One of my favorite movies of all-time for no other reason than it’s DOWNRIGHT ridiculousness is Step-Brothers with Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly. That’s one of my ‘dinosaurs’ – I like dumb movies. I like to laugh. I am also the weirdo that can quote a movie after watching it once…if you’re good enough to keep up with me on the absurd movie references I can pull out, we’ll have great fun.
My journey is a process. It’s never-ending and honestly, I’m thankful for that. The more I walk along this path the more I see TRUTHS, bunked theories, things that work for me and things that don’t, and of course, the pursuit of happiness, which is different for everyone. I’ve reached, stumbled and learned many lessons along the way. But today, my lesson is about staying true to myself. And if I’m honest, *I* am my own worst enemy, my harshest critic and I’ve never really allowed myself to seek happiness. If I stay out of my own head long enough to fix everyone else’s problems, I will be good.
Except that lie I had been telling myself for years has finally crept up right in my face and I no longer can shy away from myself. I need to be ME, happy with ME, proud of ME and able to give ME to my family and other people I want to give ME to. So I thought, what is one thing that REALLY describes where I’m at that I can share today? THAT’S IT! No matter WHERE you go in life, don’t lose your dinosaur! For those of you wondering what the hell I’m talking about, you can find it here ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8gY0IT0CuA ). <—– BAD LANGUAGE ALERT – DON’T WATCH WITH THE KIDDIES !
When I got married, I gave and gave and gave….
AND GAVE every single ounce of myself to my husband. To Little Bear. To the court. To the documentation. To the ‘family life’ that was expected of me. I gave and gave and gave. And somewhere along the line, I stopped laughing. I stopped smiling. I stopped telling stupid jokes. I stopped being thankful. I stopped just ENJOYING LIFE.
I lost my dinosaur.
I’m not pouting, I have had MANY wonderful things happen to me and my family and I am SO very blessed. But when you spend all your time focused on what’s WRONG and living your WHOLE life for someone else and not allowing yourself to be….uhhh…yourself, or enjoying what makes you YOU, you quickly lose sight of things that MATTER. Like how GORGEOUS the sun is. Or how nice your husband smells. Or how soft the child’s cheeks are. Or how lucky you were that your car started this morning…you got to work on time…and you even were able to merge when traffic got nuts. I lost sight of how WONDERFUL my friends and family are. I forgot to look in the mirror and notice that I am attractive, and kind and funny and people GENUINELY enjoy my company. I forgot to remember how very special I am, and that no one else is now, nor will ever be, ME 🙂 Not staying TRUE to yourself and remembering to put YOU in the driver’s seat of your OWN happiness puts a much larger cloak of YUCK on your life than you might think.
Now, admittedly, the hardest journey I HAD faced to date was becoming humble. That was a tough one. To REALLY look in the mirror and say there are things I am doing W-R-O-N-G and if I actually took the time to admit my own faults and look at things from a perspective other than my own, I might actually find some peace. And peace I found. Oh did I ever find peace. I am in a place today where the petty BS that USED to pull me down, no longer does. I am in a place today where when I hear people ENDLESSLY complaining or in SUCH AN AWFUL RUT about the other party, my heart kinda smiles a little. It smiles because I’ve been there, I get it, but also because I know damn well that person TOO can find peace and let some of that go. Finding peace was hard. It seemed nearly impossible. But now that I have it, now that I KNOW how to achieve it, it can’t be taken from me. And yes, oddly enough finding peace had to come when I was willing to admit I wasn’t always right, and I had some crap ass qualities and behaviors.
But today…I’m on a different road (that happens along this journey). What about all the things I am right about? What about all the incredible qualities I possess that are MINE alone? What about some of my super great behaviors? What about the things that make me…….me?
I’d lost them. I actually allowed myself somewhere along the line to believe that I was doing everyone a favor by giving every waking breath of mine to my family. Every free moment. Every worry. Every thought.
Think about your friends. Why are they your friends? Your TRUE friends know all your crap but they love you anyway. They like the way you laugh. They like the stupid things you do in the car. They like your INTEGRITY. They like your values. They like your opinions (sometimes!), they like your personality.
My friends are no different. Man, do I love my friends.
But somehow I’d traded in MY personality, MY sense of self worth, MY dinosaur for this family. While it certainly IS all about compromise, where is the line of personality suicide? I already knew I was giving too much and starting to dislike who I had become. But I figured it was ONLY because I had no peace in my heart. Now there is an overwhelming peace in my heart but a lack of ‘know who’ (I am). Actually I know who I am, I’m just not allowing myself to BE who I am, or even be happy with who I am. It’s kinda like living with shackles. You’re so worried about what everyone else is doing or thinking or needing that you forget….hey wait! I am breathing too! I have needs too! I love ME too!
