Have some new thoughts this morning. Spent a lot of time last night thinking, praying, and pondering the words of good friends. Had some important ephiphanies. I feel so important using that word...say it with me...EPHIPHANIES. Big, light-bulb moments, the ones that almost always occur when you are staring out the window bored out of your mind on a long road trip, or in the dead of night and it pulls you straight up in bed, with buzzing in your ears. Yes, those ephiphanies.
1. I am too hard on myself.
Yes, I know if you are my close friend, you have already said this to me about a million times. I did hear you, I promise I wasn't ignoring you. I just struggle with grace. I can dump tons of it on the people around me, even forgiving and forgetting when it is not always healthy for me. But grace for myself is harder. I think many of us struggle with this. Especially if you are a "fixer". I had a conversation a couple of weeks ago with another friend who is a self-proclaimed "fixer" too. We talked about how awful it feels to see those around us hurt when we are powerless to help. Of course we all feel badly when we see pain in the lives of those we love, but for a "fixer" it is different- the inability to stop the pain is crushing to us. Which brings me to Ephiphany numero dos...
2. I take on the emotional symptoms of blaming myself for things I have no control over.
I will give a specific example of this one because I am able to now. A good friend of mine is getting divorced. Technically all is done except for the official word. Some of you saw me crying and attempting incoherent conversation last week after I helped her and her kids move. I couldn't articulate why I was breaking down in sobs...why was I so upset about this? It is a difficult and painful thing to be sure, but it was not MY divorce, nor that of a close family member. There are lots of reasons I was upset, but I think the biggest one comes down to the fact I couldnt' stop it. I was absolutely helpless to make things all better and normal again. And that was crushing to me. This brings me to my last and most important point...
3. My compassion gets me in trouble.
I will give Chelsea Annette Stow the credit for this one- she is the one who articulated this for me so clearly the other night. My compassion is a good thing a lot of the time. I love people. If you know me, you know that about me. I enjoy talking to people. I cherish hearing their stories and thoughts on life, history, cheese, whatever might be on their minds. I feel honored and humbled when others open up to me about their dreams and fears and pain. But many times my compassion drags me in too deep. Like with my dear friend who is divorcing, I hurt for her, her kids and her ex, way more than is healthy or normal. I abhore seeing others in pain. And the closer one is to me, the more my hurt magnifies for their hurt. Am I making sense here? To my own ears, it sounds childish...I can hear some of you thinking...Just don't get so emotionally involved Val. I wish it were that simple, that I could shut it off like a switch at appropriate times. Or just shut it off period. Ron says I have a tender heart. I think I just care too much sometimes, in a way that is not healthy for me. I keep hearing that line from the song Nuisance in my head..."My greatest strength is also my strongest weakness." That is so true of me. This example from last week is just one small example, I have a million more. I was not tasked with saving the world, and we all must hurt to grow. I can't stop the hurt, and I can't take the blame for the hurt unless I did indeed cause it.
I am going to link the song here to end up this blog. It is one of my favorite songs on the planet, and the video just cracks me up and makes me happy. The end is the best- so much truth. If you have already watched it the hundred other times I have posted it on my facebook page, you may skip it today.
Thanks for reading. :)