Who hasn’t been told to “Just Get Over It!”? Who hasn’t told themselves this when they’re not moving on as quickly from something as they’d like? A breakup, a disappointment, a rejection…
It’s a phrase that almost always comes from an invalidating place—I have clients who say this type of thing to themselves about experiences as intense as assault and abuse. The thing is, if we’re struggling with something—there’s generally a good reason. Either we’re trying to move on without the skills we need or there’s some learning or processing that still needs to happen before we can move on.
So when you start dreaming about Disney’s “Frozen” either it means you have a 7 year old daughter or Disney’s taking over the world (or both). This morning, while driving my daughter to school I remembered a flash of my dream last night. I don’t remember the context, but I was somehow performing Let It Go from “Frozen” in a group of people. All I remember is bursting out in song for the chorus and that my voice was strong and clear and it felt amazing!
How do you feel about your life? Do you compare it to hers over there? Or his over here? Do you look on Facebook and get bummed out because that one is wishing their hubby a Happy Anniversary and you just fought with your spouse this morning? Or maybe you don’t have a partner and that Happy Anniversary makes you feel more lonely.
There is, perhaps, nothing that takes us out of our own experience and sets us up to judge ourselves (and others) more than thinking that other people have figured out something that we haven’t. Real communication and connection with others are crucial to cutting this painful phenomenon from our lives. For every cookoo, bizarre, yucky thing you might struggle with there are thousands out there who struggle in the same way. When we find out that we aren’t alone in our pain or fear it helps us realize that we are simply normal, imperfect human beings doing the best we can.
You are okay the way you are—even the ways you are not okay are OKAY.
If you are nasty to your family sometimes–so are lots of other people.
If you are a grumpy parent sometimes–so are lots of other people.
If you are not attracted to your partner sometimes–so are lots of other people.
If you have petty, insecure thoughts sometimes–so are lots of other people.
Okay. Let’s put aside our fears of being cheesy and talk about something important. Loving ourselves. I think this is central to living a happy, meaningful, connected life. It’s something with which many of us struggle. But why is it so important? And how do we do it?
I tend to think that our purpose in life is to be as fully ourselves as possible. In other words, to grow as much as we can into the best person we can be. Love promotes growth and opening. Fear constricts and limits growth. If A+B=C, then love is central to our life’s purpose.
So how do we love more? What does it look like?
Here’s a short list of possibilities:
Feed yourself good food.
Spend time with people who love and respect you.
Breathe. Breathe into your heart.
Forgive yourself for mistakes–cut yourself some slack.
Be honest about your imperfections and challenges with people who accept, normalize, and share their own.
Make your imperfections Not Such A Big Deal.
Thank yourself for trying.
Value comfort and security…and push your edge for learning and growth.
Get a massage.
Dare to think “I’m okay as I am.”
I’ve been thinking a lot about faith since reading The Scalpel and the Soul by Allan Hamilton. He is a Harvard-trained neurosurgeon and tells about many experiences he had during his years in the field that are unexplainable by science as we know it. The last story in his book blew me away and really challenged the skeptic in me. I don’t know what I believe exactly in terms of God or past-lives or any of that, but I am finding a growing desire to explore.
Mostly my desire is driven by the sense that if we accept limitations–our own and those of the world–they become reality. Even if they aren’t true. Openness and exploration give us a chance to find out for ourselves how big and rich and full our human experiences can be.
A powerful article I read today discussed Martin Luther King, Jr. and how mainstream society minimizes and waters down the contribution he made to our country. More than the Civil Rights Act or the Voting Rights Act…he encouraged black people to do what they were most afraid of doing for fear of retribution by whites–because when blacks faced those fears together and survived they found true freedom.
To honor him today, I offer thanks for his brave and loving heart that inspired black people (and ALL sorts of people) to stand up for their freedom, their families, and their right to justice. I am inspired by his work and his words. I don’t know what God is, but I know that love and opening my heart are central to whatever’s important about life.
As King said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
Start from love. Even if you don’t feel it or know it. Pretend. Explore. Ask for it. See what happens.