Random acts of kindness and generosity make my day. Doing them for others, receiving them out of the blue, those things make me smile and renew my faith in the goodness of humankind.
But there are things we should think twice about before paying them forward. For instance, if someone steals our parking spot and we get angry, we shouldn’t take it out on the clerk in the dry cleaners. Or if we have a really lousy day we shouldn’t walk into the house and rain misery all over the kids or the dog. Well, maybe the kids… Kidding!
I had one of those crappy days recently and I honestly couldn’t wait to share it with my mom, get it off my chest, hear her advice, feel better and then, what? Leave her with my crap to feel awful about for the rest of her day. Nope. Didn’t do it. That’s not the kind of thing I want to pay forward. It happens though. Nobody’s perfect. And while I’m all for being “cool” with my flaws, that’s one I’d like to be rid of.
Yesterday I posted a new episode of Flaws Are The New Black , something I haven’t done since November. Why the lapse in posting? I don’t know. Maybe the holidays got in the way. Maybe I was too busy with work. Maybe I had nothing to say. (Yeah, right.) In all honesty I think what happened is I got exhausted and needed a break physically and emotionally. I needed some time off to remember why I started FATNB to begin with. And now that I’ve had a break and refreshed my memory, I’m back, renewed, re-energized, and ready to celebrate my – and your – perfectly imperfect self.
And oh yes, I am imperfect. I mean, I hang out with this guy all day. And I talk to him. Shhh. Tell no one.
Stay perfectly imperfect, peeps. I’ll be in touch! S. xoxo
This week’s episode of Flaws Are The New Black is about the pitfalls of comparison. Maybe you’ve heard the expression, “comparison is the thief of joy” and maybe you haven’t. But I’m here to tell you, it is. When we compare ourselves or our lives to others’, we suffer. When we compare our current selves to our past selves, we suffer as well. Just look at this teary pic of me feeling bad for myself because I don’t look like the photo on either of my book jackets any more. Oy vey, Susan. Knock it off!
The trick to ending this suffering is throwing out every single solitary photo of myself. I’m kidding. I plan to burn them.
No, the trick is GRATITUDE. I need to be grateful for the fact that I’m awake, alive, safe, healthy. (Maybe not mentally healthy but hey, you can’t have everything.) I need to be grateful that I have two incredible sons, friends and family who love me, work I enjoy, and yummy wine to drink at night.
Aging sucks but it’s better than the alternative. Comparison sucks too because it makes me ask myself, “how bad could the alternative to aging really be?”
Comparison sucks us down the rabbit hole. Gratitude takes our hand and pulls us out. I hope you’ll watch the episode. It’s called Comparison is a Killer. Worse yet, it makes you cry!
Brene Brown, the international best-selling author, TED Talk queen, and shame researcher, is spot on when it comes to vulnerability. But before I go into that, let’s all take a moment to react to the word “vulnerability.” Join me, will you?
Eeeeek! Being vulnerable? So not doing that! Put myself out there? I’d rather put pins in my eyes! Open myself up to judgement, share my “stuff”? Oh no. Not happening. I shall keep my shit to myself, thank you very much!
I’m right, right? That’s where we go when we hear the word vulnerability. I recall watching Brene Brown’s TED Talk on the topic with my hands over my eyes, peeking through my fingers. That’s how freaked out I was. But I watched, and watched again. And here’s the bottom line about being vulnerable: it is the key to moving forward to joy, to true happiness.
But first, the hard part. We have to dig deep, listen to what our body is telling us, and look for the clues to why we feel a certain way or are suffering inertia in some aspect of our life. Scary stuff, I know. I’m a master at putting my head in the sand. But ignoring whatever is stopping you from moving forward in your life doesn’t make “it” go away. It makes it worse.
So first, you dig deep. Don’t set up camp down there or anything, just look and acknowledge and accept. Have tissues, because the final part of that sentence is “and cry.” Then muster up all your courage, hit the store for more tissues and several bottles of wine, and share your discoveries with the person or people you trust most in the world, and only those people. At first your tribe, aka the people you trust most in the world, could be a little surprised, maybe scared. (Eek! She’s being vulnerable! Quick, where are those pins for my eyes???) But because they’re your tribe, that stuff passes in an instant, and then there’s nothing but listening, support, and love, and being absolutely blown away by your courage.
Any time we have the courage to pull the monster out from under the bed, hold that sucker up to the light and see it for what it really is, we begin to heal, get stronger, put that beast in perspective, free ourselves from its grip, and move forward.
And when we have the courage to do that in the company of those we love and trust? We give the gift of courage to them, too.
Nice right? It ain’t easy, but nothing really worth doing ever is.