Easier said than done, Dr. Brown. But I hear you.
My story hasn’t been the most uplifting tale as of late, as this blog has well documented. Granted, I’m usually more melodramatic about myself when I sit down to write in this space, but overall I’d definitely say I’ve been in a rough patch.
I know I’m usually harder on myself than I need be. For example, I recently started taking Emma to see a therapist (who is just a great person! And I’m so excited to see how she’ll help Emma develop her resilience). But when I’m being hard on myself, the louder story I hear in my head is one of how difficult my little girl’s life is – and how unfair it is for such a sweet little one to be carrying such burdens when she’s only 8 years old.
But if I’m going to own my story (and love myself), I can see all the strength Emma is developing through all these difficult times of transitions. I can also be proud of myself, and of being assertive enough to do what I needed to do for myself – despite the sadness and difficulties and devastation that followed my decision.
I guess I’m just impatient about “the process” and the brave face I sometimes feel like I’ve got to put on in the meantime. That said, I’m thankful for the people and spaces in my life where that face doesn’t have to be pasted on. This blog is one of those places (and some of you who read this blog are also safe spaces for me to be me).
The quote up there is from the researcher Dr. Brené Brown — someone who I’ve heard lots about, but haven’t (yet) had the time to read. Here’s her TED talk on vulnerability (WATCH ME). When she spoke about the results of her research, she said “I know that vulnerability is the core of shame and fear and our struggle for worthiness, but it appears that it’s also the birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging, of love.” And I had one of those proverbial ah-ha moments, because ever since the life-changing moment of deciding to end a decade-long relationship, I’ve felt incredibly vulnerable about the effects of being true to myself and my desires/needs in a relationship.
Also in Dr. Brown’s TED talk, she discussed what it means to have courage:
And so here’s what I found. What they had in common was a sense of courage. […] Courage, the original definition of courage, when it first came into the English language — it’s from the Latin word cor, meaning heart — and the original definition was to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.
And so these folks had, very simply, the courage to be imperfect. They had the compassion to be kind to themselves first and then to others, because, as it turns out, we can’t practice compassion with other people if we can’t treat ourselves kindly.
And the last was they had connection, and — this was the hard part — as a result of authenticity, they were willing to let go of who they thought they should be in order to be who they were, which you have to absolutely do that for connection.
I think I need to sit with these thoughts for a while.
Anyway, the last month, in pictures: