In meaningful relationships, I have found deep connection through sharing in the difficulties of being human.
I have struggled with my weight most of my life.
I worry about hurting people’s feelings.
I envy other people’s careers and fear I’m not talented enough.
I have unkind thoughts toward people I feel have wronged me in some way.
I struggle to prioritize and do nice things for myself.
I would rather sit on the couch than get work done.
I easily identify with being a garbage human, daily struggling to do better. Be better.
What’s hard for me is to admit to being a good human. To succeeding at anything.
I can turn a compliment into a criticism before you finish your sentence. I can poke a hole in any argument that I am kind, disciplined, talented. I can expose the inner demons that betray any positive attribute you think you’re seeing from the outside. I know what’s on the inside, and it isn’t pretty.
The one compliment I seem to accept is that I’m funny. I can hang my hat on that one, and I will use my humor to dismantle your attempts at compliments!
Some part of me associates exposing my weakness with humility and acknowledging my strengths with conceit.
And, no one wants to be friends with someone who’s conceited.
But do people really want to hang out with someone who can only talk about their flaws?
And, does it matter who other people want to hang out with anyway?
I’m the one who has to spend all day, every day with me! I’m tired of only looking for areas of improvement. Can we take a moment to stop and smell the roses? One moment to say, “Hey, good job. You’re doing it”?
I have developed the belief that a flawed person is more relatable than a perfect person. I still believe that, but I think I took it too far.
Pretending to be perfect is hard to relate to. No one is perfect. Not being able to admit your imperfections leaves others feeling gaslit and like they can never measure up to your ideal of yourself. How could you possibly relate to their struggles when you seem to have none of your own?
Admitting struggles and hardships allows others to have struggles and hardships. It normalizes what we all experience along the journey of being human. That is relatable.
Why does it have to be one or the other? Success or struggle?
Doesn’t everyone struggle on their way to success? Struggle with what comes next once they have succeeded in achieving whatever goal they were aiming for?
I’m not sure you can have success without struggle.
But, what a shame to grow and learn through the hard stuff and arrive at a success point only to minimize or ignore it! All that pain and struggle with no acknowledgment. No moment to be seen or validated. No exhale.
I have been on a journey toward healing my relationship with food for over three years. In that time, I have had struggles and successes. I meet weekly with two other women who are on this journey with me. One of them had early success. It was encouraging for me to see her success, but I was struggling.
Over time, I felt like my struggle was what was valuable to the group. Not because of anything they said, but because of my own limited mindset.
In this group, we call struggling “being in the ditch”. We all had moments of being in the ditch. Even the woman who’d had the most measurable success. I found connection with both women in the struggle. I feared I would feel “disconnected” if I should succeed and move fully to the path.
I was completely unaware of this dynamic as it was unfolding.
At the beginning of this year, I made a bold move and stepped out on my own.
Forged my own path.
I am deciding my food ahead of time and eating what I said I would. I’m prioritizing time to take care of my mental and physical self by feeling my feelings and moving my body every day. I’m also slowing down so my body and brain get the rest they need. I have mental clarity and peace of mind.
As the other two women in my group have witnessed this part of my journey, they continue to affirm me. They thank me for sharing the details - the struggles and the successes! They tell me it’s inspiring. It reminds them that they, too, can get where they want to go. It’s possible.
I wonder how long I allowed a fear of succeeding to keep me in the ditch. A fear of losing something special in my connection to these ladies if I were to have a different experience from them.
And yet, my honest journey, acknowledging the things that work and don’t, has served to help them keep showing up for themselves.
Would I rather sit in the ditch, staring up at my potential with disbelief? Or would I prefer to walk along the path, even when limping at times, and offer a hand and inspiration to those who happen to be in the ditch at that moment?
We can’t all be in the ditch all the time or no one gets anywhere!
I will be in the ditch again in some area of my life or another. It’s part of being human.
But, instead of valuing settling in the trenches as the end of my journey, I am choosing to risk limping, walking, skipping, and even running along the path when I have the chance.
What a shame to miss the sweet moments to celebrate in this life!