more love, less hustle
Shauna Niequist posted this beautiful word on her blog, “More love, less hustle”. I now have perfect four words to describe my disappearance from writing over the last few months. I didn’t mean to take such a long break, it was just like one post turned into one week which turned into one month and well, here we are.
I have been thinking about each of you and have appreciated your thoughtful emails and those who have approached me at Target, in coffee shops, at the gym, and at a recent wedding. I admittedly get pretty excited when I get to talk face-to-face with women who read my blog.
Back on a dreary, fake-snow day in February, I had a moment where I was bulldozing my way though my to-do list and sat down to check another item off: write a blog post. I stared at my computer and felt empty. This emptiness wasn’t like I needed to pray or recenter my thoughts or take a nap, but empty like I’d been giving of myself for so long that I needed a complete recharge.
I saw my life as this glass pitcher where I’d been pouring and pouring until there was nothing left. I’d been holding this pitcher (my life, my time) upside down hoping a little more water would drip out. But I had nothing left. It’s useless when we push ourselves to exhaustion pretending we have more to give when in reality, we’re just a dried-up pitcher needing a sanctuary where we can be filled again.
Over Christmas, I heard Brene Brown talk about this idea that we cannot love others more than we love ourselves. This includes our families, our friends, our spouses, and our children. I didn’t buy it at first. I felt like I loved Michael and will one love our kids a whole lot more than I love myself.
But Brene used this story about a mom and her daughter to illustrate her point. A 13-year-old daughter walks in from school and complains how no one sat with her at lunch and how she has no friends. The mom responds with judgment: “Well, if you would pull your damn hair back and wear those cute clothes I bought you, then maybe you’d have more luck.” A distant past reveals that the mom was also unpopular in middle school and remembers all-too-vividly sitting alone at the lunch table. She never loved her middle-school awkward self nor had she dealt with those feelings of rejection and loneliness. Therefore, as a mother, she had a hard time loving her daughter going down the same lonely road.
Brene said what causes us to respond to those we love in judgment and without empathy is we never learn to love ourselves.
I’m now on board with the idea we can’t love others more than we love and care for ourselves.
It terrifies me a little how hard I am on myself. Whether it’s not waking up early, getting distracted at work, not blogging, skipping a workout, eating unhealthy, gaining weight, looking ‘terrible’ in a picture, or making a mistake, I can really speak harshly to myself. I seldom let myself off the hook. I also push myself to the point of exhaustion, because I compare myself to the highest achievers. (For more on this, read Things I Don’t Do)
It didn’t seem like quite an enormous issue, that is not showing myself an ounce of grace, when I thought I could keep my high expectations and negative self-talk hidden. But to think that this lack of self-love and self-grace was spilling into my relationship with family and friends-no! I hate that thought. To think that if I can’t learn to love and accept myself for who I am, that I will struggle to love and accept my children for who they are is unbearable.
Anne Lamott talks about practicing radical self-care:
“Radical self-care is what we’ve been longing for, desperate for, our entire lives–friendship with our own hearts.”
In effort to recharge and be ready to give of myself to my family, to my friends, and to you again, I’m listening to my heart. Listening to our hearts takes patience, quiet, rest, unscheduled days, quality time with our families, reading the wisdom of others, play, time away from the internet, and maybe a vacation or just a sleepy, rainy day off work.
Y’all I cannot tell you how vital is is to learn to love and care for yourself and listen to your heart. It’s not self-centered; practicing love for yourself is a selfless act. Because how are we to gear up to shine love into the stories around us if we’re entering battle with broken armor and unhealed scars and ignored hearts? We must prepare our hearts that we can can pour out hope and uninhibited joy and merciful love into the lives of the broken.
I’m hustling less, resting more, listening to my heart, showing grace, and loving myself beyond than feels comfortable.
Will you join me?
If you liked this post, you may also like:
- a year of baths : on learning the art of self-care
- The Courage to be Imperfect
- What do you really want?
- An Uncluttered Life | Passage from Jesus Calling