WARNING: The following post strays from the usual lighthearted fare I usually present. Approach with caution and kindness, or just tell me to get over myself.
The other day my 4-year-old wrapped her arms tightly around my neck and said, ” I love you Daddy and I’m going to hold you tight and never let you go”. Tears started to slide slowly down my face, first because the sentiment she expressed depicted a perfect unconditional love that chases every other thought away and because it was without condition, I immediately wanted to reciprocate my love to her and felt wholly unable to do so with the intensity I felt inside me.
Of course I told her I loved her so much, and at 4 her understanding of my love for her is more practical in that I play with her and meet her various needs. Still it started me thinking how well do I really do at expressing my love to others. I find this exercise of reflection at once both difficult and destructive. I begin to internalize the multitude of ways I fall short and in turn begin to contemplate how I might do better.
This is a spiral that leads me down a path to a comrade I am intimately familiar with, self loathing. I want desperately to ignore this path, I would really rather call in a demolition crew to blow it up altogether! Truth be told we all have our internal battles to fight and as much as it presents itself in the physical world, this is a spiritual battle as well. Intellectually I can hypothesize that no one does it all right, that we all fall short, and giving our best efforts is enough. And so the battle rages between what I believe about myself and what my faith tells me I am supposed to believe.
I apologize for the depressing nature of this post, but, I do wonder how many of you share similar struggles. I realize I am probably not alone in these thoughts and also realize the thought of sharing them from this platform may appear to be over-sharing and encroaches on our comfort level about just how vulnerable we should be. However There is another side to our struggles. I believe many have private struggles and stuff them down, never to expose them for fear of ridicule or worse, those we have shared with don’t say anything, but suddenly their actions change, and by what they don’t say, judgement falls upon us.
In reality when things are exposed to the light of day usually positive outcomes are experienced, others share now (because it feels safe to do so) that they have struggled with similar issues. People who care are empowered to offer help, or even have an empathy to how those struggles were not their own, but because you have shared, it brings a new understanding. Bringing it to the light isn’t without risks, surely there will be those who have not yet reached a place of maturity allowing them to empathize. Still, the risk is in my opinion, worth the possibility of the reward.
I would love to hear your thoughts…