Tag Archives: love

Gifts of Imperfection – Exploring the Power of Love, Belonging, and Being Enough, Week 3

24 Sep

You can find previous chapters using the page navigation above.  Brene’s book can be purchased HERE.  It’s awesome.

Gifts of Imperfection – Exploring the Power of Love, Belonging, and Being Enough

When we spend a lifetime trying to distance ourselves from the parts of our lives that don’t fit with who we think we’re supposed to be, we stand outside of our story and hustle for our worthiness by constantly performing, perfecting, pleasing, and proving. Our sense of worthiness—that critically important piece that gives us access to love and belonging—lives inside of our story.

Brown, Brene (2010-09-20). The Gifts of Imperfection (p. 23). BookMobile. Kindle Edition.

I think back to my teens and twenties and feel like I wasted years and years attempting to “fit in.” Isn’t that what we all do in high school?  Try to figure out who everyone wants us to be?  I wish I could say that becoming a mother matured me beyond this behavior, but it only redirected my attention to who I was supposed to be “as a mother.”  I looked everywhere for the answer.  Parenting books.  Friends.  My own mother.

Brene calls this “hustling for worthiness.”  That phrase hits me right in the gut because I know the pain of changing in an attempt to belong only to find belonging slip through my fingers.  Worthiness was always just out of reach and clothed in self-doubt.  I was supposed to love snuggling my baby all night.  I was supposed to be happy staying at home.  I was supposed to feel like my baby and I belonged together.  Supposed to.  If you’re ever wondering if you’re hustling for worthiness, listen for those words.  They are my red flag.

The other portion in this chapter that resonates with me is about love.

To begin by always thinking of love as an action rather than a feeling is one way in which anyone using the word in this manner automatically assumes accountability and responsibility. — BELL HOOKS

Bell Hooks, All About Love: New Visions (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, Harper Paperbacks, 2001).

She shares the quote above and gives examples of times she’s struggled with practicing love in her own life.

I truly love Steve (and, oh man, I do), then how I behave every day is as important, if not more important, than saying “I love you” every day. When we don’t practice love with the people we claim to love, it takes a lot out of us. Incongruent living is exhausting.

Brown, Brene (2010-09-20). The Gifts of Imperfection (p. 28). BookMobile. Kindle Edition.

The stress of parenting small children (or even just the stress of everyday life) can make us forget that love is something you do.  My husband likes to say that he told me he loves me the day we got married and if that changes, he will let me know.  He practices love each day  instead.  This chapter reminded me that though I might tell him I love him every day, when I snap at him in an anxious moment, I am not practicing love.  And when I lose my temper with No1, I needed to be more mindful of showing her the love I feel for her.  It’s not easy, and not always possible.  But being mindful of how important my everyday actions are to the people around me has helped me feel more connected to them.  It makes me want to explicitly teach the language of worthiness to my children.

Let’s talk.  Can you think of a time when you felt true belonging? How did you get there?  How did it change your interactions with others or your perception of yourself?

How do you hustle for worthiness?  I know I fall victim to believing that perfection will lead to worthiness for me.  And pleasing.  I am SUCH a people pleaser and am actively working on learning to say no, putting myself first.  Is it performing, perfecting, pleasing, proving?  Or something else?

Disclaimer: I purchased the book Gifts of Imperfection on my own and am not being compensated for my review of the book or for promoting it. I receive no kickback from any of the Amazon links provided above. I simply love the book and want to share.

The Lake

11 Sep

My grandparents bought a little white cottage when my mom was a child.  It was their summer home…my mom and her brothers grew up there.  By the time she had her own family, my parents lived in Texas, and so every year I had to beg my parents to take our vacation there.  We only went every few years, but each time, I started counting down the days months in advance.

The house itself is nothing spectacular – just a humble white cottage with hand-me-down furniture.  But the moment you hit the dirt road and open up the car windows, you can smell the magic.  That fresh-water-evergreen smell.  There is nothing like it.  And this weekend, I needed that smell more than I knew.  As soon as it blasted through the windows, I felt my entire body relax and myself really breathe for the first time in weeks.

I have been awfully overwhelmed lately with well, everything.  I know I’m not the only person to occasionally look around and feel a little lost in their own life.  This place and its people remind me who I am.  The childhood memories of water squishing between my toes, learning how to fish, and the old twin beds my brother and I used to sleep in – it all grounds me.  Everyone I needed to see was there this weekend – my parents, my oldest friend and her family, and my best friend with hers.  People who see me for who I am and reassure me I am loved…I am worthy.

The weather was perfect and the lake serene.

p.s. How hot is my husband?  I mean, seriously.

The fishing?  One little perch.  Just enough.

And this.  This is why I fight.  For these moments.

For the first time in weeks, I feel like myself again.

 

And So It Goes

14 Feb

If you know me, then you know my husband is my perfect for me.  Because chances are, if you know me, you remember him, too.  Being married to a boy you knew in elementary school leaves you connected to all the same people.  And it leaves very little to the imagination.

This man of mine has known me as a child, a teenager, an adult, and as a parent (which we can all agree is like adult 2.0).  He’s seen me muddle through each phase of my life and witnessed my mistakes.  He’s celebrated each huge milestone and trudged through my darkest days.  And through all of it, he’s loved me.  The real me.

We all put up masks.  We adapt to fit the social situation we are in.  Perhaps unintentionally, we try to hide our worst bits.  I mean, who wants to walk into a party and announce, “I’m awkward with large groups of people and am secretly worried you are all judging me”?  Instead, we put on our best smile and try to look confident.  No one is posting Facebook pictures of themselves with the stomach flu, or 3 days postpartum with no makeup on and -5 days of sleep.  We reserve these little nuggets of truth for the people we trust the most.  But even with them, it’s not easy to be real.

My husband?  He’s see it all.  Once in college, I got food poisoning and spent the day in the health center hooked up to IV’s.  It was bad.  Puke-on-the-nurse bad.  But I swear, when we walked into the room, he looked at me like I was still the most beautiful women he had ever laid eyes on.  After college, he stood beside me while I lost myself in my career as a teacher, spending every waking hour either grading papers or worryingobsessing about students.  We’ve made two major cross-country moves together (and if that doesn’t bring out the worst in a person, I don’t know what does).  After DB was born, only he saw the extent of the devastation left by the postpartum depression and anxiety.  With him, there’s never been a mask.

And he loves me.  All of me.  Without condition.  It’s not that there aren’t things he wishes were different.  I’m sure he would love if I could manage to do a load of laundry without running the tumble press cycle (aka: lazy button) on the dryer four times.  And I know for sure he wonders if I will ever learn when to shut up and leave something alone.  But that’s just it.  He wishes some things were different, knows they won’t ever change, and still thinks I’m amazing.  And you know what?  I feel the same way about him.

What started out as love has become a deep, honest, devoted partnership.  We are both flawed, complicated, stubborn people.  We’ve been through our rough patches, and our marriage takes work.  But when he says he loves me, I know he really means every word.  Especially the last one.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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