Archives for Relationships
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."
Each of us carries a collection of different "shoulds." Beliefs that we are convinced are pure, hard facts. Beliefs that dictate our actions. Beliefs that often don't support us. A range of beliefs about everything from our bodies to our hearts. Beliefs both big and small.
When we're in a situation, we're in it. Which means it can be hard to make a decision. Because we're simply too close to it. We also might be telling ourselves all sorts of stories. I don't know what I deserve. Am I even worthy of this? I suck at making good decisions. There's too many options! I'm terrible at this! I've always been so indecisive. I'll probably pick the wrong thing, anyway. It's too complicated. What do I know?
Many of us rarely check in with ourselves. We rarely wonder what we really want. What nourishes us. What delights us. What hurts us. How we can respect ourselves. Which people are actually healthy for us to be around. What is the most compassionate, supportive decision. Or we may know these things but we don't act on them. One reason is that we get caught up.
This summer I penned a piece called "You are not currency, you never were." In it I talk about how we are inherently worthy---even though most of us think we need to earn our worth. We think we are indebted to others, that we owe them all sorts of things---and we sacrifice ourselves to deliver. Here's an excerpt:
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:
In our society, restriction is perfection. It is beauty. Restriction is seen as a correct, desirable approach and path. We glorify it. We yearn to adhere to it. We see it everywhere. Restrict the number of calories and carbs you eat. Restrict the amount of dessert. Restrict your portions. Don't even think about having pasta, pizza or ice cream. Don't even think about eating past 7 p.m.
In the last few weeks I've been exploring the topic of embracing ourselves as we are---and actually letting others see us. The real us. Beautiful and bruised. Shattered and standing. Flawed. Vulnerable. A multitude of contradictions and hues. People with rich, painful pasts. People who've struggled, messed up, loved, lost, abandoned, been abandoned, triumphed, failed. People who've tried on different identities as teens and young adults. People who are still trying to figure ourselves out.