“Oh, We’re Not Doing THAT Here . . .”

heart

Recently, one of my favorite people on the planet, Glennon Doyle Melton appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s “Super Soul Sunday” to promote her new (and might I add exceptional) book, Love Warrior.  During the interview, Glennon recalls showing up at a play group shortly after the birth of her third child and being asked by one of the other moms, “How does it feel to be a stay-at-home mom of three kids?” Glennon remembers thinking, “Awesome, we’re actually going to talk about how we feel” and then proceeding to enthusiastically share a metaphor she’d been developing to describe the experience. “You know how there are two kinds of volcanos,” she exclaimed. “The first is an active volcano and the second is a dormant one. The dormant one looks calm on the outside, but on the inside it’s bubbling with boiling hot lava that at any moment could just explode and kill everything in the vicinity! That’s how I feel as a stay-at-home mom – ALL DAY!” “It was a perfect metaphor,” Glennon recalls. But suddenly there was complete silence in the room and wide-eyed stares of disbelief among her fellow moms and she thought to herself, “Oh, we’re not doing THAT here.” So she immediately said, “What I really meant is that I love every minute of it! I hate it when they sleep. I just stare at them. And, I think if there is one word that would describe how I feel as a stay-at-home mom it would be ‘fulfilled’.  And then we ended the moment and I thought, ‘Well, we’re not going to be honest at play dates. That’s a shame’.”

It is a shame and yet, as the humor of Glennon’s story-telling wore off, I realized how infrequent it is that any of us are afforded an opportunity to fully and honestly unpack our hearts, that, while we all profess to want others to “be honest with us” – whether we’re the boss in the boardroom, the teacher in the classroom, a lover in the bedroom, the judge in a courtroom, a preacher in the sanctuary, a classmate in the lunchroom, a sibling in a chatroom, or a friend across the table at a local coffee shop – our spoken and unspoken reactions to truth, not unlike the crickets and ashen faces that greeted Glennon’s, tell a very different, often truth-stifling story.  Don’t get me wrong.  None of us struggle to embrace truth when what’s being dispensed is the ego-stroking, joy-producing variety, let alone truth that mirrors our idea of how whatever’s being spoken about (e.g., politics, child-rearing practices, lifestyle choices, relationships, etc.) “should” look. It’s the truth that’s just a little too honest, too real, too thought-provoking – that is soul-bearingly raw, that makes us uncomfortable, challenges our beliefs, casts a light on things about us that we’d rather not spend too much (okay, any!) time dwelling on – that makes most of us want to run and hide.  I know, because I’m no stranger to wanting to stay on the platform when that line of the Truth Train is pulling out of the station.

But, why is that?  Why are we so afraid to be honest with one another?  Why can’t we accept the fact that others’ truth (and the feelings attached to it) are just as real as our own – and not only provide a safe space for it to be spoken, but validated?  Why, instead, are we so quick to take another’s truth, especially when it pertains to the way our behaviors or words have affected them, so personally?  Why in the face of such truths do so many adults react like the moms in Glennon’s play group or, worse yet, like children who’ve been caught doing something they shouldn’t be?  Why do we grow angry, rush to disavow responsibility, slam things, storm out of the room?  Why, rather than listen with gratitude when entrusted with a glimpse into another’s soul, even one belonging to a loved one, is our first instinct upon hearing their truth to shut down, strike back, become defensive or, even more hurtfully, seek to prove that the truth-teller is anything but? Why, when confronted with another’s truth, do we often try to shift the focus, if not the blame for the underlying act or omission, by reaching into the past for a truth of our own that we can wield as a both a sword and a shield?  Why do we repeatedly play the shame, guilt or “you’re breaking my heart” card?  Why is it so easy for us to be dismissive of someone else’s truth, while simultaneously insisting that they not only listen to, but embrace ours as their own?

