Sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to not know, to NOT have all of the answers.
We need to lower the expectation of ourselves to be all-seeing, and all knowing.
Sometimes our best try needs to be enough.
It needs to be enough that we show up, however we can while things are not making sense.
It’s not a crime to take our time. Even if it’s a very long time, and by very long I mean Forest Gump goes out for a run kind of long.
So we wait for a sign, or an understanding, or for something to shift or change. What’s the big deal with that?
Hold out for help, or insight, or the seas to part and the sky to open and drop a manual with step by step instructions for what to do next. I am guilty of calling anything less than NEON PINK SKYWRITING, absolute bullshit, because I have been so frustrated with my own confusion, on more than one occasion.
It doesn’t make us bad or evil or wrong to be confused, or overwhelmed.
Sometimes all the pain of not knowing, is caused by thinking we should know because when we know, we actually just know. You know?
The thing is that we forget to trust ourselves. We have a wise, loving force inside of us that is navigating through chaos, even when all we can see is debris flying and shit hitting the fan. Confusion is like fog. It’s not doing much more than obscuring our view. When it is swept away the thing we could not see is unharmed, finally just there for the seeing, like dog poo when the snow melts.
It’s tempting when we don’t like our circumstances, when something hurts, or feels confusing, or falls short, or triggers our fear, to immediately attack ourselves. I should not have done THE THING! What was I thinking exposing myself to this awful terrible “not what I expected-ness!” I swore I would (insert cruel demand here) never date again, never eat again, never listen to him or her again, never fall prey again!
Pain tells us – hey I need some encouragement, support. It is not the hand of a punishing god in the sky waving his Harry Potter wand, yelling Shazam, and doling out repercussions for our eff ups. By eff ups, I mean fuck ups. See! No lightening bolt of pain for my unmitigated swearing.
And often the things we feel all that hurt around are those things we went out on a limb for, practiced actual BRAVERY to accomplish, and now we are pretty much just saying to ourselves “you stupid idiot for being brave without knowing for sure you would be successful, or how it would turn out” which defeats the act of bravery in the first place because bravery involves risk. We are a hero if it all works out, but when it doesn’t we are the dumbest dummy in dumbsville.
I expect you to take a chance not knowing the outcome but still somehow control the outcome.
I don’t know about you, but staying in a place of worrisome indecision sounds a whole lot less grievous than that boss, bitch and sass.
What’s more, our resistance to pain makes us feel powerless and scared. It goes like this: I feel scared because I can’t see things working the way I expected them to, so I attack myself to avoid this pain, and instead of solving for pain and fear, I increase my demands on myself to solve all the things, know all the things, and overcome all the things. Now I am so tired I want to crawl up in a fetal ball, so I must dig deeper and rise higher. Curl up, rise high, curl up tighter, rise higher. This is bad yoga people. Someone’s gonna get hurt.
Think about that movie, Joy. The one where Jennifer Lawrence plays the mop inventing women who endures massive treachery on her path to greatness. Again and again she risks, she strives, she beats the odds, and is taken advantage of, treated like garbage, and disrespected, which all culminates in one bold move by her that outsmarts her biggest adversary. And we cheer, and we believe for a few minutes that anything is possible.
Except this one little eency weency thing. There are masses of us, who are taking the risks, and giving the 300 percent, but when push comes to shove don’t figure out the one big bold move that is going to save our proverbial collective ass. So what about us? What happens when there is no glory, no million dollar pot at the end of the bravery rainbow? Well too often we dismiss ourselves. We call it a failure and then endure some pep talk about the nature of failure.
If we are going to go the distance it needs to be as our own advocate. We need to redefine our stories of what it means to triumph.
All the whacking ourselves over the head with a wet noodle is not going to make us a Hollywood ending. And for the love of love, our worth can’t be contingent on THAT, because it deprives all of the rest of us. The hundreds of thousands of inglorious box office supporters get a colossal, G-Y-P gyp, for our non Hollywood endings, and our lack of one screams that we have simply not outsmarted hard enough.
So a toast to you who does the thing or that tries to do the thing. Your story matters. Your success does not depend on whether you outsmarted them at their own game. You get a hero cookie for trying when you didn’t have all the answers. You get a hero cookie for stopping when you’ve had enough. You get a hero cookie for cutting yourself some slack.
Circumstances can solve themselves, yes, without your gun-point, blood sweating induced epiphany.
Or you can wake up one day and just know.
There can be a quickening or tipping point were all the signs and symptoms add up to deliver the message you are needing to receive.
Or if you’re one of the lucky ones, you can wake up one day with pink neon writing in your sky, giving you clear instructions on how to not fuck it all up.
But while you wait it out, don’t hold yourself or your decision accountable for all the things that have or may happen in the history of time. That’s just ice-cream-smashing mean.
Also, that inner wise voice of yours emailed me a message for you this morning :
Dear one, YOU ARE INHERENTLY WORTHY OF LOVE and you don’t have to go it alone, also you look smokin’ in those sloppy jeans and t-shirt because you’re just that much of a babe, and also if you forget to put the laundry in the dryer and have to rewash it for the third time, I forgive you. You are a brave soldier of domestic warfare and I commend you for coming within ten feet of that daunting pile of mismatched socks, seventeen of which are competing shades of ecru and manila.
— Love Erin
P.S. Have you checked out my Goddess class, starting in one tiny week?
P.P.S. Do you need some one on one help lessening the pain and struggle in your life? Consider working privately with me to get feeling better, fast.
P.P.P.S. The beautiful photograph at the head of this blog post is by Kristen Butler Photography.