You are really something special

 
I haven’t blogged in a long stretch. I’ve been beating myself up about it.
Despite the fact of my massive crossed-off To-Do list at the end of every insanely busy day and at the end of a particularly hurricane force few weeks, I pound my head over the remaining list items that would likely require Superman turning the earth back a few times in a row for me to actually end up accomplishing. 

We do this. 

We women who struggle beneath the burden of our own over-expectations. 

We write off our accomplishments as so much nonsense, and instead pick at the scabs of our flaws and insecurities until they become scars.

Yesterday I had this all brought home in a beautiful and poignant way that I hope I’ll remember.

I have a lovely neighbor who is sweetness personified. She is the kind of person who notices people and acknowledges their best selves. The kind of person I aspire to be when I’m in my less cynical and introverted moods. Her name is Lanea, and she dropped by with cookies yesterday. 

In the course of conversation, she said: “you are just so amazing. You are brilliant, and literary, and you always stay up on the coolest new music, so you’re just so cool. And if that weren’t enough, you sew and craft and I want my kids to be just like yours…” At which point I, blushing, interrupted her with, “WOW! You make me actually sound like I’m really something!” and she replied, “how is it that you don’t know you are?”
We moved on with our conversation, but my mind kept dwelling and ruminating on that phrase. 

HOW IS IT THAT YOU DON’T KNOW YOU ARE? 

How is it?

How do we let ourselves forget?

How do we get drowned in minutiae, dragged down by insecurity, misdirected by a false definition of humility until we don’t see ourselves clearly? 

Because in complete and total honesty, I had nowhere near the perception of myself that sweet Lanea painted.  I feel awkward and square-peg-in-the-round-hole and never, ever enough or else WAY too much.

We are told many, many times not to define ourselves by the perceptions of others, but to have our own inner sense of self – and I do think this has merit.  I can’t begin to tell you the ways I’ve been described that are VERY far off from Lanea’s (too often including the B word) – but sometimes the mirror of a loving friend can help remind us that we are more than a sum of our accomplishments vs our failings - the running tally we keep in our heads.  We are each so much more than that.

HOW IS IT THAT YOU DON’T KNOW YOU ARE?  It is critical that we know. When we allow ourselves to let go of fixation on what’s wrong or annoying or frustrating about ourselves, we stand taller, stop beating ourselves up, and are proud of our divine nature. We understand more clearly what our talents are and what we can offer the world.  And our daughters will be proud of us and themselves.

I wonder if Lanea had any clue how deeply she touched my heart, or what a turning point it has been in my thinking.  That is the power of a good woman, saying good words in the right time. 

I'm starting right now. To work harder to think better of myself.  To treat myself with the same level of compassion I'd give another human being. And then especially to pay it forward with words of validation and reminder to those women I admire all around me. Who inspire me and encourage me and yet I rarely step out of my little box to speak those heartfelt words for fear of sounding silly. Having just been on the receiving end - it is so far from silly. It means the world.

May we all speak up with power and confidence to lift one another.

Because you are amazing. You are powerful. You are talented. You have the ability to make a difference. And if you say, “I'm not sure you're talking about me, that makes me sound like I’m really something,” I say, “HOW IS IT THAT YOU DON’T KNOW YOU ARE?”
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