So, I just turned 24
My daughter just turned 2
I’m on the last leg of my Master’s program…
Life is flying at lightning speed.
And I finally realized something.
I preach and preach and preach about being real, authentic, genuine, and vulnerable…but I have stopped being all those things.
I had one life altering event that forced me to be vulnerable, but I pretty much stopped there. It was powerful, yes, life-changing and life-saving even….but then I stopped being real again.
Old habits die hard, and I’m a perfectionist. Possibly the worst disease anyone can have….because it kills you from the inside out, it sets you up for never-ending failure, and it makes you snippy, exhausted, and overwhelmed.
So after my surprise pregnancy, and conversion of heart to cancel my abortion and parent my gorgeous daughter….I was on a “vulnerability” high.
I preached that being real and raw is the best way find connection, love, and support that gets you through life.
I told dozens of girls that come through our crisis pregnancy center that.
I told clients in my counseling practicums and internships this.
I thought I understood what it meant to be “authentic”.
But then my perfectionism crept back in…and I started to fear exposing my struggles and imperfections yet again.
I got tired, overwhelmed, and snippy….the first signs of burnout.
So, something had to be done and coincidentally (not really, more like God’s perfect timing) I saw a video on vulnerability and whole-hearted living.
Exactly what I needed.
You see…I thought I was off the hook because I was oh so vulnerable about my pregnancy story. But that’s not how it works. Being real and authentic is a way of life, and you don’t get to just be vulnerable once and call it good.
So..I struggle with being vulnerable, because as I mentioned time and time again…I’m a perfectionist, and letting anyone see my weaknesses and brokenness is one of the most terrifying and anxiety provoking things to me.
But here I am…in a very “vulnerable-driven” career path, forced to look at human brokenness and suffering….and I ironically run away, no, more like sprint away from my own brokenness.
But this life of running and failing to be “real” and to heal and grow from my brokenness has taken it’s toll on me.
I feel disconnected, and lacking in joy.
When I listened to Brene’s talk on “Vulnerability” (She has studied Vulnerability and Shame for years!) she said that in order for us to have connection…we have to allow our true selves to be seen. We have to be excruciatingly vulnerable.
Because vulnerability is birthplace of courage, joy, belonging, and love.
My birthday was last week…and I always get to thinking about who I am and where I’m going around my birthday.
So, along with being more “present” in my life (see my 365 Days of Presence Project), I decided to really take my own advice and embrace being vulnerable and imperfect and real and messy…and to love that about myself.
“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do” -Brene Brown
I feel like since I have made myself a public speaker/figure, and I preach and preach about being real..you all deserve the “realness” from me. This keeps me grounded and humble and forces me to not get sucked into perfectionism.
So here’s my story….continued….
After I gave birth and became a mom…I kind of rode the testimony train of the whole pregnancy and birth decision. I decided “that was my story and I’m sticking to it”
But life continues…struggles continue….brokenness continues…
Since then, my relationship with my daughter’s father affected me, I entered into an engagement, and then I got unengaged…and I still suffer from the repercussions of my promiscuous lifestyle I used to live.
In short…I’m hurt, and hurting.
I’ve been disrespected
I’ve had my share of feeling unwanted and unworthy of love
And I’m trying to heal.
That’s the truth.
Being a young mom constantly makes me feel like I have to prove my competence, my worth, and my abilities to be a good mother.
Being a single mom constantly makes me insecure about the ability to give my daughter a father in her life and if a man will ever want me.
Being a future school counselor constantly forces me to see the brokenness that children experience.
I now see how starved the world is for love…and how starved I am for love.
But what I finally realized is that I need to love myself.
I have so many people that love me…and I’ve been working on openly receiving that more, but I need to learn how to love myself. Because it finally “clicked” that I can’t receive other peoples love and care if I don’t think I deserve it….and I might finally think I deserve other people’s love if I can finally love myself first. If I can see myself as God does, I might be able to love myself like he does, and consequently give and receive love better in all my relationships.
And the first step for me is being vulnerable and real about this struggle, laying it down at the cross…and then going from there.
It’s really hard for a perfectionist to love her/himself…but that’s my goal.
Thanks for letting me be real and seeing me as I am.
Here’s to wholehearted living:
“Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. Its going to bed at night thinking, yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging”
-Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection