How will you “Rise Strong” after a fall?
Cheers, dear readers,
These past few posts, Eric and I have shared the challenging “oh-my-goodness-roller-coaster-of-emotions-how-on-earth-do-we-deal-with-them” it can be when our close friends have little rugrats while many of us happen to be struggling with infertility, the subsequent treatments, and all of the often unexpected emotions that come along with that experience. Many of us may wrestle with a real emotional conflict rumbling inside of us at times. There were days where I felt like a virtual Jekyll and Hyde – one minute feeling joy and excitement for my friend, the next the “depressing ooze of self-pity” (as Eric so eloquently described it) once I had a moment to myself. As Will Ferrell’s character says in the movie Zoolander: There were days where I thought “I feel like I’m taking CRAZY PILLS!” Was I literally going insane? One minute happy, the next minute sad – with seemingly very little control over my emotional well-being and internal compass.
In my last post, I spoke about how important it is to “own our story” – and that includes the stories of us falling down – as they help make us who we are. “Owning our story and loving ourselves through the process is the bravest thing we’ll ever do.” I can vouch for this! If you think “owning my story” by writing this blog with my dear husband is easy, I assure you it is not. It makes us squirm in our seats to share some of these revelations about our struggles, sharing some of our most difficult memories, emotions or moments we are not proud of, as well as experiences or procedures that we would rather soon forget. But that wouldn’t help us any more than it would help any of you. By owning our stories – the good, the bad, and the ugly – we give others permission to do the same – to be human, to struggle, to fall down, to be uniquely you. Eventually you may find that you have special gifts based on your experiences that are worthy of sharing with the world! The world needs you and all that you offer – beautiful, spectacular you.
It’s also important to note that once we fall down and bravely force ourselves to get back up again, we can never go back to the same person that we once were. Having the courage to rise again after traumatic experiences essentially changes us, sometimes from the very core. Not only may we feel a sense of loss from this experience, but others around us may feel a loss too – the loss of the “old you”. Where did she go? That happy-go-lucky-silly girl from the past may not be the pensive woman with war wounds of the present. But remember that the woman or man of the present is AWESOME – new and improved you for having gone through the struggle and survived. Go you! What can you teach us now?
Lastly, Brené Brown points out in her book Rising Strong that “comparative suffering is as function of fear and scarcity. Falling down and facing hurt often lead to bouts of second-guessing our judgment, our self-trust, and even our worthiness. ‘I am enough’ can slowly turn into ‘Am I really enough?’” She points out that fear and scarcity trigger comparison – whether we are comparing our pain with someone else’s, or our accomplishments. “The opposite of scarcity is not abundance; the opposite of scarcity is simply enough. Empathy is not finite, and compassion is not a pizza with eight slices. When you practice empathy and compassion with someone, there is not less of these qualities to go around. There’s more. Love is the last thing we need to ration in this world… Hurt is hurt, and every time we honor our own struggle and the struggles of others by responding with empathy and compassion, the healing that results affects all of us.” Yessss!!!! Healing! We all need more of that!
Here’s a quick summary of Brené’s method for picking ourselves back up after a fall and dealing with our often pesky emotions:
THE RISING STRONG PROCESS
The goal of the process is to rise from our falls, overcome our mistakes, and face hurt in a way that brings more wisdom and whole-heartedness into our lives.
The Reckoning: Walking Into Our Story – Recognize emotion, and get curious about our feelings and how they connect with the way we think and behave.
The Rumble: Owning Our Story – Get honest about the stories we’re making up about our struggle, then challenge these confabulations and assumptions to determine what’s the truth, what’s self-protection, and what needs to change if we want to lead more wholehearted lives.
The Revolution – Write a new ending to our story based on the key learnings from our rumble and use this new, braver story to change how we engage with the world and to ultimately transform the way we live, love, parent, and lead.
In my coming posts and musings, I will go into more detail on how this process has manifested in my own life and how it can help you on your journey. I am really finding Brené’s work to be groundbreaking and oh so relevant to those suffering from infertility.
Please join me next week to hear more about my personal journey down the infertility path. I look forward to speaking with you. And I wish you the best on your journey.