Embracing Our Whole Self

As part of our ongoing exploration of hospitality, we’ve mostly delved into extending it to others. Today, however, I invite us to turn inward and reflect on extending hospitality to ourselves. 

A few weeks ago, a post on Instagram jolted me out of a mindless trance. It posed a powerful thought experiment: “I dream of who I would be without capitalism.” This statement, accompanied by inquiries about passions, creativity, and potential beyond mere survival, struck a chord within me. But it was the final question that lingered most: “Who would I be?” 

Not what would I do; who would I be? Who am I apart from a grind culture that works tirelessly to muddle the boundaries between work and living? Rather than sending me into a dreamworld, this question led me to confront the parts of myself I often neglect or suppress—longings, interests, and curiosity. In truth, there are entire identities within me waiting to be embraced, yet I haven’t made room in my inner world to welcome them. 

The spiritual journey calls us inward, prompting us to ask: What personal needs do I regularly reject or ignore? It may be the need for community that individualism would like you to reject. It might be a need for authenticity that heteronormativity wants you to hide. The need for rest that grind culture would like you to ignore. The need for wholeness amidst a society that stretches you in a thousand directions. Needs that clash with the demands of a society that values productivity over well-being. 

In her book *Rest Is Resistance: A Manifesto*, Nap Bishop Tricia Hersey writes, “Loving ourselves and each other deepens our disruption of the dominant systems. They want us unwell, fearful, exhausted, and without deep self-love because you are easier to manipulate when you are distracted by what is not real or true. Treating each other and ourselves with care isn’t a luxury, but an absolute necessity if we’re going to thrive. Resting isn’t an afterthought, but a basic part of being human.” Rejecting our basic needs in pursuit of endless productivity only serves to deplete us. 

Therefore, love and care of self are not luxuries at the end of a hard day; this is the ground that supports our whole day. Self-compassion is the doorway to self-hospitality. It’s not merely about trendy self-care rituals but about fundamentally accepting ourselves and our needs. Loving ourselves sets the bar for how we love others. 

As we embark on our own journey of radical self-hospitality, we may struggle to welcome uncomfortable feelings like sadness, anger, or shame. Yet, as Elsa’s journey in *Frozen* illustrates, true liberation comes from embracing all parts of ourselves, even the ones we fear or reject. 

So, who am I, and who do I want to be (not what I want to do)? What parts of myself have I rejected to fit the social script? Today, I commit to embracing even the smallest needs within myself, fostering a culture of self-hospitality and authenticity. As we ponder these questions, let’s also consider: How can we let ourselves be free? Your reflections and insights are always welcome in the comments below. 


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