I confess I don’t fully understand the “whys” of it all.  In fact, truth be told, I’ve been as guilty as the next person of engaging in many of the behaviors described above.  But, I’ve also been on the receiving end of them enough times to know that much of the way we deal with the truth (or don’t deal with it as the case may be) is terribly unhealthy and, at times, profoundly hurtful.  I get that truth has weight and because it does it’s sometimes difficult for the recipient to saddle up next to it and share the load.  But, what’s the alternative? To ask wannabe truth-tellers to bear the full weight of their truth alone?  I also get that truth takes time – time to share and time to sit with.  But, is there really a way to better spend our time than searching for or in the presence of the truth? It goes without saying that it’d be a lot easier on all of us if everyone really was as “fine” as they say they are and pretend to be.  But the reality is there are lots of folks who are not fine at all, whose world is falling apart around them, who continue to feast on their truth out of fear that if they speak and stand in it instead they will be judged, shamed, misunderstood, disrespected or, worse yet, met by indifference or rejected.  And so they suffer in silence – and we and the chorus of life of which all of us are meant to be a part suffer for lack of their voice and their truth.

We need to do better and we can, but it will require INTENTION (and patience) on the part of the teller and the listener, because feeling sufficiently “safe” to speak your truth – at any age – is an acquired skill and it takes practice.  I believe the family dinner table is a good place to start and that a dear friend (Carolyn Costin) offers a simple strategy to light the way.  She calls the exercise Heart Talks.  Here’s how it works: Find a heart-shaped piece of glass (like the one pictured above) and place it in the center of the table. When a member of the family wants to share a piece of their truth (big or small), they simply take the heart in hand.  As a sign of respect for the heart-holder and their voice, the others at the table become silent and listen attentively until the speaker finishes what he or she has to say.  The speaker then has the choice to invite others to comment on what they’ve shared or simply thank those present for listening and allowing them to speak their truth (Yes, dads, sometimes they just want you to listen!).  The heart is then returned to the center of the table.  NOTE: There’s no obligation to speak, nor any limits on the number of times or length of time a heart-holder can speak – just a space where truth can be spoken, rather than swallowed as it too often is, and will be respected.   By the way, expect some awkwardness at first, but, over time, the rewards will be great.

And here’s the good news: The heart is portable!  It fits neatly into a purse, shirt pocket, lunchbox, backpack or suitcase and is ideal for road trips, field trips, date nights, coffee outings – yes, even play dates!  Heck, if you really want to live a little, bring it to work! And, oh, be sure to let me know how it goes.  (P.S. There’s a reason it’s made of glass).

http://tinyurl.com/pwauy3x

A Letter To The Child I Never Met

motheranddaughter

Writer’s Note: It’s estimated that 10 to 25 percent of all pregnancies end in a miscarriage – a term doctors use to describe any pregnancy that ends on its own within the first 20 weeks of gestation. While a specific cause of a miscarriage seldom can be identified, some suggest that as many as 70 percent of first-trimester miscarriages are caused by some form of chromosomal abnormality. I suspect these relatively high percentages are why couples often wait until after the first trimester to share the joyous news of a new pregnancy. It’s also why so many suffer in silence when they and their child become part of this heart-breaking statistic. In 1984, we were one of those couples.

Dear Sarah,

I don’t know why you were on my mind on this morning’s walk or why you’re still there several hours later. It’s been years since I last thought about you.  Maybe it’s all the talk of late about a woman’s right to choose, about whether it’s ever too late in a pregnancy to terminate it, or whether it’s moral or ethical to decide to terminate one at all.  Maybe it’s my recent willingness to revisit old wounds, to sit with the unprocessed grief that surrounds them, and to allow myself the grace to gently and lovingly apply the few missing sutures necessary to fully and finally bind them up and let them go.  Maybe, as I stand at yet another crossroads in my life and think about all of the important people who have come and gone, the relationships that were and weren’t, the moments that affected me most profoundly, it’s only natural that you would come to mind.  Maybe it’s a little bit of all of these things – and so much more.

