As a woman in this society I was trained to consider everyone’s needs, feelings and opinions above my own. I was trained that my voice only matters in relation to the validation of others. I was taught that desire is dangerous and having an expectation will only lead to disappointment. I could not desire or ask for what I needed so I had to instead hope that by giving to others, maybe they would take the time to learn what it was that I needed in return. When I felt hurt because they fell short of my desires or did not provide for my needs, I simply lowered my expectations. It is harder to be hurt if you do not expect anything from anyone. So I gave and gave and gave and when I didn’t receive what I was looking for in return, I just gave some more. I believed the lie that giving myself away would eventually get me what I craved. The biggest problem is I ended up giving to others what I actually needed and then resented people for not giving me the same.
I have been challenged by these thoughts lately. I have been trying to notice what it is that I give to others that I often dont feel like I get in return. I wonder what it would look like if I gave myself all the things that I am constantly exhausting myself giving away. How different would my life look if I gave myself the Grace, Compassion and Space that I crave? How would it change me if I gave myself the Acceptance, Care and Trust that I freely offer to almost everyone but myself?
These questions are all well and good, but in a very practical way, what does it mean to scoop up my own heart and offer it deep compassion for all of the ways it has been broken? What would it feel like to gently come alongside my tender heart and whisper to it that it is a good and kind heart? What does it mean to give myself the grace of being able to not get it right all the time? Can it be ok to have space to make big mistakes and make healthy choices at the same time?
The answer is I dont know. I dont know the answers to any of these questions but I want to be courageous enough to keep asking them. I want to hold these questions and make space in my life for the answer to come. I am learning that when we hold questions open-palmed and press into that uncomfortable space of not knowing, it gives us an opportunity to not just know the answer but to become the answer.
“…and the point is to live everything.”-Rainer Maria Rilke
It is hard to learn the joy of pressing into the discomfort of questions because we are so used to pursuing comfort. I have news for you Pumpkin, the most beautiful parts of life are so incredibly uncomfortable. Remember back to the uncomfortable space of longing in your chest that you experienced from your first crush. Recall the tension when you lean in for a kiss the moment before your lips receive their soft reply. Think of the literal pains of what it means to grow in your body from those tender ages into adulthood. Go back in your mind and feel the stomach twisting discomfort of doing anything wonderful for the first time. If we do not embrace the places of discomfort we will wake up one day in the sorrow of having missed out on our entire lives.
Poet Rainer Maria Rilke offers the most beautiful invitation to us to be present to these questions…these unknowns. He says “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given to you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.“
Take courage friends. Let us live and make space for answers that will arrive if we are present enough to let them.