I'm not a mom, but I know a lot of moms who work hard raising children, hoping they become strong, healthy adults. I'm a woman so I know what it's like to be a woman in today's world. How sometimes as a woman it doesn't matter what you say or what you do, you're either too much or too little. How the rules seem to be different between men and women. Against one group of women to another. I know what it's like to be called overly emotional for being passionate about something. Or overly sexual for wearing something that makes me feel fabulously alive but shows too much skin. Being called a bitch because I call someone on their behavior. Or have a strong opinion. Or just because I breath.
And sometimes I feel like no matter what I do I'm still going to be too little or too much. I'm never going to be just right.
We are all flawed people. In someone's eyes we are going to be too little or too much. Everyone has an opinion and judgements and insecurities. Everyone is trying to find a way to keep getting up every morning. For some, this may be easy. For the person secure in who she is and who has her back, it may be easy to shrug off the naysayers and push forward. For others, it might be very, very difficult.
Sometimes we are our own enemies. Raise your hand if you have ever told yourself you were stupid, inept, or a failure. If you have looked at yourself in the mirror and berated yourself for being in Vogue shape. If you have made a mistake and have not forgiven yourself. If you hate something about yourself. If you do something for yourself and feel guilty after. If you look at the people around you and judge yourself for not being just like them. If you have looked at the lives of other people and hate them just a little for being better than your life.
Maybe if we are trying to live an ethical life, if we try to be kind to people, to be compassionate, to strive to become better versions of ourselves just a little every day (or week, or month. I'm not judging), then maybe we can let up on ourselves. Maybe when we make mistakes, we own them and try to learn from them, then we can stop berating ourselves. Maybe if we allow ourselves to believe we are worthy of kindness and compassion we can stop feeling guilty. Maybe if we acknowledge that there are bad days where our shit falls apart, we can start being kind to ourselves.
Maybe if we stop looking at the lives of other people as the bar we hold ourselves to, we can be kind and compassionate and generous to others. If we want to love our neighbour, maybe we need to learn to love ourselves.
It is Yom Kippur, and though I am not Jewish, I find something compelling with this Jewish high holiday. One of the passages read on Yom Kippur is from Deuteronomy and is about choice. Choose a path of forward momentum and growth and light, or choose to stay mired in mindsets and choices that are slowly destroying us.
While this isn't all that is encompassed within Yom Kippur, and I apologize right now to my Jewish friends and family for distilling what is a day of huge import down to a question of choice, I find it important to ask myself, am I willing to choose the more difficult path? The high road is lonely. Change is hard. Being honest with myself means being honest with others. Even if that honesty requires me to go low and apologize and offer reparations for something I have done that has had negative effects on someone.
Yes, we are all flawed people. And we will make mistakes and our shit will come undone. Despite it all are we willing to make a choice toward becoming our better selves?
- Movies and books about flawed people.
- Velcro Dog urging me to leave the house every morning. Not for my benefit, for his, but it's all good.
- The gentle love of my friends, even when I don't always love myself.
Photo by Pomax