How Deeply Can I Love

Dear Readers,
I still struggle on days. Not with drinking, but with thoughts of worthlessness, low energy and low mood, and feelings of loneliness. I still struggle with accepting who I am, and who I am not.

My therapist wants me to continue to work on being kind and compassionate to myself when I am physically and emotionally low.
I am re-reading the book The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown. I read it a year ago, but never really thought deeply and applied what I read. I am ready now.
(Anne, from Ainsobriety has told us about the course she took on this book. I found the on-demand course here.)

I tend to be an all or nothing girl. I am either estacally happy, or very depressed. I am either super busy or reading all day. I get so angry with myself when don’t live up to who I think I should be. That takes a lot of energy. If I can learn to love myself a little bit more, I will have a better chance of living happier, healthier, and able to give more of myself to others.

I don’t want to be me. Well, I want to be some of me, and some of other people.

I want to be someone who can run miles, who goes to hard yoga everyday, gets invited to all  the “in” parties, keeps her house clean, who can play her guitar and sing and hear it, has good physical health, eats healthy food all the time, cooks good meals for her husband, volunteers, has cute clothes, is thin, has and sees many friends, sees her family every month, meditates, never feels lonely, and makes money.

Now, reading this list makes me smile, but honestly? That is who I want to be.
Instead, I am someone who can walk, can go to one or two hard yoga classes a week, cleans her house about once a month, can’t hear her guitar or sing anymore, has a bad back and weak wrists, sometimes eats healthy, never cooks, used to volunteer at school, still has some cute clothes, is still thin, has friends but most of them work, sees family about twice a year (they all live out of town), never mediates, feels lonely at times, suffers from anxiety and depression, writes a sober blog, and is retired.

When I was teaching, my career ran my life. Now that I am retired, I am learning to live a whole different way. It is such a struggle for me. I wish it came naturally. Some of my retired friends love retirement. They did not have these issues.

But, they are not me, and I am not them. 
And this is what is at the heart of the matter. 
My therapist wants me to find a gentler, kinder way for me to walk in my life.
Looking at my childhood, at all I have overcome, and really loving myself deeply.

With Acceptance on day 273.

14 thoughts on “How Deeply Can I Love

  1. Hi Wendy,I am so sorry you feel down. Why are we so hard on ourselves? Always wanting to be someone different, someone better? I am the same. I wish you lived close by, we could catch up. I am sure we would be good friends.The Brene Brown book is supposed to be really good. I have reserved it at the library (it is always out on loan so that must mean something!) I am hoping to learn something from it. It's good you are reading it again, I hope it helps you. I hope you feel better soon. It's awful when you feel so down and in a slump. Thinking of you.A x


  2. I understand your feelings of struggling. I think that the people with the cute clothes, clean houses and endless energy are probably (most likely) struggling too. None of us are perfect, although there are some who seem to be. Be kind to yourself! Lori K xx


  3. Wendy, reading your posts always makes me want to give you a big hug. (And I'm not really even a hugger.) I think you're right, acceptance and love go a long way in all this. xo


  4. Hi Wendy,Sorry to hear you are feeling down 😦 but also smiling at the list of 'things to do / people to be' that you have made. It is very, very much like my list. I guess it is a social stereoptype we are all after. :-/On the 'all or nothing': in the book 'Addictive personality' by Craig Nakken I read that the all or nothing mode is very much a trait that comes with addiction – or maybe the other way around. I have noticed that for me I use the all or nothing mode not to feel what is really going on. I am guessing by now it may be an escape for anxiety of failure. It goes like this: something goes wrong, I get upset and IMMEDIATELY choose to decide that I am worthless and hang around in depression for a few days until the feeling passes. There are a few effects to this: 1 I never get to deal with what was really there and 2 I stay in control of my emotions as being depressed is my 'choice'. 3 I don't have to feel the insecurity of Not Knowing. 4 When I berate myself I thinkg I am doing something good. Which is a sad left over of my destructive reaction to family dynamics.Sending love and hugs,xx, Feeling


  5. Are you serious? I saw your picture, you are stunning insude and out. Be gentle and compassionate with yourself. You can only be yourself everyone else is takenhugs


  6. I am the same way but I'm learning how not to be (if that makes ANY sense at all). Overcoming what we have in our lives makes it difficult to see the good that is inherent in us but I promise it's there.We just have to keep making progress right?The course is amazing. It's really made me look at myself in a different way. And I just love seeing Brene each week. Enjoy!Sherry


  7. I wish I was closer too, you post makes me sad. Sad that so many of us feel inadequate and lonely. I know. Me too. Sometimes.My intention at yoga last year was acceptance. Every day. Accept. What is. Not what could be. Not what was. What is in that moment.A year of that moved me forward some. I still feel the need to justify myself. Like – I was an über fit, intense, weight lifting, successful, extreme low carb successful person. Now I am a calm, more peaceful yogi. I have gained a little woeght and am now average. I was tough. I choose not to be anymore.But becoming defensive and justifying my current self sounds like I don't accept me as I am. It's a hard hard cycle.But I am learning. Learning to close my eyes and smile at myself when someone talks about dieting, boot camping, etc. I am doing what feels loving to me. That old Anne was so very unhappy with everything. Doing and trying to always be more left me forever a failure.The days I feel comfortable in my skin I know I am heading in the right direction.


  8. Dear Anne,I am keeping an open mind about life. Today was a day filled with connections. It was just joy. Yoga, coffee with friends, sunshine.This is what I find I crave!Thank you!xo


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