I find myself sitting in the chair in my front room pondering what I see in my future. I want so much to feel confident; healthy, productive, grateful and graceful, beautiful. Helpful. Peaceful, HOPE full.
I want to be a strong, confident woman. I see a woman who has poise and gentleness, yet is bold and persevering.
Yet this week as I've laid on the sofa a lot, I have felt none of those. I have felt weak, tired, messy. I've wondered if I could ever be that other woman. I've had moments of doubt, confusion and discouragement; times when I only felt desperate. How can I ever be a strong, confident woman when I keep floundering in moments of discouragement and sadness?
But today I am taking time to ponder what I've heard this week from just listening, from forcing myself not to let my thoughts take me to despair or to deciding to quit - again for the umpteenth time, to feel like I wasn't good enough.
Here's what I heard.
Show up Real!
Recognize that your weaknesses and your faults are part of your beauty, they are part of what makes you real.
Own the whole story of you.
Own the good and the bad.
Own the emotional as well as - I was going to say stable- but it's not that emotions are always unstable. It's that they make me feel movement and energy. Sometimes that can be scary. Sometimes it can make me feel as if I'm walking on a tightrope or the edge of a rickety bridge hanging over a deep ravine. If I take a misstep I'll fall.
It's the fall I fear, because there's no control in the fall. There's only control in the step and even then I can't always control it.
The hard thing is to embrace both. To embrace those moments I feel like I am in the exact right place at the right time with the right stuff. I am confident and courageous. And at the same time embrace the moments where I feel like I'm nowhere with nothing and I don't know what to do next. Embracing both is what is hard. It is where I get stuck time after time.
But what I'm sensing is that it's that tension, or learning to live in that tension, where we learn to be confident. When we can know we are OK because we are the right person at the right place at the right time with the right stuff , even as we know we are OK when we're not. That's when confidence comes. It's not always knowing exactly what to do next. It's not always being courageous in that step or knowing exactly how it will look at the other end.
It's showing up OK even if we might fall.
That's the struggle. That's the tension. That's messy. But it is real.
Leisha's death made me very aware of that tension. When I experienced a 'fall' before she died, I continued to have hope (if hope is the right word) that I could do what I needed to do to "make this better".
I could somewhat control the next step.
I could choose wiser.
I could say no to things that hurt me.
But after Leisha died I was keenly aware that there was no control, there was no next step. There seemed to be no choice.
Oh that's not true. We always have a choice. We can't control the circumstance or the other person's behavior that might hurt us, but we can choose how we will respond. That choice- that response- is tied to our confidence.
We can be afraid of what we can't control
Afraid of what isn't or what is
Afraid of what has been or what will be
We can be afraid to step
Afraid to stop
Afraid to feel
Afraid to question
So we don’t.
We work frantically
We blame others
We play victim
We get lost in others
We distance ourselves from others
We become addicted, obsessed, consumed
Insert yours here
Watching movies about other peoples lives because we are afraid we cannot be confident in our own.
That is breath
That is life.
Where there is life, yes, there is tension; yes, there is struggle; yes, there are moments when you are messy and uncomfortable. Yes!
But there are also moments when you are the exact right person at the right time, right place, with the right stuff.
What if instead of picking and choosing which moments make us feel confident
We accept them all
What if we accept them all as being part of who we are. Part of what makes up that remarkable woman who is strong, confident, beautiful, grateful and graceful, hopeful.
Because without those times of challenge- we would not know we were able to overcome, to persevere,
or be confident.