First things first. I know I had said that I would post a Brene Brown session soon after my last update, but I have no doubt that you’ll all accept the spectacular reason for my delay…
The birth of Jeanne’s daughter, Eliana!
I am officially the besotted aunt of my twin’s first child. She was born a week early and is a whole 4 days old today. So here I am blogging in a patch of sunlight next to the little bundle of joy while Jeanne catches up on some sleep. Right, so where were we…
I had started the process of developing critical awareness and getting the big picture on where the messages that break me down come from. The next step is to take my shame triggers and put them against the big picture I’ve seen and ask myself the following questions:
1. How realistic are my expectations
2. Can I be all these things all of the time
3. Do the expectations conflict with each other
4. Am I describing who I want to be or what others want me to be
5. If someone perceives me as having these unwanted identities, what will happen
6. Can I control how others perceive me? How do I try?
In order not to overwhelm myself or you, I’ll answer the first three questions now and the next three in my next session.
(1) How realistic are my expectations?
Seeing as I’m trying to be perfect, the obvious answer is ‘unrealistic, bordering on insane’.
However our minds and emotions are uber complex and don’t allow us the freedom of ‘the obvious’. In truth a big part of me believes that it IS achievable. You see, the problem is that I have a very sneaky psyche. It doesn’t stomp around in the realm of the ridiculous where I can easily call it on mistakes and put it in its place. Instead it puts on the silky slippers of brokenness and tip-toes in the grey mists that lie between the realms of logic and deception.
For example. I’m smart enough not to try to look like a 20-year-old supermodel with the heart of Mother Theresa. I do however have in my minds eye a toned, tanned thirty-something year old mother of two who always looks like she’s just stepped out of a salon. She’s kind, loving and generous; fun, funky and feisty. She has her bad moments but triumphs over them in perfect wisdom and self-control.
So I subconsciously ask myself the question, if I worked hard enough could I be:
Warm hearted? A lot more of the time
Feisty spirited? The other half of the time
Because of this surface level belief, I have a constant running dialogue in my head judging my every word, thought and action. ‘I didn’t really need to eat that.’ ‘I shouldn’t have worn this.’ ‘I shouldn’t have reacted like that.’ ‘I should work harder on this.’ And when I say constant I mean constant. Unless I’m asleep or distracted by something very engaging or exceedingly positive, some part of my body or conduct will be under merciless scrutiny.
The point that Brene Brown has made though, is not to stop there, but to put my answers up against a bigger picture. That bigger picture came to me one day not so long again through a question my wise and loving husband asked me: “At what cost does all of this come?”
“Well,” I answered “if I gym more and eat better, tan and take more time to dress in the mornings then I’ll be halfway there. And in order to be a nicer person and have more ‘oomf’ to my personality I just need try harder and to create time to reconnect with myself and rejuvinate. Easy peasy.”
“How much gymming will it take to get the body you think you should have? How much time and energy is it going to take to tan, rejuvinate and re-energise? “
“A heck of a lot.” I conceded.
“And where do the kids and I fit into all of this? What about your blogging, your friends and life in general?”
Dammit. I had to admit that he had me there. You see, it just took a slightly bigger picture for me to realise that although I could in theory achieve my (warped) goals, it would come at a cost something far more dear to me: my relationships.
See how important critical awareness and a bigger picture on things are.
In my long-winded answer I’ve managed to answer questions 2 and 3 as well:
2. Can I be all these things all of the time? No, because in order to give my children the attention they need I’ll sometimes leave the house in my tracksuit and my hair barely brushed. And although I may slowly over time work on my body to get it to its healthiest state, I won’t be tanned and toned in the near future. And I’m just going to have to accept that I’m human and apart from trying my best and applying my faith; I’m going to snap, snarl and falter as I walk this path called life.
3. Do the expectations conflict with each other? Not if looked at on their own. However, just be putting them against the backdrop of others in my life, I suddenly see that if lived out as priorities they become direct competitors to each other as well as all I actually hold much more dear to me.
Wow, that was a mouth-full! Next time I’ll answer questions 4 – 6. Back to little Eliana now who needs to be woken for her next feed.