“Gabby, it is amazing to me that you are so willing to give grace to the people around you, yet you show yourself not one ounce. The thoughts that you allow to make a home in your mind, you would never dare say to a friend. I want us to understand why you don’t show yourself grace”.
For someone who usually can come up with a plan to solve everything, for this one I had no idea of where even to begin. No blueprint, no playbook, nothing. Because she was right. I unconsciously was so mean to myself in my mind to the point that I could be in the midst of an anxiety attack and STILL have the audacity to beat myself up for feeling the way that I did.
As I sat there listening to my therapist (love you Tiffani), I felt exhausted. How in the WORLD was I supposed to rewire my thought process. It was enough of a chore to try and soothe my anxiety daily – and now I was being asked to also serve as a floodgate to keep out my own negative thoughts.
But the truth of the matter is, it only seemed hard because it would involve me breaking a habit I had operated by for so many years. If I stopped looking at this as something that would wear me out and instead as something that would allow me to be a better friend, sister, daughter, and girlfriend I am sure I would have committed to doing the work a long time ago. So much of the battles that we face, have the potential to look less intimidating if we would just change our approach to it.
We all hold ourselves to these unrealistic standards as we walk through life. We expect ourselves to glide through life, when the reality is that we can glide through life AT TIMES. There will also be times though, where we stumble. Where we trip. And sometimes, there will be times when we fall and stay there for a little longer than expected.
But all of this is part of the process. We would never be able to be the empathetic, caring, loving, supporting women that we are if we never knew what it felt like to be knocked to our knees. We may not all go through the same struggles and battles, but we all know what it feels like to have life throw a roadblock on your path. We would have a hard time relating to the people around us if we never knew what it meant to fall short.
Instead of sitting with our choices and UNDERSTANDING why we did what we did, we become the biggest, most self-critical bully in the world. It is amazing how sometimes the biggest bully lives right between our two ears.
“Alright Tiffani, if I’m supposed to start showing myself grace, what do you suggest that I learn to do. Because clearly me showing grace to myself is a skill I have yet to learn the fundamentals of”.
“You need to learn how to let go”, she said.
“Tiffani, let go of what”.
“Let go of this desire that your life was supposed to look a certain way. That you were supposed to look a certain way. That your shortcomings were not supposed to be the ones that they were. You need to let go of the fact that you never thought you would struggle with the things that you do, because only then will you actually embrace all that you are instead of all that you are not”.
If you want someone to read you like a BOOK, you need to go see Tiffani.
I had never thought of the fact that my lack of grace I showed myself stemmed from the fact that I was unconsciously beating myself up for doing things different than I thought I would. I was holding on to this outdated, ancient, unrealistic picture for myself and still operating off of it. I was not the same person I was before I was diagnosed with anxiety. I was not the same person I was before I went to undergrad and grad school, I was not the same person because what I had been through back then, is COMPLETELY different than what I am going through now.
Think about when you are learning a new skill – whether it is a hobby or something essential to your job. The first day that you attempt the skill, is not the same day that you become an expert at it. There are a couple of days that you get it right, and then there are other days that you may slip up on it. However, both the shortcomings and the triumphs are what allow you to become overall better at the skill than when you first started.
Our lives are always changing therefore we are always changing. Just like the new skills that we all learn in our lives, there are going to be some days that we are able to walk with power and others that we fall with each step we take. But if we are to take a step back, we will realize that we are still moving in the right direction, no matter the amount of mistakes that we have made.
I needed to let go of what I thought my life should be like and embrace what it was.
I hope you and I both are able to release ourselves from the bondage of unfair, unrealistic standards, and walk boldly in complete and unwavering grace.
We are all doing the best that we can.
Water Your Garden always,