My word for this year is LOVE. In all caps. Not sure why it has to be in all capital letters but I do know that when it came to me, that's how I saw it in my mind; in big, bold, gigantic letters, all capitalized. It seems only fitting that LOVE is my word for 2012. It's also the word God woke me up with on my 29th birthday AND is in the verse I'm meditating on this year.
"He has brought me to his banquet hall, And his banner over me is love."
(Song of Solomon 2:4)
It's only the second month of the year and I'm already pondering and learning a lot about what love is...as well as what it isn't.
Yesterday was a perfect example of what love is not.
Love does not produce or induce shame.
If someone is attempting to shame you or if you feel ashamed of who you are or what you struggle with, that person is not loving you they way they should and you deserve.
I repeat that person is NOT loving you the way they should and you deserve.
Shame and love don't go together....at all.
I had an interaction yesterday that left me reeling and full of unhealthy emotions. I felt unworthy, unlovable, incapable...and full of shame about something I only partially have control over.
My ability to be a good, healthy mother to my son was questioned and even thrown in my face as if to say, "You're a good mom sometimes BUT because of your mental illness, I'm not 100% sure you can do this." As if to imply that despite all the work I've done to find the right diagnosis and medication, and despite my progress in therapy, NONE of that is enough to overcome the fact that I live with a mental illness. NONE of that overcomes the fact that this person saw the worst parts of me for 2 years....
It hurts when a friend or loved one who's been close enough to see you at your worst, and in your most vulnerable moments, uses that knowledge to attack, shooting you with hollow round bullets instead of love, understanding and grace.
But as bad as that shit hurts and tears your insides apart, it's nothing compared to the Shame Monster who is stirred awake by such destruction and devours you whole.
That's what happened to me yesterday. The Shame Monster came to eat me alive and because I was already reeling from pain, I let him.
But after having two conversations with supportive and loving people in my life, who know about my weaknesses and struggles, I was able to remember one thing
I AM ENOUGH
That one sentence, that one declaration was enough to shrink the Shame Monster to the size of an gnat and become something I could easily swat away.
I am enough.
I don't have to hustle for worthiness.
I don't have to compromise who I am to prove otherwise.
I don't have to work for grace or love because they are already freely and unconditionally given to me from God and the REAL friends & family in my life.
I don't have to overcompensate or prove myself to anyone.
I am enough.
And that is something I'm learning about love, loving myself, and how others should love and treat me.
We can't change other people or how they treat us most of the time. But we can change and even choose how we respond and react to them and even situations that arise and try to make us feel less than.
We can choose to respond to ourselves with love, remembering that we already are enough, which in turn chokes out shame before it can even erupt and overtake us.
And? I am a damn good mother. Yes I had PPD. Yes I live with anxiety. Yes I am Bipolar. But I'm a damn good mama because I do what it takes to attain and maintain my health. And that....is enough. End of story
- Circle of Moms Top 25 Blogs on Postpartum Depression: Why I Want to Be Listed Among the Awesome (butterfly-confessions.com)