balance · self-care

My New Mantra #mind

I recently decided to let go of what people think.

It’s been almost three days, and I feel amazing.

When I say letting go of what other people think, I mean including me.  I am often my own worst critic.  And that nonsense needs to stop, immediately if not sooner.

Whenever I’m looking for Glennon Doyle quotes, there’s a photo that pops up:

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I love this.  The first time I saw it, I assumed it was a note Glennon wrote to one of her kids.  But then I read this article and realized it was actually one of her readers who wrote this, after losing her temper with her daughter for making an honest mistake.

I make mistakes ALL THE TIME.  In theory, I believe that making mistakes is a natural consequence of doing anything.  So I believe they’re okay.  No issues whatsoever with mistakes.

But, in practice?  I beat myself up for making mistakes on a daily basis.

I think we learn to beat ourselves up early in life.  I have friends who don’t have this inclination, but in me, it is a fierce habit that’s proven really difficult to break.  I may have learned it in church; the Catholic god can be guilt-inducing and punitive.  I think I learned that it wasn’t enough just to make amends when you did something wrong; if you didn’t feel intensely guilty about it, then you weren’t a good person.

Now, me?  I’m used to all this self-doubt, self-condemnation, self-hating.  It’s been a part of my internal world for forever.  BUT I HAVE A KID NOW.  And I will be damned if he learns this kind of self-condemnation and guilt from me.

I firmly believe that children learn a lot more from watching what adults do than listening to what they say.  I know that from my personal and professional experience, and from my binge listening to The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting, an audio CD from Dr. Brene Brown.  Who we are is a better indicator of how our kids will turn out than how we parent.  

There was another part of Glennon’s article that I loved.   She writes this:

5b8d24065cbd66c23032d8a348992fd2HERE’S THE PLAN: TODAY — when we lose our temper with the kids, when we accidentally eat that third brownie, when we don’t send that thank you card for the fortieth day in a row, when we forget to stop at the gym, when we’re late for that meeting — anytime and every time we fall short of the ridiculous expectations we put on ourselves — we are going to say to our sweet, well-meaning selves:

“Whatever. I’m fabulous anyway.”

That’s grace. TODAY we shall offer ourselves GRACE and see how THAT goes. Let’s make friends with our selves. We deserve to have a good, kind, gracey friend. We can BE that friend to ourselves.

I. Love. This. So. Freaking. Much.

It’s my new mantra.  I’ve caught myself at least twenty times these past few days, about to chastise myself for a mistake or an action that doesn’t reflect my values.  You know what?  I could make nothing but mistakes today, and I would still be fabulous.  If you’re living a life that’s not completely aligned with your values, you can work on it; I am constantly working on this.  But what good does it do to beat ourselves up?  How will we have the optimism and energy for self-improvement if we’re always putting ourselves down? We won’t.

Anyway – it’s been an amazing three days.  Onward.

Image result for the other serenity prayer god grant me the serenity to stop beating myself up'

books + reading · reading · recovery · writing

I Heart Glennon – Part Two #mind

I just finished devouring Glennon Doyle’s memoir Love Warrior.  

I identify with so much of what Glennon writes.  To give an extremely limited snapshot for anyone who hasn’t read her books or explored her blog, Momastery, Glennon experienced bulimia and alcoholism for many years.  She had what sounds like a spiritual awakening when she became pregnant with her son in her mid-twenties and has been sober ever since.  She writes about love, family, suffering, pain, rising, God, and humanity.  Her writing radiates with strength and honesty.

I actually hadn’t even heard Glennon’s name until she married Abby Wambach, one of my fave USWNT soccer stars.  This makes me laugh.  You can be talented, successful, famous – but I won’t become a fan until you marry a gay icon.  LOL.

My story is similar to Glennon’s.  The food/body stuff.  The alcohol stuff.  There’s a lot of overlap between the things I think and write about and the things Glennon writes about.

I don’t presume to know what’s inside Glennon’s mind.  I barely understand my own thoughts.  But some of the similarities in our stories make me think about acceptance, insecurity, self-consciousness, internalizing behaviors, ways we cope.  My thoughts have been swirling ever since reading Love Warrior and Glennon’s first book, Carry On Warrior, which I actually liked even better than her memoir.

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I started my blog in 2015 when I was in the middle of a really difficult time in my life. The blog saved me a little every day.  Writing saved me a little every day.  Glennon writes, “Reading is my inhale and writing is my exhale.”  She also writes, “I am happiest when I have finished an essay that says what I mean.”

