After many difficult months, I am starting to feel like my feet are settling back underneath me.
I feel a new-found sense of quiet in my mind. I’m sleeping better. I’m taking on each day with more confidence, more clarity, and more acceptance of whatever might come along.
It’s one that I have *long* rolled my eyes at, believing it to be woo-woo bullshit that’s full of warm fuzzies but not a lot of substance. And I was wrong about that.
I am finally learning to “live my truth” as many people would term it.
To communicate clearly and directly, even when my voice shakes. Ask for what I need and want. Follow my heart and pursue things that make me happy and fulfilled.
Taking care of myself, asking myself regularly what I need in that moment. From a glass of water to a change of scenery.
Allowing myself to feel, to sink into my own emotions and experience them, even if I don’t think they’re the “right” things to feel.
Not avoiding difficult things, but rather facing them head on so I know that I’m doing everything I can do work with them (vs laying awake at night in fear of the other shoe that will drop thanks to my inaction).
Trying things that seem a little outrageous but feel like they have potential, from weightlifting to rescuing nutty dogs to building something for my business that I feel totally unqualified or unready to do (but doing it anyway).
I’ve long thought this whole idea of “being yourself” was kind of a joke. Elusive, even.
Because my single biggest weakness is that I have never believed that my SELF was worthy. Was good enough. Was valuable or interesting. I’ve never really been good at accepting the perpetual work in progress that is my identity and my life, instead trying to wait until I “had it together” in order to put myself out into the world.
A series of really difficult realities – personal health and relationships, family, financial, professional – has been what my friend Elysa’s mom calls The Cosmic 2×4.
Sometimes, the universe whispers to you gently, and you get this gentle tug in a particular direction only to have that tingly little a-ha moment.
Other times, you’re me. And you may have gotten lots of whispers but you’re being deaf through sheer force of will, ignorance, or simply letting that whisper get drowned out in all the times you’re yelling at yourself.
Which means the universe has to pick up a BIG FREAKING STICK and whack you hard upside the head — maybe more than once — and shout “HEY I NEED TO TALK TO YOU ARE YOU LISTENING NOW BECAUSE THIS IS IMPORTANT”.
I think I’m finally listening.
The truth is that the first thing that matters right now is learning to give myself grace.
That doesn’t mean not taking responsibility or being accountable.
But it means saying sometimes “Yep, I could have done that better. Now I know, and now I’ll do it differently.”
Or saying “I made the best decision I knew how to make with the information, experience, and feelings I had at the time.”
And accepting those facts without lingering and belligerent, pummeling judgment for them.
The second piece is getting in tune with who I really am, which strangely enough, I haven’t done so well. So I’m trying to be really present in my days and moments, sit in my thoughts and feelings when I feel them, listen to my intuition and my heart.
(Don’t worry, you’re not in danger of me going all crystals and candles and incense on you (though if that’s your thing, I’m all about it). Given my nature, it’s very unlikely that I’ll err in the opposite direction of where I’ve been.)
The third bit? Embracing happy. In little things. Showing and finding gratitude even in the middle of a disaster.
I used to think Oprah and her gratitude stuff was a bunch of talk-show fluff. I also used to think that being outwardly happy in part would mean that people would ignore me because I didn’t need attending to. “Hey, she’s doing great! We’ll just let her be because clearly she doesn’t need us.” (Many a therapy session has been devoted to THAT little realization).
But as I’ve consciously taken time to figure out what I *am* thankful for – no matter how gritty it may be – I’m finding it immensely helpful to giving me the perspective that I have a tendency to lose too easily. And I’m enjoying just learning that it’s okay to be happy. That it doesn’t mean I’m ignoring the realities of my life or anyone else’s. That it doesn’t mean I’m ignorant to reality in general. That a happy Amber isn’t a blissfully ignorant one, it’s just someone who can find the beauty in things as well as the struggles.
(Want a little thing to try? One of my favorite new discoveries is an app called Happier. If you’re an online nerd like I am, it’s a fun glimpse into small moments of happy and a refreshing change from the culture of snark, criticism and cynicism that the web can heap on you on other social networks.)
If you’re struggling to live YOUR truth, you aren’t alone.
I wrote this mostly for you to know that.
Because it’s a process. An experience. Not something you ever really achieve. It’s more like an approach and a state of mind than it is a destination. (Boy, did I have that wrong for a while).
So take it from me, one of the most grizzled, pessimistic and potentially cranky people you can possibly know.
You want to “lean in” to something? Lean into yourself. Into the substance of who you really are, warts and all. Roll around in it. Learn it better than you learn anything else. Quit looking for answers, validation, and approval elsewhere.
Because as far as I know, we get one spin on this rock. I’m kind of tired of my ride being dictated by anyone or anything other than my true, unadulterated self. My daughter deserves to know how important that is, because it’s important to me that she see the value in that long before I ever did.
What do you say? Want to come along?