Brene Brown

Brave

Have you ever heard the advice, or the rather judgement deflecting phrase “You do you”?

I have a friend who says it often when she doesn’t exactly understand another’s choices, or on the opposite side of the spectrum when she is encouraging me to stand in my truth and be brave enough to live my own life.

Example: Wearing a dress that is too short for my taste but happens to look fabulous on my friend.  “You do you.”

or

Example: I love seeing my parents twice a week even though I’m a grown woman.  “You do you.”

The concept is similar to Amy Poehler’s phrase, “Good for her, not for me.” Constantly pulled in a thousand directions, it can be challenging to remember that all we can do on this planet is capture “you.” You being me… you are following this right?

But what happens when “you do you” results in the fear of isolation and loneliness? I know that at times I don’t like to make decisions that are going to benefit myself for fear of disappointing others. Personal growth and embracing new opportunities gets thwarted because I much too often let others define how I am going to “do me”. Oh heavens, you don’t want to tag that phrase in a blog post. But do you know what I mean?

Let me try to explain. I’m starting a new job in a couple of weeks and am excited about the opportunity to go in a new direction with new prospects and responsibility. I had stomach aches giving notice at my current position when I knew that my leaving would disrupt the flow of things in my current situation. When I gave my news I was met with the most gracious response a boss could provide and support and good luck for my next step.

I am scared about what leaving behind a group of people I have grown to know over the last year will mean. Relationships are hard enough for me to maintain; what happens when I am the one changing course?

And yet, this is something that if I’m being honest with myself, I want. Me being authentically true means learning to live in the wake of the discomfort I am causing others and saying ‘we are all going to be ok’. I think women all over the country struggle with this. The idea of taking care of ourselves goes beyond getting a manicure or taking a nap. I’m learning it is also being beautifully brave in taking the next steps that are going to help me continue to grow. To “Lean In” as Sheryl Sandberg would say, or to embrace all that God has given us so we can develop into who we are meant to be.

In a recent post on Brene Brown’s Facebook page she was encouraging individuals to set healthy boundaries around the holiday season and her quote, “Be willing to choose discomfort over resentment” struck a serious chord in me. How often do we stay quiet, go with the flow, remain comfortable for fear of what others with think, or say, or do and then get angry. Angry at ourselves, angry at our situation, angry at others.

I’m noticing this pattern in myself and I’m wanting to put an end to it. No more anger for allowing myself to put me on the back burner while others glow boldly in the front. Instead, here is what I hope for in the year ahead as I continue to be me.

  • Growth – being ok with being uncomfortable
  • Keeping up this blog. Will you continue to read along? I’m going to write anyway.
  • Camp – the mountains are calling and I must go
  • Find a small group – I’m craving community and want a group of people to walk through life with. I don’t care your religion – let’s find a chance to connect and discuss all that is life over chicken noodle soup.
  • Start a retirement account – financial goals are becoming a reality
  • Continue to read. This year I think I’ve reached 43 books. Next year maybe more.

Being beautifully brave is a conscious choice that requires energy and discipline and self- care. I’m not feeling incredibly brave tonight, so write this as an ode to myself knowing I’ve got what it takes within me to continue to boldly step into the next stages, paying attention to what I need.

What helps you feel beautifully brave as “You do you”?

Essie Nail Polish: Jump in my Jumpsuit

Biscotti: None – but heavens have I eaten enough Christmas Cookies to last me until next year. I did make my dad this Shortbread Recipe

 

“I know, Katie, I know”

February 8th, March 16th, early May, June 28th, October 4th. What do these dates have in common? They are my friend’s wedding dates. How exciting! Wouldn’t miss it! As each new Save the Date rolls in I am thrilled to be a part of such a significant day in the life of someone I love. But when I also sit and am quiet, there is a part of me that comes out that I don’t quite love about myself. Beauty in self acceptance – right? Beauty in where you are at? Because when I admit it, with each new Save the Date that shows up in my inbox, or is posted on my fridge, I also get pretty jealous and my competitive nature roars its ugly head.  I was supposed to be first – that was supposed to be me. I am still, at times – ok right now, struggling with the reality that I chose to postpone my wedding. As we are getting back on the horse, so to speak, with the wedding planning I secretly hate parts of the decision that I chose to put things on pause. And while I love my friends dearly, and can not be happier for where they are at – a part of me wishes I was there too with the showers, and the dress, and the cake tasting too.

I am reminded about a post Jon Acuff wrote in his blog “Stuff Christians Like” (which is a hilarious blog by the way) called The Soft X. In it, Jon addresses how God speaks to us in times of disappointment, struggle, and unmet expectations. ” I know, my son, I know”, he says of God, and at times like this in my life it is hard for me to remember that God cares about the way I am feeling. There is beauty in the suffering. Perhaps suffering is a strong word here, as I know I am learning SO much about myself when expectations are unmet, or rather, life takes a detour you really could not anticipate. I have pretty high expectations for myself – Lighten up Katie, Lighten up! I, however,would like a little break from what my mom and I affectionately call a good ol’ FGO – Fucking Growth Opportunity – excuse the language.

And so, for this week, I am choosing to turn my attention towards the beauty in walking along side others through life – through the ups and downs, from the ouch that’s tough, to the celebrations and the Hooray look at you! This weekend, Dylan’s cousin got married, and it was a beautiful wedding, methodically planned out and a great expression of a wonderful couple I hope to get to spend more time with.  I hope they become better friends, and our go-to Fort Collins buddies! They are both so neat, passionate, funny, and committed people!

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While there were some moments in the weekend where I caught myself thinking, “I wish that was us”, I tried instead to focus my energy on what a blessing it is to be included in something so significant. To be a part of a large, wonderful extended family that I SO look forward to making my official “in-laws” and my friends and to walk through their joyous moment as I know they will walk through mine. My time will come and in the meantime it is helpful to remember that God is up there saying, “I know Katie, I know.”  Too, their is so much beauty in the opportunity to learn about yourself in the midst of unanticipated life changes. I am learning that it is ok to say, “Hey, this is where I’m at – all the pretty, all the ugly, all the unsure, all the confident for 5 minutes until something makes me tip just a little bit in a direction I didn’t even know was possible.” But I hope you will continue to walk with me through all of those questions. Maybe Brene Brown @BreneBrown would be proud. Maybe beauty doesn’t always need to be masked in optimism, maybe beauty is accepting exactly where you are – a mix of dark and light, of joy and jealousy, and of me and of you.