Friday, June 17, 2016

The compassion connection

I've recently started a book study. It's on Brene' Brown's best seller The Gifts of Imperfection. The subtitle is let go of who you think you're supposed to be and embrace who you are. My book group discussed the preface, introduction and chapter one for two hours. Yes, there were some detours and bunny trails followed, but needless to say, there was a lot to cover and pick apart. 

Here are a few of the insights that were particularly thought provoking to me. 

"No matter what gets done or is left undone, I am enough" I want to spray paint this on my walls. It's such a deep truth. So much of who we are is wrapped up in what we do. Western culture is OBSESSED with performance. Our cars, homes, and selves all have to be at top notch in order for us to be worthy. But that's a big fat lie. The truth, we will never ever be enough because someone else is already doing it better or will come along and beat whatever records we have set. So what if instead of living in a place of ranking, we lived in a place of worthiness? We are all worthy to be loved no matter what we do. How would that change the world? If we could look at one another with eyes that shine with acceptance and love?  I think it would be a better place. 

The second thought: "Owning our story can be hard, but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it." As someone who spent over twenty plus years trying to run away from myself, this is a big one for me. I think a lot of time and energy is spent in not acknowledging our pasts. That we are so busy rewriting the past to make it fit into what we wanted it to be that we miss out on the joys of the present. This may be more true for those that have experienced a trauma in their upbringing. But I think we also minimize the hurts from our past. Making them less so we don't appear whiny. But that doesn't make the effect of the hurts any less in ourselves. Ignoring and minimizing hurts creates a breeding ground for shame to grow. Spending emotional energy on burying hurts left me exhausted and unable to care for myself and those I loved. It also kept me from friendships. It's important to take the time to work thru your past. 

The last thought I'm going to share is this: "One of the greatest barriers to connection is the cultural importance we place on 'going it alone'. Somehow we've equated succes with not needing anyone." Again, this is a lie. We all need people. We need people for marriage and for parenting. We need people to tell us I've been there to and I'm sorry this is happening. We need people to challenge us and call us out when we aren't being our best selves. Connection is a necessary part of our development from the beginning of our life. Yes, people hurt us and cause pain that would make it seem easier to not let anyone in, but that leads to an isolated existence that leaves us depleted. 

Those are my big take always today. I would recommend the book and encourage discussion! 

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