I love this.  All of this.  I also adore the way Glennon describes her creative process.  (I’m quoting her post, but you can read the full text here!

I get an idea. It feels like a little seed inside of me, taking root.

It start growing and growing and maturing and gets so big it starts pushing out of me. I love this part I love, I love, I love this part. I feel so FULL. Kind of like I really, really have to pee. Ready to explode. This is the BEFORE.

Then, when I can’t take the beautiful pressure anymore—I sit down at the computer and it comes out. It pours out onto the screen and the good news is: Now it’s out. The bad news is: It looks like crap. So I have to work. Hours and hours of work is what turns a pouring out into actual art. THIS IS THE DURING.

When it’s finally art, I read it. I see that it’s good, because I answered the call. Then push it out into the world. I give it away.

That’s it.

THERE IS NO AFTER.

It’s not time to follow my art around, making sure everyone gets it. It’s not mine to protect. I gave it away.

Now it’s time to REST.

So I rest and wait for the BEFORE TO START AGAIN. I wait for the pressure to start to build again.

All the magic of art is in the BEFORE, THE DURING, and the REST.

I love this.  I’ve been thinking a lot about how to work writing and creativity into my daily life.  And the best luck I’ve had has been following a process similar to this.  I don’t have six-hour-long blocks of time to sit down at a computer and write and write and write, as much as I’d like to.

But I can let little ideas bubble up in my mind, and get curious about them, and maybe scribble down a line or two throughout the day.  And then – and then – when I finally do get an hour with my laptop, I can let loose and let the words fly onto the page.

Here is just one more of the many Glennon quotes that I want to remember:

About spirituality and faith: “I teach them that faith is not a club to belong to but a current to surrender to.  I teach them that they’ll know they’re in the current when they are becoming kinder and gentler and more open and grateful and when they feel constantly carried toward people they fear so they can fall in love and stop being afraid.”

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books + reading · reading · recovery · writing

I Heart Glennon – Part One #mind

How did it take me so long to find Glennon Doyle Melton?

I love her.  I love her the way we love writers who could be good friends if the fates aligned.  I’ve officially added her to my list of Women I Simultaneously Admire & Envy.

giphy (2)I was recently re-reading this post from April 2015, a time when I was thinking a lot about the Women I Simultaneously Admire & Envy.  Brene Brown.  Cheryl Strayed.  Elizabeth Gilbert.  Gretchen Rubin.  Women who write – women who are all about self-discovery and personal growth – women who are honest and talented and have created lives that seem to include, from my faraway view, freedom and authenticity.

Glennon Doyle is now on the list, too.  However, I have to confess that before I started exploring her writing, I had a bit of a resentment toward Glennon.  The story of her success is one I envy – she was a stay-at-home mom and she started writing beautiful, honest messages on her blog.  Her writing was powerful and it caught fire.  She’s now a published writer who works for herself.

This made me mad.  I have similar resentments to other people – mainly writers.  If you’re younger than me and a published writer, I will experience a twinge of envy and resentment toward you.  Especially if you were able to achieve success while home wearing yoga pants.

However, when I dig deep, I know that my real resentment is toward myself, for not taking the time and energy to work on making a career as a writer.  Or not even a career – a hobby.  A side hustle.  Whatever is needed so that I feel I am exercising my creativity, expressing myself honestly and authentically through my writing.  Glennon does this.  Once I started to read her words – I finished Carry On Warrior in a day and am halfway through her new memoir – my resentment melted away, replaced by inspiration and hope.  Glennon writes, “I am happiest when I have finished an essay that says what I mean.”  I wholeheartedly agree.

So it’s not about resentment toward women writers who are successful; it’s about resentment toward myself for not following my heart.

And then.  There’s this one other thing.

The more people find success in this area – writing related to spirit, self-discovery, and personal growth – the more I am afraid that there won’t be enough room for me to have success, too.  I worry that all the good stories have already been told.  I worry that all the good books have already been written.

Ugh.  Brene Brown already told me that I have enough!  That we live in a culture of scarcity and that we need to practice gratitude and overcome our fears of “never enough.”  But I am all about scarcity and fear of the dark, apparently.  I have all the symptoms: it’s hard for me to be happy when people around me achieve success in one of *my* areas; I’m constantly comparing myself and my journey to others; and I struggle with setting and working toward long-term goals, because I secretly think they are too good to be true.

I’m a work-in-progress – progress not perfection.  Al;so, I started googling Glennon quotes while writing this and I’m pretty sure she’s watching me via some sort of candid camera, because this is the first quote that popped up:

envy

Sing it, sister.  Message received.  More on my love of Glennon to come.