Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Greatest Crime




I can refuse to accept my sensuality; I can refuse to accept my spirituality. I can disown my sorrow; I can disown my joy. I can repress the memory of actions of which I am ashamed; I can repress the memory of actions of which I am proud. I can deny my ignorance; I can deny my intelligence. I can refuse to accept my limitations; I can refuse to accept my potentials. I can conceal my weaknesses; I can conceal my strengths. I can deny my feelings of self-hatred; I can deny my feelings of self-love. I can pretend that I am more than I am; I can pretend that I am less than I am. I can disown my body; I can disown my mind.

We can be as frightened of our assets as of our shortcomings -- as frightened of our genius, ambition, excitement, or beauty as of emptiness, passivity, depression, or unattractiveness. If our liabilities pose the problem of inadequacy, our assets pose the challenge of responsibility.

We can run not only from our dark side but also from our bright side -- from anything that threatens to make us stand out or stand alone, or that calls for the awakening of the hero within us, or that asks that we break through to a higher level of consciousness and reach a higher ground of integrity. The greatest crime we commit against ourselves is not that we may deny and disown our shortcomings but that we deny and disown our greatness -- because it frightens us. If a fully realized self-acceptance does not evade the worst within us, neither does it evade the best.


~ Nathaniel Branden