Still, I’m not entirely sure why, more than 30 years later, your visits still bring the spontaneous outpouring of tears they do. Is it because I allow myself to wonder what it would have been like to meet you for the first time, to hold you in my arms, to see you smile, to kiss you goodnight, to read you bedtime stories, to watch your personality unfold, to listen to your laughter coming from another room, to hear the sound of your footsteps, to dry your tears, to comfort you, to play with you and watch you play, to share your schemes and dreams, to watch you shine and be there to help you up when you fell – to have the privilege to be your dad?  Or is it because I realize how fundamentally different it all might have been with a family of five – breakfast and dinner table conversations, sibling rivalries and relationships, morning and bedtime routines, summer vacations, school and extracurricular activities, photographs, and memories. Likely, it’s because of all of these things – and so much more.

I’ve called you “Sarah” for purposes of this note, but the truth is: I don’t know whether you were a girl or a boy.  You and I didn’t get that far.  I picked Sarah because I like that name – and the people I associate with it – and because I realized today, among other things, that I always envisioned you being a girl.  Perhaps that’s why, while I didn’t want your mom to know, I was terrified when I first learned you were inching your way into our lives.  I had no clue how to be a parent, let alone how to parent a little girl. I was still trying to figure out what it means to be me, but I was eager to learn and committed to being a good dad – the best dad – no matter what it took.  It’s just that I never got the chance to show you that (and so much more), because, seemingly as soon as I started to get my head around it all, around the thought of two becoming three, you were gone.

As has often been the case in my life, I felt the need to be strong (mostly for your mom) and, consequently, held as many of my tears at bay as I could, because I knew that she too was heart-broken by your loss. In time, we moved on, as life demanded.  We started a family the following year with the birth of your brother and, two years later, your sister.  Each has a very special, other-centered heart and lots of gifts that make them engaging, uniquely beautiful, and fun to be with. You would have enjoyed and loved each other – immensely.  What I most want you to know, however, is that I loved you (and still do); that, given the choice, all of us would have chosen life with you, rather than to live it, as we have, without you; that I’m sorry we never had the chance to meet; and that I live in hope that maybe someday we will.

With All My Love,

Your Dad

Image credit: http://www.atlantabirthcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/miscarriage-sculpture.jpg

The Lucky One

dad

It’s difficult to put into words what it’s like to be in a room with a few hundred like-hearted people who are willing to embrace their truth (even though that truth might be a bit messy, uncomfortable, and painful); who feel safe and have been given permission, by the warm tears and nodding “me too” heads of those around them to be authentic and transparent; and who understand the transformative power of vulnerability. I was in that space a few weeks ago at the National Eating Disorders Association’s 2016 Annual Conference in Chicago, where I was invited to be part of a panel discussion exploring the complex relationship that exists between dads and daughters, and it was of the one of the most beautiful and humbling experiences of my life. What made it doubly special was the fact that I had the privilege of sharing it with my fellow panelists, Drs. Margo Maine, Michael Berrett and Beth Hartman McGilley, who I have long admired and respected for their selfless dedication to bringing hope and healing to others, and three front row friends, Joanna Mercuri, Alison Smela and Dr. Angie Viets, who not only get it, but get me. If ever there was a recipe for unforgettable – for what it’s like to feel fully human – the events of that Friday afternoon were it.

When the session was over and the last of those who had approached me on the dais to exchange a hug or offer words of appreciation had moved on to my fellow presenters, I settled back into my seat, emotionally spent, and tried to take it all in. I thought about the man and the father I was when this most improbable of journeys began ten years ago. I thought about how hyper-critical and judgmental that guy was, how intolerant of mistakes and impatient he had become, how much emphasis he placed on doing at the expense of feeling, how confident he was in his ability to fix things and others, how little time he devoted to listening, and how badly he had missed the mark where loving his daughter the way she needed (and deserved) to be loved was concerned – all despite his best intentions. I wondered if, in the midst of the fear, anger, confusion and denial that surrounded him in the days after learning of his daughter’s illness, that guy would have been able to hear the message of hope I’d just delivered, believed that it was possible to learn how to be a better listener, to be more patient, to tolerate, if not celebrate his and others’ imperfections, to allow empathy and compassion to take the place of judgment, to let go, to trust, and, in the process, achieve greater emotional intimacy.

And then I thought about how far that guy had come in those ten years – and the paradoxes that made that growth possible. I thought about how it took our daughter “losing her voice” for me to find my own and our hearts to learn a new language that now allows them to communicate with each other more honestly and lovingly; how it was the pain caused by the swallowing of her truth and the strength it took to later speak it that gave me the courage to stand in mine; how it was her insistence on isolation and, at times, defiant pulling away that taught me the importance and power of closeness; how it was the walling off of her heart that served as a catalyst for me to finally start unpacking mine; how it was her reluctance to communicate that re-kindled my long dormant love of letter writing; and how it was the seemingly impenetrable darkness of an insidious disease that shown a light on all that, unbeknownst to us at the time, was in such desperate need of healing. “That’s an awful lot of life to squeeze into one decade,” I thought to myself. Do I wish all of it could’ve happened without someone I love more than life itself having to suffer so much? You bet. Would I trade the man I am today because of it for anything in the world? Not a chance.

 As I got up to leave the meeting room, a young woman approached me with tear-stained cheeks and said simply, “Your daughter is lucky to have you for a dad.”  I smiled and thanked her for that, because it was the right and polite thing to do. But, the truth is: I’m the lucky one. What happened in that room, the gifts and lessons learned that made it possible (i.e., the humility, the courage to open my heart to a group of strangers, the empathy, the vulnerability, etc.) exist only because I have been blessed to have her as a daughter.

“What if . . .”

what-if

One day, many years ago, my then teenage son, who is a talented and competitive golfer, was in a funk.  I don’t recall the source of it at the time.  Maybe his game wasn’t quite where he thought it should be.  Maybe it was “terrible”.  Maybe it had nothing to do with golf and everything to do with something going on at school. Maybe it centered around friends or family or a combination of both. Maybe it was just one of those days – or maybe it was a little bit of all of the above.  As often is the case when we find ourselves stuck, however, the source of the “glue” is really secondary.  What matters is how we respond to those circumstances and, on that particular day, my son’s response was to stay in bed rather than face what, I’m sure in his mind, was likely to be little more than much of the same of what had come before.

I took a different approach.  I entered his room, sat at the end of the bed, and asked whether he planned to go to the course to practice and play, as was his custom, especially on days as beautiful as that summer afternoon.  Not surprisingly, he responded with a barely audible, but firm “no” from under the covers. “Well, what if I told you that today’s the day you’re going to break the course record,” I said, knowing that the prospect of setting a course record is high on every competitor’s bucket list and certainly was on his. “If you knew that,” I asked, “how fast would you get to the first tee?” “Pretty darn fast,” he said, unable, even in his blue state of mind, to control the grin that the mere thought of it brought to his face. “But you can’t tell me that,” he hastened to add – “because there’s no way for you to know that today’s the day.”

Then it was my turn to smile, which I did, broadly, as I started towards the door, pausing to look over my shoulder. “You don’t know that it’s not,” I replied.  And with that I was off and, shortly thereafter, he was up and out the door.

It’s in that uncertainty, of course, that both the magic and the terror of Life reside, leaving us to choose which we will embrace.  The older I get the clearer (notice I didn’t say easier!) the choice becomes.  For me, the uncertainty that is an inescapable part of all of our lives isn’t supposed to be a paralyzing force, though, God knows, it has been for me more times than I care to consider.  Instead, my sense is that it exists to inspire and motivate us to leap out of bed with an adventurous spirit eager to see what each new day holds in store.  Perhaps it will be a moment in which we catch a glimpse of the gifts that make us unique – of our truth – and we will rejoice in it.  Other times, it may be moments of disappointment, discouragement, loss or heartache, which, in themselves, may serve as opportunities for growth or simply have to be endured.

