Loving myself through it

My website went live in April, and yet here it is almost July and I’ve only written two blog posts. I wish I could tell you this is a rookie mistake, or that it was too much to expect myself to write consistently every week.

Except here’s the thing… For eight and a half years I wrote a weekly column for a few small town newspapers. I rarely missed a deadline. I had a baby on a Monday and submitted a column by Wednesday at 5:00. If I was going on vacation I’d write two columns a week in advance.

I only took time off when I’d literally worked myself into the ground and was so physically and emotionally depleted that I could not go on. (Hello, my name is Sara and I am a workaholic.)

I’ve spent the last two months meditating on why it’s so hard for me this time. I can’t really call it writer’s block, because I have pages and pages of notes, scribbled on napkins and sticky notes or saved on my phone, ideas that ignite my soul more than most anything I’ve written in the past.

Then today, as I was once again stewing over my plight, it hit me. It is precisely because of my passion for this topic that I’m unable to write about it. I worry I won’t do it justice. I worry that my message will be misunderstood and cause more harm than good. I worry that I’ll pour my heart into it and no one will care or even notice.

Or worse, they will notice, and they’ll hate me. Because I’m not just a workaholic. I’m also a praiseaholic. I’m addicted to approval. The notion of total emotional transparency terrifies me deep into my bones.

Redefined Love isn’t just a catchy slogan for me. It is the name I’ve given to my journey to the center of myself. It is the most vulnerable I’ve ever been. It is me.

Once I allowed myself to feel anger and love at the same time, my heart simply opened up. I want to share that peace with everyone. I look at this shattered world we are living in, on the brink of unspeakable disaster, and I know that love is the only way to pull us back from the edge.

I see that we are all connected, each and every one of us. If one goes over, we are all pulled into darkness. We must learn to love our enemies if we are to survive.

I am so bad at this, people. So. Bad. At. It. Integrating love into every single interaction is a lot like attempting a really strict diet. I do really well for a few days. I don’t have road rage. I don’t roll my eyes when I see someone who disgusts me on the evening news. I don’t look at a homeless person holding a sign at the street corner and think to myself that he’s lazy and worthless.

Then I get busy, or sick, or exhausted, or overwhelmed, or simply distracted, and suddenly I’m hollering “poophead!” at the guy who pulls out in front of me in traffic (yes, poophead – there are children in the car), or muttering “idiot” under my breath at the evening news and then storming out of the room, leaving my confused children thinking that it’s okay to feel intellectually superior to those with whom we disagree.

I project my own sense of laziness and worthlessness onto that homeless dude on the corner who clearly needs as much love as he can get.

So here is what I decided to do about this situation. I’m going to love myself through it. I’m going to forgive myself when I slip into old habits. I’m going to try to do better next time. And I’m going to write, even if I’m scared to fail.

I’m going to allow myself summer with my kids. I’m not going to work myself to death and miss out on opportunities for joy. I’m going to trust that this whole blogging thing will take off if it’s meant to, when it’s meant to. I’ve never been afraid of hard work. But I am terrified of letting go and trusting the process.

Today I realized that the answer to this problem, as with all problems, is love – love of myself, love of my family, love of life in all its brokenness, love of those whose struggles or opinions differ from my own. The answer is always love.

Related Links:
How do I redefine love?
Dealing with anger
The Big Picture

published June 24, 2018

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