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Archive for the ‘tidbits’ Category

New & Improved!

Let Me Be Me is now The Art of Friendship!

Take  a look and see what you think.

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“Tears are words from the heart that can’t be spoken.”

I’ve spent extended time with two close girl friends from my childhood recently. We were in the preschool Sunday School class together.  E and J know me from when I was loud and bossy.  They made fun of me, I made fun of them, we made up.

After church, we spent Sunday afternoons together making movies and inventing new worlds. We graduated from high school at the same time, we got married and now have kids near the same age.

This last week I shared with both of them details about a terrible time in my past, when something happened to me that I cannot recover. I know it means growth in me that I can breach the subject out loud, with someone other than my therapist. I know it means I trust them and that they’re good friends.

In some ways it’s easier to write cryptically on blogs for thousands than to share privately with one friend.  Do you know the feeling of sharing something terrible and being heard?

The day I found the courage to share what I know with close, trusted friends was the day I found healing soaking further into my heart.

Both E and J responded as good, long-time friends now how, intuitively, naturally, with full-hearts.

They listened with their eyes growing wide, they asked few questions, they tried to understand and then, they wept.

I do still, sometimes, cry over this, but I’ve invested enough tears and thought, prayer and therapy to not feel teary-eyed as I watched them reach for some tissues.

I sat beside them watching them cry and knowing they were entering my pain and discovering that I felt like my heart was healing with their tears. It reminded me of Rapunzel’s tears in Tangled.

Tears from friends–I believe they have God-given magical power.

“Faithful friends are a shelter. Whoever has found one has found a treasure.  Faithful friends are beyond price.

No amount can match their worth.  Faithful friends are the elixir of life, and those who fear the Lord will find them”

(Ecc 6:14-17 paraphrased by Elaine Storkey).

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I am reading a book I highly recommend, The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown.  Brown is a researcher and educator that lives in Houston, Texas and her work on shame and vulnerability is both needed and valuable.  View it for yourself in her TED presentation (definitely worth watching!) or begin stepping your way through her words.

As we wrap up Let Me Be Me and transition into our new, punchy website (out in September!), this August Tidbit focuses on what it means to Be Me.  Only certain types of friendships offer us safe places for “me to be me”,  to say what I really think, be afraid, try new things, to disagree, cry, or admit things I am ashamed about…to be authentic.

What does that mean: be authentic?  Brown makes these statements about authenticity:

…in order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen, really seen. (TED)

…authenticity is not something we have or don’t have.  It’s a practice – a conscious choice of how we want to live.  Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day.  It’s about the choice to show up and be real.  The choice to be honest.  The choice to let our true selves be seen.

The idea that we can choose authenticity makes most of us feel both hopeful and exhausted.  We feel hopeful because being real is something we value…We feel exhausted because without even giving it too much thought, most of us know that choosing authenticity in a culture that dictates everything from how much we’re supposed to weigh to what our houses are supposed to look like is a huge undertaking.

As many of us hope for friendships that are safe and accepting, Brown’s words are an encouraging reminder that we all struggle with authenticity, with vulnerability, with showing our true heart, with allowing someone else to see.  And she’s definitely right about one thing –  it is a choice.

photo credit: Sally H. Falwell

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Artist: Robert Indiana

Love as a word, as a theory, as an emotion is hard to describe, but love as it shows up in every day life is a bit easier to grasp.

  • Exclusive Love: You only love me truly if you love others less.
  • Possessive Love: If you really love me, I want you to pay special attention to me.
  • Manipulative Love: When you love me, you will do extra things for me.

Emotional Reactions expecting love from others:

  • Vain: You must see something very special in me.
  • Jealous: Why are you now suddenly so interested in someone else and not me?
  • Angry: I am going to let you know that you have let me down and rejected me.

As humans, we long for others to see how special we are.  We long to not be forgotten.  We long to be seen, accepted and valued.   But when we demand it, often requiring others love us before we love ourselves, we end up polluting our own specialness.

What if, in our friendships with other women, we lessened our efforts to squeeze and seduce love from another human, and confidently asserted our availability:

“You can reach me if you but considered what I am, and you can reach me still whenever you wish if you are content to find me as I am and not as you wish me to be.”

