Just yesterday, Dustin's brother and his wife stopped by my house while they were in town for a baseball tournament for one of their boys. I knew they were coming, and I knew my house needed a little more attention than my children would give it in their daily chores, but I didn't have a lot of time to clean
We coordinated and decided to meet here at my house and then go to dinner. They were already driving when we talked, and it would only take them 10 minutes to get here. As we talked, panic set in. Suddenly all the things that normally only bother me a little... the weird pile of stuff in my kitchen that I don't know what to do with, the 10 or so bowls, pile of silverware and 3 or so plates that were in my sink, the crumbs of bread or cereal and a streak of Nutella on the kitchen counter, the catch-all zone on my back entry that has lots of weird stuff on it and so, SO many more suddenly-glaring things... made me freak out and set off the narrative in my head that has plagued me my whole life. This narrative tells me horrible things. It screams at me and is really quite abusive.
In my panic, I asked my sister-in-law, as I have so many other people, "Will you still love me if you see how messy my house is?"
She laughed and probably thought I was joking, as so many others have, and said, "Of course I will! (hahaha!)"
I ask this question in a way that sounds like I'm being funny, but there is so much more truth to this than any of those I question will ever know... and more than I ever realized myself, for that matter.
I am currrently reading a book called Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown. This is a powerful book. A life-changing book. An I-could-read-this-100-times-and-get-something-new-each-time kind of book. As I was reading it this morning, I came across this bit regarding shame:
we've done or failed to do, an ideal that we've not lived up to,
or a goal that we've not accomplished makes us unworthy of
connection [of love or belonging]."
I realized, as I read this, how very true it is. I had reacted exactly as this describes just yesterday. Allowing my sister-in-law (who sits serenely on a clean-house pedestal, in my mind) to come and walk through my entire house in it's moderately messy state was very much an ideal that I had not lived up to. And I, as I have with so many others, ASKED her if she will still love me if she sees how messy it is.
I learned today that I'm asking the wrong person this question. I don't think I'm worthy of love, belonging or connection because my house is less-than-perfect. I will try to have the awareness to ask myself instead, and then reply, 'Yes, Clancy. I still love you and you are worthy of love and belonging, even if your house is messy and even if other people see this.'
That's my awareness today.