — tiny ones underneath your feet, very large ones near the river. Smooth river rocks, rough granite chips. You may notice some of these rocks, some may catch your eye. Perhaps you notice one because of it’s truly gigantic size, or another because of it’s smooth, oval shape and soft feel in your fingers. Maybe you are surprised by the weight of it. Any of these rocks may please your senses, inspire awe in you, etc.

But could you imagine criticizing them? Would the thought ever cross your mind that the gigantic rock is “too big” or the tiny ones underneath your feet are “too small”? Would you pick up a rock and decide that it wasn’t right because one side looked a certain way and the other side was different? Probably not. Why don’t we criticize rocks? Because they are part of nature. Because we know they are simply a product of their geology combined with an interactive environment. This is simply how-they-have-formed…right?

So, why is it then, when you are also part of nature, and you also are exactly a product of biology and karma, soul and an interactive environment, why would you ever criticize yourself? Does it make any sense? Criticizing yourself - your body, thoughts, behaviors, etc. doesn’t really make sense, because your body, thoughts, behaviors, etc. are simply a result. They are a moment in time of all of these forces coming together to express themselves as you in the present moment.

Of course we all do this - criticize ourselves. We regularly tell ourselves how we are not this enough or that enough, or we are too much that or too little of the other. But can you see how it doesn’t really make any sense? We are different than rocks, of course, but in the context I’m describing, we aren’t really different. We are nature+nurture, essentially. How we are showing up always makes sense, if you understand all of the causes. Red and blue make purple. If you knew what all of your (or a rock’s) specific forces were, you would understand why and how you came to be exactly how you are in this moment. It always makes sense.

That is not to say that if you desire a certain outcome, you can’t work toward it, of course you can. You can work toward changing your appearance, your behavior, even your thoughts. When doing so, it is sweet to do it with a spirit of desire, of will. “I want this, so I will take action to create it.” Not, “I look fat, I need to lose 20 pounds.” The criticism and judgement are sometimes motivating, but they are not based in truth. You are not “fat”, you are a certain size and shape due to all of the factors (and probably more) I listed above. That is simply your size. Like the rocks. Nothing more or less.

Clear and empowered self-acceptance is truly liberating. It’s true. It’s the truth. We are how we currently are for specific reasons, and if we want to change something, we can. We may need help to do so, but we can. The rock will shift over time as well, eventually becoming dust, just like us. For now, let’s just try to examine our shapes and textures with loving curiosity, and if we desire change, get the support we need to create it.