I am on a semi-blogging-sabbatical while I finish my second book (prayers please!!) While I am away some very generous friends have offered to step in and keep this place running. Sometimes it takes a village to run a blog! Today I am happy to share this post from my dear friend Jenn who really knows that we can all do hard things!
“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” ― Frederick Buechner
Last year was a big year for me. I finalized my divorce. My kids and I found a new normal for the three of us. I took control of my finances. And, after years of telling other people’s stories, I began to tell my own. None of it was easy, but 2015 turned out to be one of the best years I’ve ever had.
Now, here is a new year. Beautiful and terrible things will indeed happen. I’ve learned you don’t have to be afraid. You just have to be you. Here are some ways to start:
Get back up. My kids and I took a trip to Colorado last summer. I have never enjoyed mountain biking, but I promised myself I would not spend our entire vacation sitting on the sidelines. So, I hopped on my bike, determined to do my best.
I gripped the brakes the entire way, but I made it down in one piece. On the second run, I rode faster, enjoying the wind in my hair and the sun on my face. Suddenly, I hit a rock and wrecked.
Thankfully, I didn’t break any bones. I was bleeding in multiple places, but I picked up my bike and started walking down the trail. “Don’t you dare walk down this mountain,” said a voice in my head. “Get back on and ride.”
So, I did. All the way down. Smiling and laughing, because there was nothing else to do. The lesson? Take risks. Feel the wind on your face. Enjoy the ride. Expect to fall. Then GET. BACK. UP.
Quit caring what people think of you. This is a hard one. Especially if you’ve always tried to live up to other people’s expectations.
In order to do this, you must accept yourself for the messy, broken person you are. It means changing the tapes playing in your head from self-loathing phrases like “You’re worthless” to gentler ones like “You may not be perfect, but you are enough.”
Once you make peace with yourself – and learn to trust yourself again – it’s easier to quit worrying about what other people think and make decisions based on what makes you a better version of you.
I’m not sure I will ever master this. However, I am much more comfortable speaking my mind and being myself these days. It’s nice. Most days, I really like me.
Dig deep. When we were in Colorado, we went white water rafting. It was not what I expected. I thought we’d paddle when the river was calm and let gravity take us through the rapids. Turns out, we did the opposite.
We paddled hard as soon as we hit the rapids, and we didn’t let up until we cleared them. When the water was the fastest and the rocks were the closest, our guide would yell “Harder! One more!” There were times I didn’t think I could dig any deeper or go any harder. I wasn’t sure I had one more of anything in me. But I always did. And before I knew it, we were out of the rough and back into the calm.
I learned you can’t coast through the darkest days. When you think you don’t have anything left inside you, you have to dig deeper and go harder. I promise, you will always surprise yourself.
Forgive yourself. You’re human. You’re going to screw up. Not everyone is going to like you – or forgive you. Despite the amends I’ve tried to make, there are still people who are hurting from words I’ve said, decisions I’ve made and things I’ve done. Owning that stinks. Period.
You can’t make anyone forgive you – but you can forgive yourself and learn from your mistakes. Tell yourself you’re sorry. Accept your own apology. And then move on.
You may wreck your bike. You may flip your raft. But if you dig deep, you will always find a way to get back to calm, to enjoy the ride, to not be afraid – to be you.
Jennifer Cobb Pyron is the Director of Communications & Planning at Arkansas Children’s Hospital Foundation, where she directs the communications and strategic planning efforts of the fundraising staff. Jennifer is the proud mother of Charles Jr. (15) and Emily (13). She’s a self-proclaimed karaoke queen, part-time comedian and 80s trivia genius. She blogs about her messy life at JennCobbNito.com.