Today you should take some time and write down the things that make you YOU. The things YOU enjoy. The pieces of yourself that only YOU can offer the world, because believe me, we ALL have them, that is what makes us all unique. I challenge you to really assess if you value YOURSELF, or if you’ve placed all your value SOLELY on the strength and success (real or imagined) of your blended family. This blog is FAR from a shot at my husband, as I know he loves these things about me too and no one MEANT for this to happen. It is just possible to allow mediocrity and miscommunication to run your life sometimes…..DON’T LET IT <—– my advice 🙂
You can’t base your happiness or personal success SOLELY off of how your family is faring at any given moment. How are YOU faring?
Please don’t get me wrong, plenty of people would say the best thing that ever happened to them was to be a spouse and parent, and now you and your spouse are one and best friends, and move and breathe as a unit and your family is strong for it and you have a zillion extra curricular activities to keep you well rounded….
Okay, for those of you who say that that is great for you. That is just not me. I believe I can and should be attentive, involved, responsible and available (physically and emotionally) for my family. But I should also be all those things for myself. Many of us are guilty of relinquishing our own lives to live our spouses for them. I know that was harsh…so re-read it until it sinks in.
Again, MANY (not all) of us are guilty of relinquishing our own lives to live our spouse’s lives for them.We take on ALL the issues and then some. We forget we matter because there are unresolved troubles. We are in a CONSTANT state of putting ourselves down (often unintentionally) for fear of overstepping our boundaries. We believe our needs come last and forget we have a dinosaur that is ours, that we love, that no one should be able to take from us.
We can love ourselves and be ourselves without overstepping our boundaries or cutting others down.
I’m no different. I have been there, I am there. And I wanted to dive in and fix everything ASAP but in the process, I lost my dinosaur.
I love my dinosaur. My dinosaur is funny, caring, thoughtful, sarcastic, and is loved by many. We get so wrapped up in comparing ourselves to others and in making their lives our lives that we forget we are uniquely and wonderfully made. We deserve and should BE ourselves. Since, after all, everyone else is already taken. But I’d like to add another layer to that. Living your life for someone else leaves you COMPLETELY empty. So today, instead of my normal humble stance (where I ALWAYS encourage you to think of what YOU may have done wrong or what you could fix) take some time to focus on what you do RIGHT, what is ALL YOURS and YOURS alone, and what makes you YOU.
You’re incredible. You’re enough. Hell, you’re MORE than enough. And I am too. You don’t have to diminish someone ELSE’S dinosaur to embrace your own.
Parents are expected to compromise parts of themselves and their wants in order to meet the needs of their children. AND you must be willing to do the same for your spouse in order to have a healthy marriage. I do NOT disagree with that and I believe as a responsible adult, you make sacrifices where they are due. But you know what your kids and spouse really want? YOU. Your smile. Your involvement. Your dinosaur. It’s a balancing act. But don’t go believing for one SECOND that you are doing anyone a favor by pretending you’re not tapped out if you are. Your spouse picked you for a reason. You are learning to have a relationship with your stepkids and if you are NOT trying to replace anyone (and ahem…please don’t) you’ll find that they want the AUTHENTIC you. Dinosaur and all.
And most importantly, don’t lose your dinosaur simply for YOURSELF! You deserve it! Stay true to YOURSELF. If you’re not happy, stop faking it. There may be a million reasons why you’re struggling, start with peace…be humble…find patience, but ALSO remind yourselves of the things you love and want and need and don’t let anyone tell you they are wrong, or you’re not getting them. One of my FAVORITE quotes ever is the following:
Staying true to yourself ensures you never have to settle, or live a life without your dinosaur, which again is what makes you YOU. You know why more people aren’t walking around happy, fulfilled or with a real sense of peace? Because they aren’t staying true to themselves. Just because you’re true to YOU doesn’t mean you have to screw other people. It means you have to remember YOU are special, YOU are enough and YOU are unique! Being humble doesn’t mean being down on yourself, it means allowing yourself to notice your own faults and not blame them on others. There’s not much that is more dangerous than living blindly and blaming everyone else for your problems. Unless of course you’re living SO humbly without remembering why you’re so awesome, losing sight of the beauty you bring to those who love you and are lucky enough to have you in their life.
Keep both ideas in mind, be humble AND kindly confident and hop on your dinosaur. Your family may be totally freaked out by you saying you need to be true to yourself and standing up for you and your dinosaur. Mine kind of is right now… They are surprised that I am making some changes in my behavior and in what I will and won’t put up with any longer. Not because they want to hold me back but because change is hard for ANYONE. But in the end, they’ll thank me and what better example to teach the kids? They have dinosaurs too 😉