Entry Level Maturity #3 Love Your Awkward Little Self

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WARNING: Same junk, different day! But, please read on.

Love yourself. Love yourself. Lerve yerseffff!

We hear it all that time. But, do we actually ever think about what it means?

Sometimes, “Luhuv yawsevvvve,” gets interpreted as narcissism, sometimes it actually warps right on in to narcissism. The message to “Love yourself,” when you think about it, can sound like a really greedy thing to do.

Maybe we could talk about that a little.

I’m going to tell you some things I’ve learned about self love and invite you to share your lessons as well.

Love yourself doesn’t mean stop loving other people.

-Love yourself doesn’t mean focus solely on your own happiness.

-Love doesn’t just magically happen. Love takes practice. And… it just so happens that our self is the nearest  lab partner.

*note: Practicing and learning to love one’s self also offers a variety of 
       challenges. These are often brought to light when we are failing at 
       loving others.

– What if, for a little while we chilled out on the whole, “love yourself” thing and started thinking more along the lines of, “practice love on yourself.”

*note: In this instance, I am referring to platonic self love 
       [*tee hee *snort* *giggle*]

Or maybe, “Practice love on your selveS?

Our self is comprised of many different past selves, each one marked by the haircuts and music we loved at the time.

Some of those selves are so awkward that it’s painful to love them. Some of them are weak or even mean.

Some of them are not the best selves, but it’s good to learn to love them anyway because:

Some conceptions you made as that self are still informing your current self.   

This is the part of the blogpost where my ADHD kicks in. So, I’m going to do something to shake it up a bit.

Activity #1

Here’s Person SO&SO   

so&so         In 1997 Person SO&SO got the idea that they were unlikable.

Take a moment and predict Person SO&SO’s future if they never realize that this idea isn’t true.

                 

Activity #2

You can learn a lot about your selves if you fill in these blanks below as they pertain to your past self. But… if you are bored with the heavy stuff, grab a pal, and enjoy these madlibs:

The ___(adj.)_____ little kid, the __(adj.)______ middle schooler, the ____(adj.)_____teenager.  The ___(adj)_____ lover. Maybe the ___(adj.)_____parent, the ________(adj.) grandparent, or _______(adj)______ employee. 

Activity #3

Either share your madlibs OR take a moment to see if there are any lingering ideas that you got as a former self

that need to be challenged.

_____________________________________________

“I Hope The Activity Section Was Funny”

                                                       -Insanely Awkward Drama Student of 2002

____BACK TO THE POINT :____

Practicing love on our selves, ourselves, ourself is a really great way to learn forgiveness, compassion, gentleness, kindness, and  understanding.

This is the kind of love that heals. As our selves receive love, we speak truth back to them and can change the immature ideas we didn’t know we never abandoned.

We are then free to become unburdened by the harmful effects of competition with one another and the parts of us that are scrambling in what we believe to be scarcity.

Then, we become better at loving one another.

*personal note: I believe this love is from God and that God would want us to 
          look upon ourselves the way God sees us: with love. 
          Because love heals.  

Because LOVE HEALS.

♥This is why self love isn’t selfish. Because, relationships with healed selves are the best thing we can offer our loved ones.

*note: Self love and narcissism are not the same thing. Narcissism doesn’t stem from healed souls.

Now, let’s talk. A penny for your thoughts.

Howdy folks,

this is the second installment in a series called, “Entry Level Maturity.” The first installment didn’t know it was an installment. If you missed it, check it out. It’s called, It Only Matters What You Do With It. After I shared the first post, I realized I had a whole lot to say about this and was encouraged to do so, hence the out of order introduction.

This series is for those of us who have made it to adulthood, looked around, and said, “Wait…I must have missed something!” Maybe you aren’t like me. Maybe you’ve made it to adulthood feeling right smart about yourself. I can’t imagine what that must be like. If that’s you, don’t  bother to waste your time on this. Go and do something else very mature and adultish like write things in your planner, exercise, or wear fashionably sensible shoes.

But… maybe you are like me and have made it through some years only to realize that you have holes in your understanding of how things work; those moments where you realize that you’ve been doing it wrong and don’t know how to do it right. These moments are not fun. They make you feel like something inside you is terribly fractured. They make you ask questions like, “For Hank’s sake! What in the world is so wrong with me that I can’t figure out how to be normal?”

Maybe you were raised with abuse, trauma, pain, or loss. Maybe you have bio/neuro-chemical/hormonal issues. Maybe the adults in charge of you had yet to master the fine art of adulting themselves. Maybe you were forced into adult responsibilities before you had the years for the job. Or, maybe you grew up surrounded by really great adultish adults and you’ve just made some crappy, derailing choices

Regardless of the why, one thing I feel pretty confident about is that you are not alone. A dear friend recently reminded me that really, we’re all amateurs in the maturity game. I like that. I like knowing that none of us have this whole thing figured out yet. Mostly because the thought that I’m the only one saying, “Wait… I must have missed something…” is a little intimidating. I have spent a lot of time with a lot of very different kinds of people, and based on conversations I’ve had, one thing I’ve come to understand is that no matter how together folks look, most of them have spent their fair share of make-believe adulting.  I have come to feel pretty confident that regardless of race, color, sex, creed, or socio-economic status we have all had those moments when we feel ill-equipped to handle all the situations that require maturity. You know what I mean: the decisions, the emotions, the relationships, etc. But what are these situations if not opportunities? Opportunity to test us, strengthen us, to help us grow. Opportunities to enter into maturity.

