I was having a particularly rough week recently and needed some balanced ground to the emotional roller coaster I felt I couldn’t get off. So of course, I called my mother. We were talking about how hard it is to overcome our perception of what we think we should be versus just living out what we are able. We carry with us perceptions of what a good friend/wife/mother/sister should be, and it can often trap us into a fear of failure. Some examples:
The truth: Since my mother was able to make us dinner each night as children, I want to do that for my own family as a way to show love and bring us together.
The reality: Some days I am able to make this happen, and on many days, I burn dinner or need to order pizza to make the day work. It’s a part of life where we are at now having little ones and working part time from home.
The lie: I am failing my family because I can’t make them a hot meal.
The truth: I have always been a pretty strong and independent girl from the time I was very young. I was rarely emotional about things before marriage and children.
The reality: I feel things very deeply, and am sensitive by nature. I now tear up all the time, and cry often. When I am happy I tear up (I totally feel you Kristen Bell), I cry when I am hurt or upset, and I angry cry when things get really tough.
The lie: Showing emotion is a weakness. I am not being strong enough or tough enough if I let the sad or angry emotion show through.
The truth: I love order and organization despite my messy art mind. I thrive in a clean environment, so I resolved to have my home clean when Gabe comes home from work so he can relax and enjoy the kids….and maybe have some food on the table (because you know, my love language.)
The reality: I have four little ones. Repeat: I have four little ones. Despite my attempts to pick up after mini tornadoes all day long, it is rare the house is clean when he walks in the door. Sometimes I haven’t opened the fridge to decide what is for dinner either because I just turned in a post deadline while helping my son with his homework also while potty training a two year old.
The lie: I am failing as a wife. (Even though Gabe doesn’t care about a clean house!) I don’t have things under control.
I don’t think we know when exactly these lies form and why we cling to them so tightly, but I can tell you facing them and breaking through those lies are worth the fight. Sometimes I feel like my two year old son making the same mistakes over and over and not quite learning the lesson, but I know the practice of saying the real truth out loud and resolving to practice a positive frame of mind will someday break the habit of giving into it. Just talking it through with my own mother who knows me so well, and who has been through the same battles was so healing for me.
Have you had a similar experience breaking a habit or thought process that is so deeply engrained?
I think it’s important to discuss that as women we cannot be superheroes. It’s actually a beautiful truth that we have both strengths and weaknesses that are different from the person next to us. We can ask for help. We can lean on each other. We can overcome negative perceptions of ourself. We can dig deep and find the root of our struggles and fight to overcome them. I think it can drastically change our happiness in our day to day lives and the way we interact with those around us.