But, make no mistake: The choice must be intentional and it must be made daily.  Because it is by no means intuitive, particularly on days, like that summer day, when fear is standing guard at the front door and our Inner Critic is loud and hell-bent on doing his/her dirty work.  It’s a choice borne of our willingness to believe in what is possible and our commitment to live with an attentive and playfully expectant heart, not unlike that of a curious child.  The good news is: We get to define that intention, to write it down if necessary and to return to it as often as needed until its pursuit becomes habitual.

What does this “look like” in practice?  Well, at various times, my “intentions” have included the following:

What if today you decided to just show up, that you are enough – just as you are?

What if today you entertained the possibility that those who know you best and love you most have been right all along – that you are courageous, compassionate, creative, resilient, loving, and worthy of love?

What if today you decided, at long last, to come out of the shadows, stand in the light, and be seen as you are – uniquely beautiful?

What if today you believed that “you” actually are worth living for, worth fighting for – worth going the extra mile for?

What if today you resolved that enough is enough – that you’ve beat yourself up enough, lived small long enough and are enough?

What if today you let love in?

What if today you loved “you” differently than yesterday – a little more tenderly, a little less critically, and a lot more generously?

What if today, instead of throwing in the towel, you picked up the “pen” of believing it’s possible and began writing the first (or the next) chapter in your comeback story?

What if today you focused on a singular goal: To reclaim and honor your authentic self?

What if today, instead of judgment, you finally offered your thirsting heart the forgiveness and grace it has been longing for?

What if today you began letting the world in on one of its best kept secrets: You?

What if today you turned the page on the story with the unhappy ending you’ve been telling yourself all these years and wrote a different one?

What if today is that day – the day you begin rewriting the ending, living a little more intentionally, replacing what you perceive as the certainty of a given outcome with the possibility of a different one?  What will your intentions look like, feel like . . . live like?

 

Favorite Things

woolen-mittens

“When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I’m feeling sad,

I simply remember my favorite things and then I don’t feel so bad.”

Sound of Music (1965)

 

I don’t know about you, but the last thing or things I tend to think about when I’m in a rut or feeling blue are raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles or warm woolen mittens, brown paper packages tied up with strings or wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings.  No, when I’m stuck and feel the darkness setting in, my mind immediately goes to more adult things. I question my worthiness.  I start to wonder what’s wrong with me, what’s missing, what I need to be doing more or less of to fit in, how it is that I can feel so alone in a crowded bar or restaurant, why I always seem to be the one who has to initiate where relationships are concerned, why so many others appear to be without a care in the world, where I misplaced my voice, my ability to laugh – my joy – what it will take to feel fully alive again.  But, as I passed by a local park filled with the unmistakable sounds and smiles of children at play on today’s walk, it occurred to me that, all those years ago, Julie Andrews may have been onto something, an elixir of sorts, a well-spring of nourishment to replenish weary or frightened hearts: Favorite Things!

For some, it will be “things” that remind them of childhood – when they felt free to express themselves, be themselves, emote, engage, enjoy, explore and experience the world and each other – unabashedly, unapologetically and honestly – to find joy in moments. Perhaps it’s something as simple as a front porch or playground swing, a water slide, a stuffed animal, a treasured book, jumping rope or a board game. Maybe it’s a keepsake from a special relative – a photograph, a letter, a favorite recipe, a piece of jewelry, or a knitted scarf or blanket.  For others, it may be a game of catch, a piece of music, a play, a smell, or a secret fishing hole. Still others will recall favorite restaurants or meals, a ride at an amusement park, activities like writing, singing, sewing, drawing or walks in familiar surroundings.  Some will have a favorite place – the beach, a lake, a stream, the shade of a special tree, a farm or meadow.  But, while everyone’s Favorite Things are different, each shares an important trait: In their presence, it is impossible to restrain our heart from smiling and therein lies their magic – the ability, if only for a moment, to introduce light, joy, safe harbor, or peace in the midst of a storm.

“What a remarkable gift that is,” I thought to myself as I continued on and the children’s laughter grew more and more faint.  And then I realized it was one that, with a little thought, I could (and probably should) give to myself.  So, when I got home, I began scribbling with heart smiles as my guide:

Any seat in Fenway Park.

