"The courage to be imperfect" I got this quote from a TED talk by Brene Brown, which KALIGIRL blogged about a while back. The talk is amazing. Here's the link, if you're interested.
Brown talks about vulnerability, and her research points to the idea that embracing one's vulnerability can reduce feelings of shame. And shame, she contends, is the most powerful disruptor of connection.
And connection, my dear Sparkfriends, is what I want above all else.
Brown calls it "a strong sense of love and belonging."
What else do I want? Autonomy. I don't think it's contradictory to strive both for autonomy and for connection. They're not opposites or mutually exclusive. Autonomy is the freedom to choose your own direction; I choose connection as my direction.
I've also been thinking about intimacy lately. I got this quote from another of KALIGIRL's blogs, in which she quoted Dean Ornish as saying "Intimacy is healing."
I'm healing my old fat-girl wounds. Of course, we're all healing, all the time. That's what makes our bodies living miracles. Processes are occurring in our cells at rates of millions of times per second; tiny protein machines are being built so that they in turn can build our bodies anew. We are intricate, complex and self-repairing. But the healing I'm doing is beyond the physical, though it stems from physical changes.
When I see myself in the mirror, I can't believe the changes in my body. Yet I'm still quite overweight! And I'm glad about that, because I need time to deal with the changes I'm undergoing. Sometimes I get checked out on the street now! It weirds me out! I don't know how to cope with it…yet. Guess I'll have to learn, because it may happen more as I get fitter (and more confident, because I think that's what people are really drawn to!) Other people are seeing me differently, and I'm trying to learn to see myself differently too.
The healing I'm doing is from chronic wounds in my self-perception. I didn't see myself clearly for many years. I saw myself through a lens of self-loathing and perfectionism. I could never measure up to what I thought I should be. Intimacy is helping with the healing.
What is intimacy? What does it feel like? I'm not talking about sexual intimacy; I'm referring to the platonic, heartfelt kind. I think intimacy arises when we let our authentic selves shine. I'm so lucky to have wonderful intimate relationships with friends and family. Some of my friends have been in my life so long that they now ARE family. It's a great gift to be with someone who feels free to be completely real -- no filters, no crap, just being their authentic self. When two people can let their guards down and let themselves be known, that's true friendship.
These days I'm focusing on intimacy with myself. I'm learning to embrace my vulnerability, to accept the things about myself that I used to feel ashamed of.
If I get lonely, I call a friend. No more medicating the pain with food.
If I get tired, I take a nap. No more caffeine and telling myself I should have more energy.
If I get hungry, I eat. I now feel my hunger and fullness cues. That took some time, but it's so amazingly helpful. Can't believe I went so long without knowing when I needed to eat and when I should stop!
If I get sad, I ask myself what I need. A cry? A hot bath? A little lie-down? (That's what my mom calls naps!) Maybe some journalling or a walk with my iPod? Support? Whatever I need, I give it to myself.
Paying attention to my needs is a kind and caring thing to do. I think the healing journey can be summed up like this: I got to know myself. Self-knowledge was necessary to attain self-acceptance. When I truly accepted my beautiful, flawed self, I got genuine self-esteem and became self-confident.
Years ago I had this friend with incredibly low self-esteem. She'd had counsellors and therapists trying to help her with it, and she told me she felt like they were beating her up about it. She said "I'm getting low self-esteem about my lack of self-esteem!"
Self-esteem doesn't come from out of the blue. It comes from truly knowing and accepting yourself. It comes from having an intimate relationship with yourself!
I got to know myself, trust and like myself, and now the sky's the limit!!!!
As a bonus, through this process I've become a lot more accepting of others too.
When I get overwhelmed and distraught, anxious and despairing, I tell myself: I'm alive, and that's enough. I don't have to be anything. I'll just keep breathing. That's enough. I'm enough. I. AM. ENOUGH.
To sum up, I'll paraphrase Brene Brown: believe that what makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful.