Archives for Books
One of the books I regularly recommend to readers is Rosie Molinary's Beautiful You. Because it's empowering, inspiring and practical. And because it's necessary. Because we receive messages that tell us we aren't good enough---but we can become good enough and happy and confident if we do X, Y and Z. If we lose weight. If we change our appearance. If we are productive. If we don't make any mistakes. If we...
I used to view my thoughts and beliefs as rock-solid facts. I assumed they were indisputable, unquestionable truths. I assumed that I had to stick with them because I'd stuck with them for years. As if I was married to these thoughts, and divorce simply wasn't an option.
You guys know I love making lists, especially when it comes to practicing self-care and creating satisfaction. One of the ways we can use lists is to write down what truly nourishes us and brings us joy---and then make sure that we include these things, people, actions and places inside our days. Because, as Annie Dillard famously and wisely said, "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives."
I should weigh X number of pounds. I should have a super clean home. I should have muscular legs. I should always look "put together." I should say yes whenever people ask me for help, no matter what it is. I should exercise every day. I should be happy. I should know how to do that. I should be able to do it all. I should keep my needs to myself. I should keep my emotions to myself. I should be organized. I should finish everything on my to-do list. I should know what he wants. I should know what she needs.
Knowing ourselves is essential for making supportive decisions, for taking compassionate care of ourselves and for living a fulfilling life. After all, when we know what we need and want, what our natural tendencies and preferences are, we can act accordingly. That is, we can act in ways that honor ourselves.
Our inner critics can be quite harsh and cruel. Which is why many of us start to dislike, or even despise, that inner voice. We might even find ourselves constantly getting caught up in battle.
Some days everything just feels so loud. And so intrusive. The random thoughts screaming inside your mind. The tension sitting inside your body. The frustration sticking to your skin like glue. The laundry that needs to be folded. The 80 unanswered emails. The 80 other things that need to be done. When? When?
So many of us struggle with feeling our feelings. Maybe we were taught to dismiss them, to pretend they don't exist. Maybe we were taught that anger is an emotion to swallow and sadness an emotion to sweep away. They're negative, after all. Maybe we received the message that some feelings are OK ---like happiness and excitement---while others are not. Maybe we received the message that good kids smile and don't rock the boat by having "bad" feelings. That bad feelings equal bad, ungrateful, naughty, unruly, shameful kids.
There's a powerful passage in the new book Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic For a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living where author Shauna Niequist talks about why she's choosing to be present in her life---instead of striving for perfection. She writes:
Are you rushing a lot? Hustling to get everything done? Do you feel exhausted and depleted? Regularly? Have you forgotten what it feels like to simply sit and do absolutely nothing? Do you play? Do you even remember how to play? When was the last time you wasted time---and didn't feel an ounce of guilt?