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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Weighing the Chair Down

I'm harder on myself than I need to be. Are you too?

Recently, when my girlfriend was feeling low I had no difficulty whatsoever reminding her how awesome and incredible she is. It's easy for me to tell her how brave she is and point out what an incredible over-comer she's been while naming all the blessings in her life.

It's so easy for me to see those things in her life.

And when the roles are reversed, she is quick to point out all the wonderful things I have going on in my life when I'm needing that gentle reminder.

It's why were friends.


When I'm alone though, with my thoughts, and they begin to go downhill...
when I feel as if my adequacy is a reflection of my performance
or my size is my value
or I'm spinning my wheels never moving forward

I'm so quick to think and feel and believe I'm not good enough.
And I turn that idea over and over
and around and around
in my head.
I nurse it, think about it, take it apart and look at it from every different angle.

I know I shouldn't but the mind is a tricky thing.
If my friend was doing that I would be quick to chastise her.
If she told me about her big flop at work I would say,
"It's okay. You're capable. Try again."

Because it's true.
It is okay.
She is able.
She should try again.


But why am I not so quick to tell myself those very same things?
Why do I say "Loser"
"Fake"
"Fraud"
??

Why are we kinder to others than we are to ourselves?


I remember one warm August afternoon I was helping a teacher in her classroom setting up for the arrival of her students. I had been working from a child-sized table and chair and when I went to scoot the chair towards my next project the chair didn't move. It had become stuck to the tiled floor.
And by stuck I mean I stood up, yanked the chair with all my might, and it remained cemented to the ground.

I was mortified.
In my mind, I was so heavy that the chair sunk into the warm, soft floor so deeply there was no repairing it.

To cover my embarrassment I quipped a joke about my weight
expecting a giggle from my teacher friend.

Instead she looked me square in the eyes and said, "Would you have said that about someone else?"
"No, of course not!" I responded.
And it was true.
I would have never joked about her chair had it become stuck. I would have never laughed at her weight. Why did I do that about myself. And so quickly too?
She paused a short but meaningful second and said, "Then don't talk about yourself that way."

I remembered that story after reading this passage from Daring Greatly by Brene Brown:
"If we want freedom ... we have to make the long journey from "What will people think?" to "I am enough." To claim the truths about who we are ... we have to be willing to give ourselves a break and appreciate the beauty of our cracks or imperfections. To be kinder and gentler with ourselves and each other. To talk to ourselves the same way we'd talk to someone we care about."


When I tell my friend that I love her, she's awesome and brave and blessed
I say it because I want her to see the truth that I see in her.

I need to be quicker about believing those same truths in my own life as well.
I need to be kinder with myself.
More thoughtful.
Full of mercy
and forgiveness.

I should do that as much for myself as I do my friends.
I bet it would make a big difference.
In me.
In them.
In life.

What do you think?




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