Monday, April 25, 2016

You Do Not Have to Be Good


You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.....

Mary Oliver, from the poem "The Wild Geese"

I have written about Self Care in the past, right?  When talking with other moms I like to soap-box and wax eloquently on this topic.  Yet, it has always been hard for me to do self care!  Perhaps it has been because I have understood Self Care, but not Self Compassion.  For the first time in my adult life I'm beginning to understand that there is such a thing as the Mystery of Self Compassion.
Do you sit and think sometimes that there is such a thing as a "Good Mother"?  Do you spend a large amount of your day trying to figure out ways to achieve the belief that you are included in the rare breed of that title: Good Mom?  Not sure?  Try saying to yourself: "Eryn (your name, not mine;), you are a Good Mom!"

How did that feel?

I'm learning how to sit with that.  To be with that statement, letting it seep into the pores a bit.  But the first time I heard it from another person I cringed.  The first time I said it to myself my body had a reaction- like, "Nuh uh!  That's not truth you crazy!"

What is it about that word that makes it so cringe-worthy?  Good.  You are Good.  Good Mom.  Good Friend.  Good Person.

I think there is an opposing force that we don't ever want to talk about.
This Thing will keep us striving for doing better, trying and trying, hoping against rationale that our circumstances will change and maybe then we will feel better This thing loves to show up the minute things don't go well or according to plan.  This thing, this silent epidemic, will keep us judging each other, then cycling back around to harshly judging ourselves, then back to judging other mothers and women with Comparison; the spiral continues.
It's not just a "bad feeling"; it's a Bad Being type of Thing.

This Thing is called Shame.
Shame is a lie that roots itself so deeply inside that we don't recognize It Is A Lie, like a Cancer that our body doesn't acknowledge so it begins to attack it's true self.  We don't know what is Good or Bad in us when we feel Shame come on.  We don't know what to do or How to be.  We can cope with it, survive with it, but cannot overcome it alone.

So here is my proposition for us women, mothers, friends, daughters, sisters:  Let's stand together against Shame!  Here is the thing about Shame, it's Achilles heel:  It cannot stand to be spoken.

To stand against Shame is to Speak it.
Tell your story..."yours and I will tell you mine".
Let's tell one another, "You do not have to be good!"
You are Good.
You do not have to earn anything by "walk(ing) through the desert on your knees for a hundred miles, repenting"!!
You cannot earn Who You Are

{Now here is where I would insert the following question: "Well you have no idea what I said yesterday to my child....no idea how I yelled.....no clue how mean I was to my husband last night....What if my actions are not good??!?......How can I be good when I do these things??....This is madness talking!  Shut. It. DOWN!"}

In response to this doubter (usually me!) I would say this:  
It. Doesn't. Matter.
I have done that before too. (Hear me!  Yes you... whatever you just thought in your head, I'm sure I have done that before too!)
I have felt that way before too.
Repairing is truly powerful.  And I know you repair well.  Repairing is where the Good Stuff is anyways.
Actions do not define you.  You are youWho you are is who you are.  Valuable, Precious, Destined, Special, The Only You.
The formula for doing things better and feeling better is simply Self Compassion.
The way to get to Self Compassion is to tell your Shame to your trusted people.
Speak your Shame and watch it die.







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