Monday, September 10, 2012

Who I Should and Shouldn't Be

There's a girl woman in my life that I've been comparing myself to lately/again.  There's a lot of things that go into the backstory of why, but in essence I think it's because she's maybe what I hoped I'd be at this point in my life.  And I'm not.

She's feminine and soft and emotional and compassionate.  She drinks tea and does yoga and goes on meditation retreats and gardens.  She's folksy meets bohemian meets hipster.  She writes poetry and reads books about natural health and foods.  She loves to cook and she teaches and she has this personality that just screams, "Let me nurture you!"

She was ready, at a whole year younger than I am now, to get married and have her first child.

And I've been struggling with these comparisons.  Because I'm not sure I'm any of those things, but I think I should be.  I think, for some reason -- even though I know better -- that as a woman, those are the things I should be.

Instead, I'm not overly feminine, I'm rough around the edges, I struggle to allow myself to actually feel my emotions, and I worry that this well of compassion I used to see in myself has somehow been exhausted.  I hate tea because it has no flavor.  I can't bring myself to rest or quiet enough to practice yoga or to meditate.  And I've been trying to think of ways to kill my garden lately because of all the zucchini.  I don't know what my style is, I can't write poetry to save my life anymore, and I read romance novels instead of books on alternative health.  I think making an egg salad sandwich is a totally legit form of "cooking," and I'm not sure I have the patience or empathy to be nurturing.

But I recognize two things here: 1) None of these things are forever.  They can always be changed.  I can be whoever I want to be.  And 2) I've been concentrating so much on the ways that I find myself lacking lately, and this too is something I have the power to change.

They talk about self-love a lot over at Stratejoy, and one of big things mentioned is that self-love is a practice.  It's not something you decide to do one day and, BOOM!, all of sudden you wanna spend all day kissing yourself.  Self-love is something you work at.  It's the daily mantra reminding yourself that, "You are Enough."  It's the time taken out of a busy schedule to sit somewhere quiet and breathe.  It's the run through the woods in the early morning, or the bubble bath at the end of a long day.  It's the journal entry that helps to clear the mind, or the piece of chocolate before bed.  It's growing in the knowledge that being and loving yourself is the first step toward authentically showing up in your life.

See?  I know all these things.  I'm not a dumb person.  But the practice of it is so much easier said than done.  Still, I'm going to give it a go.  I'm going to try my hand at the things I've wanted to do but have never really given a fair shot, even though I beat myself up for not doing it them -- vicious, vicious cycle.  Things like yoga, and maybe meditation.  Natural health.  Allowing myself to feel my emotions as they come, rather than keeping them in to "deal" with them later.  Being vulnerable (one of the values I identified while working through the Joy Equation).  Trying to find the joy in cooking, because I know it must be in there somewhere.

And I'm going to try to tell myself that, regardless of whether those things become habits, who I am is okay.  I'm going to try to tell myself that the only person I should be is whoever I feel like being at a particular moment. 

I'm really going to try to stop comparing myself to others.

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