And for others, we could love them like this:

I will try to reach you after considering what you are, and I will patiently and kindly encourage who you are, because I am content to find you as you are and not as I wish you to be.

Adapted from The Genesee Diary: Report From a Trappist Monastery by Henri Nouwen (1932-1996)

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We’ve been watching a lot of Winnie-the-Pooh lately. Throughout this 2011 movie, Pooh must struggle to help his friends or feed his rumbling tummy. Piglet makes the decision easy.

Piglet offers to reach into a swarming hive to get Pooh some honey.

When Pooh suggests catapulting Piglet up into the hive, head first, Piglet says the most unbelievable line, “Well, I’m sure you’ve thought this through Pooh.”

He then steps bravely to the board and Pooh teeter-totters him splat into the hive.

Pooh doesn’t apologize, instead Piglet calls out from inside the hive, “I’m sorry I messed up the plan, Pooh.”

Pooh is busy trying to find a large branch to bat the hive off the tree, meanwhile Piglet says, “The bees are really quite friendly as long as I don’t make any sudden movements.”

Then, Wack! Pooh batters the hive to the ground as Piglet genuinely asks, “Are you sure that’s a good idea, Pooh?”

Pooh reassures Piglet it is.

Piglet and Pooh remind me of myself. I can be the self-assured bossy Pooh who uses his friends to get what he wants and the naive and easily persuaded Piglet who sacrifices his personal safety and intelligence to to give his friends what they want.

The over-apologizing is something I did just today at the store, apologizing to people for their inattentiveness, apologizing when someone had to help me figure out the dog food I needed (I mean, come on, Jonalyn, it was their job!).

Next thing you know I’ll be apologizing when someone trips me.

Do you know what causes this abundance of apologies?

The belief that I’m responsible for other people’s feelings or actions.

By apologizing to the person who put my head in the bee hive I’m forgetting the one person I do have responsibility over: myself.

What about you, have you ever apologized to someone for their mistake?

or gotten into a sticky situation to help someone else get something they could have reached by themselves?

 

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If I Had Known…

Right now, I am knee-deep into the book Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.  This novel was recently made into a movie starring Sandra Bullock and Tom Hanks…and is one of the better books I have read this year.

The main character Oskar is a young boy who plays the tambourine incessantly and is an encyclopedia of facts..but has trouble socially.  He is also deeply grieving the loss and death of his father. These words come after meeting his upstairs neighbor, an elderly gentleman whose colorful and adventurous life stopped after his wife died.

How could such a lonely person have been living so close to me my whole life?  If I had known, I would gone to keep him company.  Or I would have made some jewelry for him.  Or told him hilarious jokes.  Or given him a private tambourine concert.

Where friendship is concerned, I like Oskar’s immediate response…he does not deny his own pain or reality, but seems to just move within it, being himself in the moment, knowing he has something to offer someone in their loneliness.

While it does not hurt to be kind of other drivers on the road, the man or woman at the checkout, the barista or the surly teenager, we have the chance to move beyond “If I had known…” and work within what we do know as we grow in friendships:  We are not made of steel and we could all use a private tambourine concert.

If you are not the “performing type” or are short on hilarious jokes, there are still things that you do have that you can offer others in just being yourself.  These are the things that help a friendship move beyond “If I had known…” and  into a relationship that acknowledges who both women are and where their own lives might have stopped.

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Often on Let Me Be Me we propose that healthy friendships are built on healthy foundations.  Am I taking care to make myself healthy – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and socially so that I bring my best to the friendships I am working to grow?  Remember, the first person you are a friend to is yourself.  And what kind of friend are you – supportive, encouraging and loving  – or a tad bit demanding, perfectionistic and unforgiving?

A quick interview with Dr. Oz about his “Transformation Nation” program reveals five things the healthiest people do.

Dr. Mehmet Oz

Check out his spot on the Today Show and consider what he says…and why the simple things we already know need to be personal and meaningful.

One thing I loved that he says, “There are no boundaries around who gets healthy…There is no reason for you to put a limit on who you are.”

  1. Eat breakfast – set yourself up “right” at the beginning of the day.
  2. Exercise – no short cuts here!
  3. Satisfying sex life.
  4. Make time for self – see self as worth it.
  5. Stress management.

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/3041426/ns/today-today_health/#47336226

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