Wise Words on Self-Acceptance: The Guest House by Rumi

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This poem caught my eye a couple of weeks ago and reminded me why poetry is so powerful: it can describe what it means to be human far more clearly and far more elegantly than any prose or self-help book. When I was first starting out with my own personal development, I heard and read a lot about "self-acceptance". I knew what it meant in the abstract but found myself thinking "But what does that look like in practice?" This poem goes some way to answer that tricky question.

This being human is a guest house. 

Every morning a new arrival. 

 

A joy, a depression, a meanness, 

some momentary awareness comes 

as an unexpected visitor. 

 

Welcome and entertain them all! 

Even if they're a crowd of sorrows, 

who violently sweep your house 

empty of its furniture, 

still, treat each guest honorably. 

He may be clearing you out 

for some new delight. 

 

The dark thought, the shame, the malice, 

meet them at the door laughing, 

and invite them in. 

 

Be grateful for whoever comes, 

because each has been sent 

as a guide from beyond.

 - Rumi

P.S. I'm currently working on answering my own question and creating a resource with tangible suggestions for self-care that are designed to fit into busy lives. Stay tuned for more information about this in the new year.Image: Cristiano Corsini