Reading has often been an escape for me. I learned to speed read at some point in my schooling years and part of that experience is to immerse myself wholly in whatever I’m reading. Since my diagnosis with Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) in 2017, reading has become even more important. From learning about cancer to the experiences of other people living with cancer to books that have nothing to do with cancer, books are a big part of how I cope.
One type of book, though, that I typically avoid are those termed “self-help.” No need to belabor why, just not my cup of tea. But I made an exception for Brene Brown’s Book, The Gifts of Imperfection, because so many people I respected were talking about it. And I’m glad that I did.
Having been raised in an evangelical protestant paternalistic culture, being wrong is pretty much anathema. This avoidance of being wrong has been at the root of so many struggles and trauma in my own life and in my relationships with others. Understanding and knowing where I’ve been in order to see more clearly where I’m going has been the subject of many days and nights … the author handles this subject in this way …
How much we know and understand ourselves is critically important, but there is something that is even more essential to living a Wholehearted life: loving ourselves.
And perhaps the most painful lesson of that day hit me so hard that it took my breath away: It was clear from the data that we cannot give our children what we don’t have. Where we are on our journey of living and loving with our whole hearts is a much stronger indicator of parenting success than anything we can learn from how-to books.
I now see how owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.
I can’t write as well as the author does and I almost don’t want to add to this quote and muddle the message.
But bear with me.
Owning our own story is a mix, I believe, of knowing ourselves and taking responsibility for how we are in the world. We need to know the former before we can know the latter. In the process of coming to terms with the limited time I have on this earth, I’ve spent quite a bit of time on both of these pieces.
Living well while dying is wrapped up in this process of owning my story and loving myself as I worth through this process is a key part in my view of how I have dealt with the inevitable struggles.
And it’s my unique truth/view/story.