Daily Archives: October 11, 2011

Love You. Love, Me

I started a new online class this week, “Ordinary Courage: Lessons in Love, Shame and Worthiness,” taught by two amazing women, Jen Lemen and Brene’ Brown.


I have been reading Jen’s blog since this summer, and she’s also one of the teachers for the Mondo Beyondo class I am taking.  I am learning from her how to be brave, how to be vulnerable, how to be gentle, and how to rage.  Her series of posts about “How to Be Happy” are some of my favorites, as well as “10 Things That Are True About You.”  She is so powerful and raw that it scares me sometimes, but I want to grow up to be like her.

I first encountered Brene’ Brown’s work through her TED Talk.

One thing that really sticks with me still from this talk is this idea: We numb vulnerability. The problem is that we cannot selectively numb emotion. When we numb negative emotion, we also numb joy, gratitude, and happiness.

I had a long history of anxiety and depression and abusive relationships. I have been working for the last 10 years to figure out how to get unstuck. I started with therapy, yoga, meditation, exercise, dogs, supportive friends, and a change in my working conditions. Then two beings that I loved dearly were diagnosed with cancer and died within six months of each other, and addiction and mental illness started to eat away at family relationships.

I had been trying for years to identify what was at the heart of my writer’s block, my life block–why was it that I knew what I wanted, wanted it with my whole heart, but held back, stayed stuck?  After watching Brene’s TED Talk, I convinced a friend to get her latest book, “The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are” and be in a book couple with me, (there were only two of us, not enough for a group or a club).

It turns out that depression and anxiety and numbing out were only symptoms of the real problem, merely coping strategies. I had been in an abusive relationship for years–with myself. As one of my classmates in Ordinary Courage described it, I’ve been “smashing myself to bits.” Everything broke wide open with that realization. Things started to shift and come unstuck.

Today, in my Mondo Beyondo class, Jen Lemen posted an interview she’d done with Mike Robbins, an author, speaker and coach.  The tagline on his website is “Empowering People to Be Authentic and Appreciative.”  In the interview, Mike explains that “I really think that’s our job with all of this. How do we make our dreams come true? We love ourselves. How do we overcome obstacles and challenges? We love ourselves. How do we attract love into our lives? We love ourselves. How do we, you know, get past that upper limit that we stop at? We love ourselves. I mean, it just keeps coming back to, in a genuine, deep, soulful way, we just love ourselves and practice that…whatever we create, or manifest, or achieve in life is meaningless without self love.”

This reads like a poem to me, a verse from a holy book.

How do we make our dreams come true?
We love ourselves.
How do we overcome obstacles and challenges?
We love ourselves.
How do we attract love into our lives?
We love ourselves.
How do we get past that upper limit that we stop at?
We love ourselves.
Whatever we create, or manifest, or achieve in life
is meaningless without self love.

My first reaction when I heard him say this was “oh sh*it, I am in so much trouble.”  You see, I am not very good at this self-love thing.  I am really good at abusing myself, bullying myself, beating myself up, punishing myself, pushing myself, “smashing myself to bits.”

My not so secret mission? Befriend myself, take care of myself, love myself.  I’ve seen what I good friend I am, how well I take care of my dogs, how kind I am to strangers, and how I love my husband–I know I can do this.

I’ll start by singing this song to myself.  Singing it to soothe myself, singing myself to sleep, singing it when I feel joy, singing it in gratitude.  I’m so sorry.  You have deserved so much better than this. Love you.  Love, Me.

  • How long do you want to be loved?
    Is forever enough, is forever enough?
    How long do you want to be loved?
    Is forever enough?
    Cause I’m never, never giving you up