Leaving the first set of footprints on a dew-covered fairway.

Blueberries.

A real hug.

Being the reason for someone else’s smile.

The breadsticks at the Red Diamond Inn.

A wagging tail.

Any song by David Gates and Bread.

The Giving Tree.

“The Wright House” at Ocean Isle Beach.

Firsts.

Apple pie (no mode).

Og Mandino’s writings.

A heart talk.

Hitting the sweet spot.

A comeback story.

Marvin Gaye’s rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner.

The smell of freshly mown grass.

An intimate kiss.

Mini-golf.

Climbing a dirt pile.

Watching children at play.

The North Grounds Softball Field at UVA.

The Grotto at ND.

Dusk on the SHC golf course.

Long walks.

Simon and Garfunkel.

An original 7-11 Icee (Cola).

Flipping baseball cards.

Red licorice.

Drying tears.

The Little Engine That Could.

Watching someone realize a lifelong dream.

A perfect strike.

Writing words that matter.

I’m not suggesting, nor am I naïve enough to believe that any of these “things” offer a permanent respite from the often very real and complex challenges associated with being an adult, a parent and with Life generally.  They do, however, serve as readily available reminders that: there is good and joy in the world; that, at various times, both have been part of my world; and that, chances are, when the storm passes, they will be again.  Why not take a moment then to create your own list and the next time you find yourself looking for something to do or about to board the train to Bitterville, pull out your list, close your eyes, point to a place on it at random – and do that!  I dare you to keep from smiling.

http://tinyurl.com/hy4xom7

*Image credit: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-kcHN9yctdrQ/TeytMGIuFdI/AAAAAAAACv0/_YtjoJURxlc/s1600/woolen+mittens.jpg

 

 

Mattie

Mattie

“She’s very friendly and trusting,” he said, as he paused, Scotch-Tape in hand, to watch me study the homemade Xerox photograph he’d just affixed to a nearby palm tree. “She likes to sit on the front lawn of that house across the street and greet the walkers and joggers as they pass by. I don’t know why she would’ve run away or where she might have gone.” By now, tears had started to form in his eyes and I knew immediately that “Mattie” was more than just a “slim, female cat” to this grown man – and the creator(s) of the signs, who no doubt had sent him out on his mission of love and hope. “I know her,” I said, “I used to walk here all the time – and did for years.  I’ve seen Mattie, even stopped to chat with her, and you’re right, she has a kind spirit and a special heart.  I just started walking again, but I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for her and to let you know if I find her.”  “Thanks,” he replied with a smile, comforted (I convinced myself) that there would be at least one more pair of eyes, albeit a stranger’s, searching for something he (and his family) treasured.

As I continued on my way, it occurred to me that I’ve known lots of “Mattie’s” through the years.  Young and not-so-young women (mostly) with kind and gentle dispositions, eyes wide open to take in the world around them, hearts eager for others to take notice, sensitive, quiet, trusting, often unassuming, who, one day, inexplicably disappeared or went into hiding.  I wondered, as I often do with the two-legged “Mattie’s” I’ve encountered, what it was that made Mattie feel as if the world would somehow be a better place without her sitting proudly in the green grass of that corner lot (day and night), without her ears perking up every time a stranger walked by, without her barely discernible purring intended to let friends and strangers alike know just how grateful she was that they paused long enough to notice and spend time with her – without her smile. Maybe it was all quite unintentional, I thought.  Maybe it started out as curiosity and before she knew it she had forgotten her way home.  Maybe she’d taken ill and decided she didn’t want to be a burden. Or, maybe, someone with ill-intentions had taken advantage of her trust and stolen her or, mistaking her for lost, decided to give her a home.

