Monday, 1 July 2013

Being Enough

I am grateful that the chapters in The Gifts of Imperfection are short.  Each one overflows with concepts that ask you to reach down to your very core and dig around a bit with a sharp object.  Sometimes you have to pull back and take a break.  Like at the dentist...when you have to put your hand up...they let you close your mouth for a minute....you stretch your jaw....rinse maybe. 

"You ok to continue?"
You lie back, take a breath, try to get comfortable, open up, look at the outline of the hand holding the drill backlit by that horrible light...and nod.

Not to say it is all bad.  But this chapter on Exploring the Power of Love, Belonging, and Being Enough made me uncomfortable in my skin.  I squinted a lot.  Really, really trying to get at what she was saying without having to feel what she is saying....which is not the purpose. 

So I had to read the chapter a few times.  Then I fiddled around on Facebook and Outlook to avoid starting this post.

She starts out gently enough: to experience love and belonging I need to feel I am worthy of love and belonging. 

When we don't accept the parts of our lives that are in discord with how we think we are supposed to be ---we become something we are not --we live outside our authentic selves --"perfecting, pleasing, and proving" to feel worthy.

At 46 with two university educated, smart, hard working, resourceful adults in the house --who have always been employed---I believe we should have a big house with lovely things. I also think we should have a couple vacations a year (which we don't but I can hide that fact from people).  Don't get me wrong though. I love your little house (ok not the dead end galley kitchen where when you open the fridge door, the person behind it is trapped until you close it.  No I am not kidding.)  We are on a quiet, dead end street and the neighbourhood kids all play road hockey or catch or basketball outside.  In the summer I often go out and squirt them all with the hose to cool off.  Countless water bottles and freezies leave our house ---sports equipment is borrowed and there is the occasional injury or more often, hurt feelings.  In some ways it is picture perfect.

But if I have to have someone come to my house, I am a nervous wreck.  Our neighbourhood is not nice looking.  Crooked and falling fences are common along with neglected lawns and gardens, houses with gutters falling and paint peeling, and shabby driveways.  I feel like we have clearly done something wrong to not be in a better place.  I blame myself.  I don't feel worthy.  So I start to perform.  I deflect compliments. I apologize for the color of everything. I poke fun at the state of the floor/oven/fridge/walls/roof/deck/gardens to avoid having someone else do it first.

Where does this come from?  My parents. I saw their life and imagined that mine would be just a bit
better in terms of having things.  It isn't.  It's not a fair comparison --my therapist keeps reminding me --but I still go there.  I sometimes (less now) still measure myself up against that yard stick and I still fall short. 

"Fitting in," Brown says, "is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be to be accepted.  Belonging, on the other hand, doesn't require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are."

One thing that I have learned is that it is exhausting to try to "fit in"; be who you think everyone else thinks you should be; to put that much pressure on yourself.  It wears out your body, your mind, your soul.  You break, you numb, you get sick, you fall apart.  You hurt those closest to you, you perform for those who don't matter, you put yourself last.  You can't do it all so you say to yourself that you are unworthy--of love--of happiness--of anything.  You spiral. 

I don't need to read that in this chapter. I don't need to do the research.  I have lived that one.  Twice.  I am hoping to find the strength to be me.  I am still a work in progress.








5 comments:

  1. This is wonderful. How can I subscribe to your blog?
    From a Mama in Canada

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  2. Hi M! Ok so this is a challenge I have had myself---not being sure how to follow others! LOL There are a couple of options -- and I am pretty sure none of them are efficient but they are the only things I can figure out (and perhaps why I only have one follower--my very best friend!) So below the comment box there is a link that says subscribe by email. I use this one to subscribe to blogs that are not on BlogSpot.ca. I get a link to their newest post each time there is one. It is easy --but you have to sift through your e-mail. On the plus side--you only get an e-mail when there is a new post--AND --you don't forget to look! The other way I can figure is if you hover over the right hand edge of the screen up in the top quarter or so---four little things slide out to your left. One of them says subscribe. I dunno why they would be hidden. Weird. Last but not least. If you go to your own blog on BlogSpot.ca and go "home" to where all your set up is---you will see an icon that looks like a little cog --or gear of some type. If you click on that it will tell you blogs you are following. There is a button there that says "add" and you can type in http://adpwip.blogspot.ca and that is me!

    Thanks for reaching out! I hope you enjoy reading as much as I am enjoying writing! It is new for me--and a joy!

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  4. What a lovely essay. Honest and true. I find it is a constant struggle to be who you are. . . and having not only that be enough, but having it be good. I am so happy that you found me and that I, in turn, have found you! I look forward to reading more of your work and seeing what we can learn from one another. (I'm the Jennifer from Ayearbythebooks.com)
    Have you put your blog on BlogLovin? It's a new blog reading site that it easy to have followers and readers. Check it out!

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  5. I will look at BlogLovin.....it's all new to me...a whole new world out here but amazing!

    Yes, being good enough--the perfectionist demonista that lives on my shoulder. She pulls my hair an awful lot! LOL

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