It helped me a great deal to be in circle with Jeanne and friends last night. We read some poetry, talked and wrote a bit. One of the writing prompts sent me in the direction of affirming myself a bit by considering some of the things I like about myself. I’m not perfect in relationships or in my family or at work, but when I think about it, I can come up with things about myself that I appreciate and that make me proud.
First on the list of things that came to mind is that I have a great capacity to love. I am capable of loving boldly and completely. One example is that I spent a decade loving someone who never really loved me back. There is one version of me who thinks I’m a big idiot for having done that. But the better version of me likes the part of me that was capable of believing in and loving someone for so long. I still believe in and love that person, and, when I’m my best self, I think that love and willingness to love makes me a better person, not a weaker one.
More recently, I’ve been more timid in my love. Rather than being bold, putting love out there – whether it be in a friendship or a relationship – and not worrying about what people think or whether the love would be returned, I’ve been cautious. I’ve been uncertain, timid, keeping score and even harboring grudges. When I realized that driving home from last night’s meeting, I started to get angry at myself. But I stopped myself from being angry and asked myself a question. Can I reclaim who I was when I wasn’t so afraid?
I’ve spent the better part of today trying to remember in detail the time in my life when I was my best self – when I loved most willingly and most fully. It wasn’t that long ago. It was a time when I was working hard and training hard. It was a time when I had the confidence to get up in front of a room full of people and make them laugh. It was a time when I was less calculated in who I invited to do what, a time when I forgave easily. I worried less about what people thought because I liked myself more. I followed my heart rather than questioning it and trying to measure the likelihood of success or a favorable return.
I really like the version of me that I’m remembering. It’s been a while since I connected with her, but I know her well. I’m pretty sure I can still reach her. I’m definitely going to try.