Thursday, July 16, 2015

Emotional Work

(Disclaimer: This is a total processing post.  I came to the computer on emotional overload.)

I've had a day full of emotional negotiations with my children.
I'm exhausted and the day isn't close to being over yet.

I think?, maybe often, my mothering, as presented on the blog, could look like things are always rosy and figured out and neat and happy.
But they aren't.

There are days, like today, where I end up losing my cool as I'm trying to handle someone else's emotion.  
There are times when I raise my voice and I'm rude to my kids.
There are weeks where sometimes I feel like the offering that I have to give to them just isn't enough, that I'm failing them, that it's laughable that I'm supposed to be the adult here, or a role model for them, times where I just know I won't ever measure up or be what I need to be.
And it isn't just about seeing that as a mother (tho I see this all the time); it's about seeing what's lacking in my person, too, falling short in lots of other ways.

Over the last couple years of my life, I've been logging lots of things inside.  I've been processing and evaluating, pretty much on repeat, exhaustively, and I've learned a lot, but two things are coming to mind right now.

Forgiveness and acceptance.

Acceptance of what you can't change.
Acceptance that you are giving everything you've got, and if it isn't enough, it's still the best you have to offer.
And that, even when it isn't what it should be, it has to be okay.  You are doing the best that you can.  
And that isn't a cop out, by the way.  
I mean it---in the sense that acceptance means facing the realities, too.  Looking at a situation or a relationship or a problem and really seeing it for what it is -- that means acknowledging where it isn't enough, and accepting it.  Accepting it, even if it makes me uncomfortable, or even if everything inside of me wishes I could change it in a snap.  Wishes I could somehow be better or handle everything how I'd like to, or know the right thing to do.

I've realized, more than ever before, my humanity: my mistakes, my weaknesses, my failings.  I've looked, up close and personal, at my personality flaws, and that has led to some pretty eye-opening discoveries.  It has stretched me and forced me to be honest with myself.  And, in willing to be honest with myself, I have found huge relief.  In a very personal way, in a way I can't even articulate, I have felt deep down into my soul how profoundly personal the atonement is, how personally crafted it is, how it reaches out one-by-one.

Surrendering to the chaos and the process and allowing myself to accept it has helped me to forgive. And I'm not talking here about forgiving others, tho I think that's part of it, too.  I'm talking about forgiving myself, about acknowledging those parts of ourselves that are hard or that we wish were different, the stuff we're always working on, the ways we never feel we will be enough.

I've realized that I struggle to believe that I'm enough, and maybe all of us do.  Maybe this is part of it.  

Some days and weeks and months are hard, even tho they aren't without staggering joy, too.  The pain and hard is also entrenched with joy, with moments that make me stop and take in what an amazing, incredible gift life is.  Small, simple moments that I can put away and feel good about: small successes, small minutes of reassurance, small, meaningful conversations with people I love, a quiet listening ear, small moments where God lets you know of His love for you, or laughing, so hard, with a friend for a few quick minutes.

And maybe it's actually about realizing that we aren't enough, and that's the point.  
That we're fallible.
That we fall short.
That things aren't always how we like them, that life isn't like that.

And, ultimately, that that's okay.

Maybe it's really about learning to say "I'm sorry."
Maybe it's about being willing to try again.
Maybe it's about realizing that anything worth having involves emotional work, and lots of it.
Maybe it's about that beautiful process of being humbled---because ultimately, being willing to submit to that helps you to heal and to connect and to love others deeply.  
Seeing the humanity in you makes you less shocked when you find it in others.  

Moving forward.

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