In this series, I will be exploring some of the, “aha moments,” I’ve had. This is not a tell-you-what-to-do kind of thing because Hank knows I’m still figuring that out myself. I once heard of a Buddhist koan that said something to the affect of, “If you meet the Buddha, kill him.” It means, of course, that if you think you’ve got it all figured out, you’re wrong, (tell that to the fashionably sensible shoe wearing friends of yours). I’d prefer a discussion. Some of the things I’ll talk about here are super rudimentary… because… frankly, I missed a lot. Some of the things I learned from other folks who were farther down the road and willing to share. Others, I straight up paid good money for. I’m sharing what I’ve learned, but if you have something to add or argue, please do. After all, we are all amateurs; we are all entering, and this is: Entry Level Maturity.

 

 

 

Entry Level Maturity #1: It Only Matters What you Do with It

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Sometimes I give my kids advice and hope that I can take it.

Recently I told my daughter that disappointments are common in life. The goal is not to eradicate disappointment because that’s impossible. No matter how hard we try or how awesome we are, things just don’t turn out the way we want all the time.

Since we can’t predict or prevent disappointment, all we can really do is develop the character it takes to withstand it. Met with a hand of recent disappointment, here is the plan I’ve devised to take my advice, because as far as I’m concerned, this is some stuff a person with character can do when life stinks:

1) Give yourself the grace to suck at life for a little bit.

2) Brush yourself off (aka. Get your crap together).

3) Soldier on.

Note: Self-destructive behaviors are off limits, but self-protective behaviors are allowed during the duration of suck-days. Self protective behaviors may include, but are not limited to: crying, grouching, and indulging in guilty pleasures.

Note: Guilty pleasures are not to be confused with self-destructive behaviors.

This is so important, that maybe we should take a lil quiz to make sure we understand. For each sentence, answer GP for guilty pleasure and SD for self-destructive.

  1. Make cookies.
  2. Repeatedly engage in addictive behaviors.
  3. Watch extra TV.
  4. Stop getting out of bed until you lose your job.
  5. Lock yourself in the bathroom and tell you children you have diarrhea so you can cry in peace.
  6. Cut your flesh with sharp or blunt objects.
  7. Get angry and listen to Rage Against the Machine while screaming along and moshing around your living room in a desire to recapture your squandered youth.
  8. Key a car and get arrested.
  9. Hide and read for a bit.
  10. Escape into non-reality in the hopes that ignoring reality will make it go away.

Hint: Even numbers are odd behaviors that may be classified as self-destruction. If you default to these, seek help. For real. That part isn’t a joke.

Fact: disappointment happens. It only matters what you do with it.

Don’t go nuts, folks. Suck at life as needed. Brush yourself off. Soldier on.

 

An Open Letter to Faizul

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Dear Faizul,

I guess that instead of resolving to stop eating an entire block of pasteurized, processed, cheese product every single holiday season (by myself), I should have resolved to be nicer this year. When I contacted you for customer support at Amazon.com and complained that my package was four days late, I wanted you to feel sorry for me and give me money. When you refunded my credit card and told me to re-order rugs to cover my freshly-flooded and carpet-stripped bedroom floor, I discovered that the company from whom I had previously made my purchase no longer had my rug of choice in stock.

There was a certain portion of the conversation for which I feel particularly guilty. In case you don’t remember, it was like this:

Beth LovelandThe other rug is no longer available. It’s $10 more by another seller
FaizulYou can select the red color for this Beth .
Beth LovelandI do not want a red rug, Faizul. 
Beth LovelandIf you had a nice blue shirt on the way, and you were excited to receive it, how would you feel if someone said, “Sorry. Blue shirts not coming. How about you just get this hot pink one with red-eyed clowns on it instead?” 
FaizulI can completely understand. If that happened to me I’d be really upset too. I can imagine how frustrating that must be.
Beth LovelandThanks. But, what about the rug?
Faizul: I can suggest you to place the order for similar one .
Beth Loveland: I AM NOT GOING TO BUY A RUG THAT CLASHES WITH EVERYTHING ELSE IN THE ROOM, FAIZUL!

 

I wonder about you, Faizul. I wonder where you live. And, it’s not because your name sounds particularly eastern. It’s because I wonder who suggests to an American woman that she simply choose a rug in a different color. And, this is why I’m really, really sorry. What if this seems like a completely plausible approach to the problem to you? What if you live in a place where there are no rugs? Or floors? Only computers by which you chat with spoiled Americans. And what if, instead of being a jerk, I were nicer and just got the red rug?

 

When I told a friend about this problem I had with Amazon.com and when I suggested that maybe Amazon.com was run by ISIS, my friend laughed at my, “first world rage,” and then told me he was sure that you deal with bigger jerks than me everyday. But, it’s kinda not funny. I’m sorta feeling like a white devil. I’m sorry, Faizul. I truly am.

 

Regretfully,

Beth Loveland