The way I see it, we have a choice. We make the decision to look for the good in someone or we examine someone with a microscope to broadcast the bad.
I wrote a post a few weeks ago about a conversation I had with my son. I was frustrated with him and I spent the whole ride home from school telling him all the ways he disappoints me. I was stopped mid-sentence when he interjected and said words that really made me think. “Do I do anything right mom?” My heart sank and I allowed myself to feel the very pain I was choosing to inflict on him. Who did I think I was that day? How would I feel if everyone wanted to have a conversation about everything I did that was disappointing. Didn’t I already know my flaws and feel bad enough without someone else pointing them out?
The lesson is simple. Just turn on the news and watch this sad process in action. Basically, we get what we look for. We can look for and report the bad, the negative, the doom and gloom or we can seek out and celebrate the good. The problem isn’t always the person or the situation we are pointing our eager finger at. Often times, it is our own perception that is the biggest problem at all. Time to get real. We can’t heal what we won’t acknowledge.
There are irrefutable facts lost somewhere between the reality of a situation and the story we tell ourselves. No matter how hard I try, my head cannot leave a situation well enough alone. It listens, analyzes, judges, twists and ultimately rewrites the narrative to fit the smallness that stows away inside my head. Overthinking is like a weed that covers the truth and leaves even the most innocent event looking ugly and unkept. It’s so important to reach down and pluck the ugly out from the roots. To be real and honest and admit when those dangerous weeds are hiding the beauty that lies beneath and the only thing allowing them to take over is a simple yet conscious choice. I found myself standing there this week in the middle of my mental garden stomping on the flowers and nourishing the weeds. It took a few days a long with the courage to take a step back and force myself to lift my head and take an honest look to realize what I was creating was far from truth. There are irrefutable facts and the stories we tell ourselves and the truth lies someplace inbetween.
How many times do you tear down the lies and just get real with yourself? Sometimes it’s easier to avoid the truth because denying it feels better than facing the work that lies ahead necessary to set yourself straight again. What I don’t know can’t hurt me. Sound familiar?
For quite a while now, I have been extremely uncomfortable in my clothes. My ego generated lie after lie as I avoided the scale. The truth would have been revealed in one three digit number. I pushed that scale with my foot underneath my vanity purposely avoiding a truth I was unwilling to see.
Today I got real. I felt sick as I bent down and slid that scale out. I begged and bargained with God but He must have been busy. Now I know for sure what I had known all along. It’s not loose skin or aging. I have gained weight. You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge but today I gave myself the gift of hope. I’ve done this before and I know what works. Now that I am honest with myself, the real work can now begin.
What have you been avoiding? What truth have you been hiding from?
Teenagers. Need I say more. The first day I held my my babies in my arms I knew my life would never be the same. Here were these perfect packages of love all bundled up and counting on me to keep them safe. I didn’t know much about parenting then. I knew I had to muddle my way through until I finally figured out a plan. Certainly I would figure this mom thing out because like it or not, these tiny babies didn’t come with instructions. There was no transitional period. A baby was born and I became mom.There were no guidelines or anyone to tell me a sure fire plan to raise a happy, healthy, super kid. Sure there were people who offered suggestions that followed a hint of the theme I was doing something wrong. These days I feel everything I do is wrong. Sometimes I say things that later near drown me with pain and regret. Some days I’m so distracted that I forget to listen. Some days my cape falls off and I’m reminded I am only human. I right every wrong or fix everything that is broken. I can’t be who everyone needs me to be or pretend I’m someone who I’m just not. Sometimes my mom is broken. It can’t be fixed with a bandaid or a trip to the spa. Sometimes I need a good cry or a long walk or some space to breath without feeling the need to apologize for my own needs. Sometimes I need to remind myself that it’s okay not to be perfect and that each day is a new day to wake up and try again. So how do I parent when my mom is broken? The best way I can and somehow I have to make peace with myself that somehow that will be enough.
I remember the first time I started listening to Wayne Dyer and I heard the question about squeezing the orange. The question was simple. When you squeeze an orange, what do you get out of it? Silly I thought. Everyone knows the answer is orange juice. Only it wasn’t that simple at all. Often I have asked myself this same question. Kim, if I give you a squeeze what will come out? I shudder to think of the answer. The truth hurts sometimes but is necessary to keep in tune with what is going on in the inside. I know all too well when it’s ugly in there because no matter what I do to make myself look good, when I look in the mirror the outside looks ugly too. Add that to the negativity coming at me from every direction and what I end up with ain’t that pretty. My reflection in the mirror is directly connected to how I fell on the inside. I can say people make me this way or that but the truth is you cant get apple juice from a banana. I know I can’t blame anyone else for is what is already eating me away on the inside. I know I am sour but the question is, how can change the contents? How can I dump this crap out and start all over so who I really am can live inside again?
Today, I challenge you to answer this? If I gave you a squeeze, what would come out?
I was blessed enough to attend a yoga workshop with Jen Pastiloff yesterday. She provided the group with many prompts but one really stood out for me. We were directed to make a list of our very best bullshit stories. These are the stories we tell ourselves that keep us disappointed, hopeless and stuck in the one place we don’t want to be, right here. As I started to get really honest with myself, I couldn’t deny I had been convincing myself of so many things that just weren’t true. The problem is, the more I repeat these lame excuses to myself, the more apt I am to give myself a pass which enables me to not even try to change a single corcumstance in my life.
Tell me your biggest bullshit story. Share it so the whole world can hold you accountable and so we can find the courage to not let these ridiculous bs stories control our lives anymore.
Here’s one of mine. I’ve been away from nursing too long to ever go back. It’s too late. Come on call me out.
Sometimes I feel like a lousy parent. The older my kids get, the less I am their model to follow. I look at what’s happening in the world and the parallel with my own children. I watch this laziness among people and no attempt to even try and meet expected deadlines. I watch them spin the truth and deceive me by leading me to believe something when they know darn well it isn’t true. I watch them not hand work into school on time and not care because there are no consequences. Worst of all, I see a lack of fear. I watch the wrong doing of several influential individuals who escape accountability and consequences an entire lifetime. I watch media spin opinions into the truth they want me to believe when I know darn right well it isn’t true. I watch teachers not follow my sons 504 and then threaten and intimidate me when I call them out. I watch the system of checks and balance not follow up on a complaint of discrimination against a school who for all sense and purposes blatantly did not follow the law. I watch people disrespect cops and ignore their orders and wonder why they get shot. I watch a few cops shoot to kill and I wonder why they couldn’t shoot to wound. The world is spinning out of control and I am so dizzy I can barely breathe. I witness people I have known an entire lifetime call each other names and accuse each other of horrible things because they commit to voting for a certain candidate. I watch people pick and choose what is okay and what is not based on who the person is. I watch double standards and people acting in the same manner they claim to abhor. I watch people spread hate and contempt, the very people who accuse others but turn around and do the same. I feel my heart break as I see the way we treat one another and at the same time feel no remorse. I watch us judge and label and humiliate and my heart breaks a little more. Sometimes I sit down long enough and it all catches up and I need to take a minute to just breathe. I need to repeat the serenity prayer and believe that I have to find a way to let go of what I cannot change and continue to change the things I can. I have to choose to see good in people and everything around me and remember I do the best I can and I have no control over the rest. I cannot carry the weight of the world but I have to always be prepared to carry my own share. Some days are just harder than others. Some days I need encouragement so my own cup is full. Some days I need to say what’s on my mind and not be afraid. Some days I just need to step back and take a little break. Today is one of those days.