Monday, December 12, 2016

You were born worthy

I think midlife is when the universe gently places her hands upon your shoulders, pulls you close, and whispers in your ear:
I’m not screwing around. It’s time. All of this pretending and performing – these coping mechanisms that you’ve developed to protect yourself from feeling inadequate and getting hurt – has to go.

Your armor is preventing you from growing into your gifts. I understand that you needed these protections when you were small. I understand that you believed your armor could help you secure all of the things you needed to feel worthy of love and belonging, but you’re still searching and you’re more lost than ever.
Time is growing short. There are unexplored adventures ahead of you. You can’t live the rest of your life worried about what other people think. You were born worthy of love and belonging. Courage and daring are coursing through you. You were made to live and love with your whole heart. It’s time to show up and be seen. ~ Bren√© Brown

I hike most mornings with a friend whose marriage is on shaky ground. No affairs. Just a husband who has long avoided childhood issues (sexual abuse, the refusal of his parents to acknowledge it) and who has made his wife the lightning rod for everything that's wrong in his life. The good news is she and her husband have both – finally – found a therapist they each like. The bad news, I told her, is that it's likely to get a lot worse before it gets better. Why? she asked. Well, I explained. It's like when you have a nagging headache but you're distracted by other things and not really paying attention. But when you finally acknowledge that your head is throbbing, suddenly you can think of nothing BUT your headache. It's excruciating. It's pounding. Why won't it go away.
Yep, that's what the beginning of therapy can feel like. You're finally acknowledging the pain. The emptiness. The throb of loneliness. And you can hardly think of anything else.
Like most of us, she wants to do something. She wants things better. Now. She wants him to stop being cruel to her. She wants him to realize how lucky he is to have her. She's afraid that he's going to fool this therapist into believing he's the good guy and she's the problem.
So I gave her something to do. Take care of yourself, I told her. Be kind to yourself. Be gentle.
She's a cancer survivor. Someone who still deals with issues around her medications, someone who looked death square in the eye and said 'not today, buddy'.
She's strong. And loyal. And kind.
It goes against her nature to stop trying to make things better. It goes against her nature to put herself first. It feels...wrong.
But it's not. There isn't a more right thing to do than to take care of ourselves. To be kind to ourselves. To be gentle. Because from that well of self-love and self-care, we find what we need to be our best selves out in the world.
It will feel awful, I told her. You will fail many times. But if you manage to focus on self-care just one in ten times, instead of trying to fix someone else, instead of trying to change other people, then that's one time more than usual. 
And, with practice, it will get easier. It will begin to feel...good. You will notice that the world feels more manageable. When we stop trying to control everything around us, it frees us to control the only thing we've ever been able to control. Us. 
When we stop, as Brené Brown says, worrying about what others think of us, we realize something we knew all along: That we are worthy of love and belonging. We always have been. There's nothing about a partner's betrayal that changes that. It never will.
Start where it matters: Within your own heart.
Get ready to be seen in your full glory.
Because, my dear betrayed warrior sisters, adventures await.

15 comments:

  1. Between this post and Still Standing's urge to get out of limbo in the "separating"
    Forum , I am energized tonight. Thanks Elle!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Energized is good. And I suspect that when you get energized, Steam, there will be no stopping you.

      Delete
    2. I'm baking Christmas cookies! My favorite to give and eat! Wish I could share the platter with everyone here! I pack in extra magic this time of year!

      Delete
  2. It's very hard to feel worthy sometimes. A lot of the time since D day. I'm just a few months into this new club.....it's hard.....it's lonely even on the good days...... It's helpful to know there is support out there. Thank you fellow love warriors.Namaste.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous
      It's very hard and lonely in the first months! It's even hard sometimes for those of us a couple of years in. I'm hoping you have at least begun therapy. It really helps with our self esteem issues post dday. Hugs!

      Delete
    2. Thank you. I have begun therapy, which itself is scary and hard. Some days I question why I am willing to do so much work to get back what he threw away. This blog and the kind words and raw emotion everyone shares is very comforting, because although I feel like I am carrying this huge secret I know there are others out there who know sadly exactly how I feel.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous, Therapy can be scary. But it can also open the door to your deepest self. It's something you can do for you...to rediscover yourself apart from him. To get clear on what you really want going forward. It's not so much about saving your marriage as it is about rebuilding it, if that's what you choose to do.

      Delete
  3. Absolutely lovely and resonant with the mental self-care exercises I've been doing to help restore a feeling of self-worth. I went to the doctor today for a check up and discovered that I have quite a severe ear infection that needs strong antibiotics. I was making the best of things and ploughing on, not realising that the long term niggle was sapping my energy and was something that needed treatment. Mentally I may have to find the courage to address long running challenges in a more robust way. Tomorrow I am getting my eyes retested for new glasses and on Thursday I have a hair appointment. It's a new and good feeling to be so focussed on self-care. Thanks for your great words today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fragments, Tiny steps. But you're taking care of yourself and that's a really positive thing. Self-care isn't just about bubble baths and manicures. It's about treating yourself with care and respect. Tending to yourself.

      Delete
  4. Anonymous,
    I find it hard to feel worthy and I feel lonely too sometimes. I'm 9 months in. Sometimes it helps me to get outside and be with nature for a bit, clear my head, and imagine myself as my own child. If I were my own parent, I would love me, embrace me, and be proud of me. I've always been a type A go-getter type, and haven't really tried to be kind to myself before. I've been too busy getting things done and being hard on myself to do it. I've started to pay attention to the things I tell myself, and that has helped with the worthiness and loneliness to some extent--basically trying to be my own best friend. It helps me also to know that you have and struggle with these same feelings too. Isn't it interesting how much relief comes when you can read that other people know how you feel? So thank you for that. Onward...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hate that any of us feel this way. I am sad for all of us. Thank you for the nature suggestion. Some days it helps. It helps to know somewhere out there is still hope, that I can continue to grow stronger. I hope.

      Delete
    2. There is relief in knowing that others know how you feel...and that they feel it too. And also relief in knowing they've moved past that pain. It's important to spend some time, after such a deep betrayal, to just taking care of yourself, as if you're your own child. The go-getting can wait.

      Delete
  5. Here's my funny energized story. H and I are in a sort of limbo out of the country on our annual business/pleasure trip. I realized I have been waiting for him to make some sort of move-physical or emotional and it just was not coming and I'm sick of being the instigator. So yesterday, energized to get on with my own life it was pouring rain. Just pouring. All day long. So I grabbed my computer. Took it and two of the dogs into the bedroom, watched some Netflix and took a 3 hour nap. That might not sound like much to anyone but I honestly cannot remember the last time I've done that. 3 hours while a storm raged outside. It was glorious. Today I think I'm going to a fish spa!!! Tee hee!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's a certain glee when we indulge our own desires. Too often we're the "good girls", taking care of everyone else and putting our needs and wants aside. To practice self-care can feel almost naughty. I'm glad you're doing exactly that, Steam. I suspect you're the better for it.

      Delete
    2. Steam
      I'm hoping it's the fish spa I saw on tv! I thought it would be so much fun! Naps are indeed the bomb that fuels me through the tough days!

      Delete

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails