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Weekly Affirmation: I am kind to myself. I am aware. I am understanding. I am willing to listen.
Today, I played Q&D with Joe (question and discussion). We had a blast, and we hope you do, too.
Q: If our pain and vulnerability connects us, which I think both Amy and Dayna did a great job of pointing out, why do you think we don’t share it? How do we know when it’s the right time for us?
There are actually quite a few things I contemplate sharing on the podcast or on social media that I end up holding back. I don’t always like to talk about what I’m smack in the middle of, and yet when Amy came on, she said, I came into this episode not really being out of this situation yet or having a solve, and that was really comforting to me. So I’ve started to ask myself – is it just because I don’t have a solution? Or is it because I’m trying to protect myself and my family as I go through this process?
That’s another thing, is I usually don’t share what someone else is involved in, to be respectful to my family. There are a lot of things – mental health wise and blended family wise – that we steer clear on for privacy. And a lot of that is platform, too, because I’m not going to air certain things online, that I will share one-one-one when I feel like it could benefit someone I’m having a conversation with.
The other thing I thought of is trust. It’s okay to want to make sure there is trust there. Brene Brown says that when we share without a foundation of trust, or try to skip that step, it’s not necessarily vulnerability, but can actually lead to disconnection.
Q: Amy also talked about comparison. One thing I often hear about comparison is to curate your social media feed and who you follow. I do think that makes a huge difference, but I also find myself comparing when it has nothing to do with someone else. Most of the people I follow make an effort to show messy houses, normal bodies, and motherhood struggles. How do we actually stop comparing, rather than just eliminate everything in our lives that we compare to?
It’s almost more of an internal thing. When we judge, we judge others, not just ourselves. So many times we say, I want to be kind, everyone is doing their best and that’s enough – but not for me. We sneak in this disclaimer. So it helps me to tell myself – not only, talk to yourself like you would talk to a friend, but also – pretty soon, I will start thinking about my friends like I think about myself. So if I believe in grace, I have to go for it. That doesn’t mean I always love myself perfectly. But I can give myself grace AND want to grow.
Q: Something Allie said was, it’s okay to be angry, it’s okay to be sad, but don’t stay there. So, how do you know when you’ve felt your feelings? Is there a “move on” line? Can you feel upset and still get back up, or does that emotion halt your ability to move forward?
I think paying attention to how I feel and how I want to feel helps. Like Dayna said, there are some things you don’t ever stop grieving for. But also, how do I want to feel? Because I don’t always like the place that I find myself in. I think it’s important to expose ourselves to discomfort now and again, but if I’m miserable, I don’t want to be miserable anymore. So, what can I do about that? And then really taking that question to heart – what is the smallest baby step that I feel able to take, and what would work for me personally? Not – what do other people think I should do to “move on”? But what can I do?
The other thing I promised I would share this season is just a few of the ways I try to evaluate myself and others with grace.
For me, the biggest thing is awareness. I don’t always catch a negative thought and say – okay, here are three things I love about me instead. But I’ve gotten better at catching a thought and saying… huh. I just thought… that I’m a bad mom or that I’m never going to reach my goals or that I keep screwing up and it’s inevitable… And then, that pause gives me a minute to evaluate. Is it true?
When it’s thoughts about others, I’ve realized that a lot of the time it’s out of self-protection. I think – gah! He never does this the way that I want or she is the worst! When really – this hurts. And instead of recognizing that I feel hurt, I jump straight to blame. So I think being aware of the exact emotion you feel, rather than just thinking judgmental thoughts, can be really important.
Or even if you’re comparing you might feel jealous and angry, but it’s not always on someone else. It’s your responsibility to figure out why. What is really behind the way I feel toward this person?
And sometimes, there’s not always an easy fix. They always say, you can’t change someone else, you can only change yourself. But that isn’t easy.
The two tools that I use in this case are: empathy – allow myself to at least say why do they feel this way? That doesn’t mean I have to agree, but I can recognize how their own experiences have led them to that point.
Also, prayer. At some point you just have to give it God and say, I’m doing my best. Here is what I need or hope. Can You help? And for me, when I get mad, I get mad. Ask Joe, or my brothers, or pretty much anyone who really knows me and they will tell you that haha. And the way that I get over it is to talk it out with whoever made me upset. I want them to understand me!
But if that’s not an option, or if talking about it would make things worse rather than be helpful, I just have to pray to let go of that anger and not carry it with me.
I do this with people-pleasing, too. Please help me to stop caring so much about what other people think.
Because I’ve tried every tool in the toolbook when it comes to people-pleasing. I know what I can control and what I can’t. I know who I am. But, if someone else doesn’t, I can’t do anything about that. And letting that go is kind of that final step.
Third, knowing my why – how much I value grace. Do I actually believe it? Am I willing to live it?
- prayer, and
- knowing your why.
Journal Prompt: Make a list of the things that you are solid on – the things that you know. It’s empowering to recognize what we’ve learned over the years and what we stand for, and it helps us give more grace to others because we don’t need external agreement or validation to know those things. So, we are better equipped to let go.
Homework! If a specific situation came to mind as you listened today, think about the next baby step that you can do (not should do), and do that.
10 Ways to Connect and Evaluate with Grace (Rather than Judgement):
- Don’t skip trust levels. When it comes to vulnerability vs. over-sharing, make sure that trust is there.
- Don’t be vulnerable out of a place of virtue-signaling. Think about who you want to connect with, how you can help, and why that matters to you.
- Platform and season matter. If you need to protect yourself or the privacy of the people in your life, do that.
- When we judge, we judge others and ourselves. It’s a two-sided coin.
- Pay attention to how you feel AND how you want to feel. You can feel something hard and still not want to stay there.
- Don’t worry about what you should do or what’s expected of you. Ask yourself, what can I do. What is the next right thing for me?
- Give yourself the space to be aware of what you’re actually feeling (projection, self-protection, hurt…).
- There’s not always an easy fix.
- Having empathy for someone doesn’t mean you have to agree with them. It helps you, too.
- When all else fails, pray.
❤ Jenny and Joe