I have been reading a book this week, Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton. It is the personal story of a woman who decided to hide no longer. At the age of eight, Glennon developed bulimia. As she grew older she added alcohol and drugs to her list of coping mechanisms. This life was hidden from the people who loved her most. When she found herself unmarried and pregnant she decided that her life had to change. Glennon went on to marry, have three children, and defeat her addictions, but she found that people often saw her as “having it all together” when she knew the real truth about her story. Glennon was compelled to tell the truth and in doing so she has changed the lives of many and ignited a social movement. This quote is taken from the book description on Amazon, “Melton is a courageous truth-teller and hopespreader, a wise and witty friend who emboldens us to believe in ourselves and reminds us that the journey is the reward. Carry On, Warrior proves that by shedding our weapons and armor, we can stop hiding, competing, and striving for the mirage of perfection, to build better lives in our hearts, homes, and communities.”
Glennon’s story has made me think a lot about how we humans hide. So much of our energy meant for living is consumed trying to convince ourselves and others that we are something more or better than we really believe ourselves to be. I think a lot of the time we don’t even know we do it. But what if people felt safe to just be themselves? No masks, no makeup (Ok, only if you want to), no plastic surgeries and drastic diets, no pressure to be sexy or sporty or successful – just free to show up and be yourself. That would be amazing, but I think the real problem is not as much our fear of what others think of us, but what we think of ourselves. Deep down, most of us don’t like ourselves. Most of us have some level of concern about what others think of us and that distracts us from the deeper issue. Most of all we fear knowing our real selves. We are afraid to find out what we lack, or how we don’t measure up to our own definition of what we should be. This fear underlies how we feel about everything.
This is my suspicion – we never spend enough time really getting to know ourselves, so how can we like who we are? For example, can you tell me quickly three things you like about yourself? And, begin… Funny thing, most people can’t. They can tell you all about their favorite actor or sports figure but nothing about themselves. This whole discussion brings to mind a poem that I love by Oriah called The Invitation.
Please read it slowly and think about what she is saying:
|It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.It doesn’t interest me how old you are
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for your dreams
for the adventure of being alive.It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon…
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shriveled and closed
from fear of further pain.I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your
fingers and toes
without cautioning us to
to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
I want to know if you can see Beauty
I want to know if you can live with failure
It doesn’t interest me
It doesn’t interest me who you know
It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom
I want to know if you can be alone
Powerful thoughts that stir such a depth of knowing. If Oriah asked you these questions, could you answer them? Do you know your answers?
This week I want to Invite you to think about your answers – for Goodness sake. I am personally reckoning with how I really feel about myself, and I want to encourage you to join me in this exploration. I think we are worth the effort of knowing better – don’t you?
Let me know what you are seeing about yourself. Comment below and I will respond with my own revelations.
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