Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen. – Brene Brown
I’ve been mulling over those words in my post dental sedated stupor today. If you watched my Instagram live video yesterday, I shared an epiphany I had on a horrible trail run. Actually, I’ve known deep down the truth for a long time but needed the slog of that run to help me really see it for myself. So here goes my courage post for the day.
Matt and I had a very heated discussion Sunday. We try to walk on Sundays, using the time to connect over the week’s calendar, brainstorm strategies for our kids, do the budget check in – you know, the adulting we are supposed to do by our 40s. He’d been gone for a soccer weekend in Denver with Desta. I had stayed home and worked my tail off, trying to get things in place before I head to Brazil this Friday.
The rails came off pretty quick into our walk; the connection wasn’t happening and everything we said to each other was heard through a critical lens. I accused him of not caring about our kid’s education; a stupid argument. My words were meant to be mean and after almost 20 years of marriage, I knew exactly what to say to wound and hurt. Around mile 2, I simply turned around and headed home – like an ostrich with my head buried in the sand, I was done and wanted OUT.
As human beings, we revert to our childhood coping mechanisms. For me, it has always been easier to just blend into the background, wait out the emotional storm and then start over, never addressing the underlying issue. As the middle of three girls, I often felt that I was lost in the shuffle and frankly, I liked that place. I didn’t have to explain myself, I didn’t have to apologize and I most certainly didn’t have to take responsibility. While I’ve worked hard in therapy over the years to undo many of these unhealthy patterns, they still rear their ugly head in the heat of battle.
My sweet husband is so patient with me. He left me alone to process. It took me three days you guys! Three days to finally realize what was really happening in my soul. That is love y’all – to simply let mean words and criticism just sit until I was able to emotionally unpack it.
For me, the best emotional unpacking happens while I’m running. Mile four is when it hit me yesterday. In order to justify the current joy and happiness around me, I had to create an issue that would allow the happiness bubble not burst.
Forboding Joy: Everything is good so something bad must have to happen soon.
For me, I have to invent something bad to focus on. Everything is actually going really well right now in our home. We have worked out so many kinks with schools, therapy, medication, you name it. I feel that for the first time in a very long while, life is really good! That’s where this Forboding Joy kicks in.
This was a learned behavior from my childhood. I believe it came from this caught idea; we are God’s missionaries and are sacrificing for his work. People are giving us money to spread the good news and therefore we can’t be too happy. Life shouldn’t be filled with happiness all the time because others around us are suffering. We can have nice things BUT we need to make sure the supporters know we haven’t spent all their money frivolously. Conditional happiness – and that is incredibly difficult to undo and recover from.
I’ve carried that mindset with me into my adult life, always feeling bad when things are good. I create conflict, often with those I love the most, in order to justify, my happiness. Deep down I feel that I am not worthy of true joy. Raised in a conservative Christian home, we were taught that heaven is where we will have happiness and riches and glorious joy. However, here on this earth we must toil and sacrifice for God.
This idea that I can have JOY on this planet, in this life is one I’m just uncovering and settling into. It’s new for me and filled with all kinds of fear. However, I’m also reveling in the freedom of simply just being me – happy and content without any conditions.