At every stage of life, there is always learning.
Regardless of your particular role in society, a major step in the awakening process is to openly share and talk about your struggles with others. Even if you are a healer or a teacher (as I am), it is imperative that, from time to time, you share about your current challenges.
Yes, it may be scary to talk about our struggles (holy hell, I know that the story I’m about to share is super scary for me to admit!), but this kind of vulnerable sharing is what brings our shame out of the darkness and into the light of consciousness.
By sharing openly, we heal. We transform.
By my sharing with you today about a current challenge of mine, I hope you will be inspired to share with someone about your own challenges.
MY SWEATING “PROBLEM”
When the temperature rises above 75 degrees (roughly), my hands and feet begin to sweat.
This happens because my endocrine system is imbalanced.
I am currently working on healing it.
Some days are worse than others. On some days, it’s simply a light dampness; on other days, the sweating is so intense that I am literally unable to type on my laptop because I fear that such a steady flow of liquid will break the machine.
For all of my life, this issue has plagued me. Not only is it often physically uncomfortable (for example, it’s difficult to do yoga sometimes, because my hands and feet are sliding all around the mat), but it is socially uncomfortable as well.
If the weather is warm that day, after a class or a workshop, when one of my students approaches me and holds out their hand for a handshake, I sometimes inwardly grimace.
Or, if I’m doing a Reiki healing session with a client, when it is time for me to touch a part of their body that is unclothed (face, neck, arms or legs), I sometimes worry that the sweat rolling off my fingertips is a distraction or an irritation for them.
Or, if I’m dating someone new…there is always this awkward moment where they reach out to hold my hand, and I want to run in the opposite direction.
Over the years, I have equated my sweaty hands with being a total weirdo. With being a loser, or a freak.
Many times, when I’ve shaken hands with someone, and they’ve literally gotten their hand soaked (it’s quite incredible, really), I’ve seen the look of mild irritation or confusion on their face, as they then wipe their hand on their pants, unsure about what they’ve just encountered. I assume they’re thinking something like, “What the hell was that?” When I see that look on their face, my heart absolutely breaks. I feel like a failure as a human being. A freak. A weirdo.
QUESTIONS AND REALIZATIONS
For years and years—basically, my whole life—I have actively hated and despised this aspect of my physical body. And though I deeply adore warm weather, I sometimes find myself dreading the spring months because of the seemingly inevitable social awkwardness it can bring.
But…lately…I’ve been asking myself some deep questions.
Why am I so ashamed? Why do I assume others will have negative feelings about the wetness of my hands? Why do I worry and care about what others think? What does this worry reflect about my own capacity for acceptance and self-love? And since I judge myself in this way, in what ways do I still judge others for not being “perfect”?
In so many ways, I have dropped concern for social norms and done my own thing. I’m a rebel. I am an independent, free-spirit. I don’t follow fashion norms. I wear non-matching clothes without a second thought. I don’t shave my legs; I don’t conform to gender norms. And I’ve broken just about every sexuality and relationship norm there is. In my rather conservative, frozen-in-time tiny town, I hug trees, sing, and openly perform sacred rituals in public spaces where such things are seen by the majority as outlandish, if not outright insane.
In so many aspects of my life, I do not give a crap what others think about me.
So why, in this one aspect, do I still worry about judgment and criticism from others?
After much recent reflection, I realize that the basis of my worry has to do with the fact that I’ve been stressed about presenting myself in a certain way, since my work highly depends on the impressions others have of me in order to seek my services. Basically, I’ve wanted to show myself as “perfect,” so others will be inspired to learn from me.
However, this attempt to be seen as perfect has created an impossible situation, where I am, time and time again, judging myself as less than perfect. It has set up a no-win scenario, where I am feeling like I have to hide behind a mask, rather than present my true self to others.
Ultimately, what I realized is this: Lately, my sweaty hands are prompting me to be more honest with others.
I want to take all my masks off.
And my sweaty hands are helping me to realize how much more I need to love myself, unconditionally.
Do I have the courage to love myself, every single bit of me—no matter what?
Do I have the courage to claim my experience, and say to the Universe: “I love myself through my hands. I love myself through my feet. I love myself, whether sweaty or dry. I love myself, no matter what.”
A NEW CHAPTER
I realize that I do not know when the full physical healing of my endocrine system will happen. I know that the core of the imbalance is from years of undiagnosed PTSD.
And even though I now consider myself healed from PTSD—meaning that I have successfully rewired my brain into healthier patterns so that I no longer feel victimized by my past and meaning that I no longer require that label to make progress on my awakening journey—the reality is that my endocrine system, my physical body, is still catching up.
For years I have faithfully practiced healthy eating, daily meditation, and Reiki self-healing. And the situation with my hands still persists.
I’ve been so angry with the Universe. Why haven’t I been healed yet, when I’ve been so diligent to follow the path of healing?
And this anger…this anger is now asking to be transmuted, transformed, into patience, peace, acceptance, and self-love.
I need to be with myself, just as I am, unconditionally.
I have to be okay with the possibility that my hands and feet might always sweat more than I’d like.
Yes, the time is now for a new chapter.
Yesterday, I attended a social function. New friends everywhere, wanting to shake my hand, wanting to be close. And so yesterday I began to practice something new. I began to shake hands with people, and as I did so, I silently repeated the mantra: “I love myself through my hands, I love myself through my hands, I love myself through my hands…”
As I met people by looking deeply into their eyes and seeing the lovely Spirit that lies within, I realized that what counts is not the dryness or the wetness of my hands. What counts is my ability to meet them where they are at, and to see the God within.
In order to do this, I need to meet myself in just that same way. If I am blocked because I cannot love this part of me, what are the chances that I can love them in the deepest way?
I am ready for this change. I am ready to create a new reality, where I love myself fully and totally, no matter what.
WHAT’S YOUR STORY?
My dear friends, thanks so much for reading my story.
It’s felt scary, but also remarkably good to share with you.
Now, I invite you to share with us, in return. Let’s exchange energy and create a complete circle of healing.
What is it that you have disliked or even despised about yourself that you can now use as an opportunity to love yourself? What is it you’ve judged about yourself that you can choose to transform into an active practice and remembrance of love?
Please share with us in the comment section below.
Know that as you share your story, you are inspiring others to do the same.
Your choice to be intentionally vulnerable is a powerful healing act, for yourself and others.