If only Mattie knew, I thought to myself.  If only she knew that her loved ones were hurriedly plastering her face, her bio, and their contact information on every tree trunk in Coral Gables, desperately hoping someone, anyone might find her and bring her home.  If only she knew how profoundly her sudden disappearance was impacting their lives and just how much they would willingly sacrifice to have her back.  If only she knew that even those of us who never even knew her name, but had grown accustomed to seeing her sitting in the shade on the corner of North Greenway and Casilla, were saddened by her absence and eager to help her find her way home.  “Surely, if she knew she matters so much to so many – that she is cherished, that she is missed – surely if Mattie knew all of this she would want to be found, to come out, to come home . . . wouldn’t she?” I wondered.  And then I thought about the other “Mattie’s” I know and I realized it isn’t and likely never was that simple – that being found, stepping back into the light is far more challenging than those who have never been lost realize.

I typically don’t go on my walks with intention. I prefer, instead, to go out with an open mind and an open heart and let both lead me where they may.  But, at least in the near term, Mattie has changed all of that.  In the weeks to come, finding her and reuniting her with those who love her will be the inspiration and sole purpose of my walks – and there will be more of them because of her.  Who knows, maybe one day she will see me and remember me as someone who once stopped to notice her, as someone who took a moment to care, who is gentle, who she can trust – and she will come out of hiding and take a chance on being found.   It’s really the least I can do – and all I know how to do – that and hope.  Hope that one day, I will turn the corner and there she (and all the other “Mattie’s” in my life) will be – basking in the sunshine, eyes and ears tuned fully to the world around them, content in the knowledge that she is both noticed and loved and that she always has been.  And, “Mattie” if you happen to stumble upon this post, please come home.  Your loved ones are waiting!

http://tinyurl.com/z6ka9ak

Today Can Be Different

BreneBrownQuote.com

No matter how littered the landscape of your yesterdays may be

with brokenness,

with bad choices made despite the best of intentions or a belief, however misplaced, that you “should’ve known” or “could’ve done” better,

with too many missteps and regrets to count,

with guilt borne of a sense that you let yourself or those who love you down,

with unkept promises (yours and others’),

with substance abuse,

with lies told to hide truths you were simply too ashamed or too embarrassed to acknowledge, let alone speak out loud,

with breaches of trust,

with periods of disillusionment, isolation, loneliness and abandonment,

with self-loathing, anger, bitterness and resentment,

with days, weeks, months – maybe even years – when you felt invisible, unwanted, unloved or, worse yet, unworthy of love,

with loss and grief and pain that never seems to take a day off –

TODAY CAN BE DIFFERENT.

Today it can be enough that you’re still standing. You can breathe that in, rest, and resume the fight for you tomorrow.

Today you can entertain the possibility that those who know you best and love you most are right about you – that you are strong, resilient, courageous and worthy.

Today you can decide to stop living small, to step out of the shadows and into the light where you belong – just as you are.

Today you can pull back the curtain and begin letting the world in on one of its best kept secrets: Your authentic self.

Today you can begin to realize that to those who matter most you are not a burden, but cherished beyond measure.

Today you can search for your beauty not in a mirror, but in the imprints you’ve left on hearts grateful for the gift of you.

Today you can decide that you are worth living for, worth fighting for, worth a moment of grace – worthy of forgiveness.

Today you can love you a little more gently, compassionately, gracefully – with gratitude, rather than disdain for what makes you unique.

Today, you can accept an outstretched hand, a warm embrace, a word of affirmation and encouragement- the truth about your worthiness.

Today you can speak your truth – openly and honestly – and trust that in doing so those who love you will not abandon you, but love you more deeply.

Today you can refuse to let a mirrored reflection define you and, instead, seek your truth in the eyes of those who love you.

Today you can treat “you” with the same tenderness, empathy and kindness you so unhesitatingly extend to your best friend.

Today you can muster the courage necessary to take that critical first (or next) step on the road to recovery.

Today you can let grace and love in.

Today you can realize that, while many may have gotten it wrong where loving you is concerned, you don’t have to be one of them.

Today you can love you differently, treat you with the respect your heart is due, and begin honoring her in earnest.

Today you can turn the page, pick up a pen and start writing your comeback story!