My last blog post received this comment from a reader:
"this is such a shameful article"
I had published my post expecting that what I had written wouldn't land well with everyone. After all, I was writing about natural childbirth. And trauma. And asserting some flaws I perceive in the culture. As lightly and inclusively as I tried to tread, I could imagine myself in one person or another's shoes, feeling hurt by what I had written.
I wrote it anyway.
Like all of us, part of me craves acceptance and empathy and validation. I want people to like me, I want people to cheer me on, I want people to understand me. Receiving this comment required a lot of deep breathing, some grieving and a checking in with a few people close to me. The truth is, of course, that I will never be or do or say things that are pleasing to everyone. Or if I am, it's probably because I'm not being or doing or saying much at all, an experience that is its own kind of death.
Tomorrow we step into December. For many of us that means we step into a path toward one or a set of holiday celebrations. My experience of working with clients (and myself) in various context over the years is that approaching the holidays tends to keep us from being and doing and saying our truths.
We get caught up in cultural and family expectations that move us away from our north star, if you will. We spend too much money, we eat too much food, we eat foods that don't leave us feeling good, we move too little, we rest too little, we breathe WAY too little. In the effort to keep from being "shameful" to others we don't live out our own values and truths. We stop meeting our own needs.
If you're reading this, I imagine you have a desire to be healthier in one way or another. Or a desire to stay healthy. I invite you consider this holiday season that your own resilience is tied to your ability to encounter life on your own terms, to risk disappointing the people you want to please, to allow the possibility that someone will be pissed off at you.
So go ahead:
- Eat your food
- Prioritize your movement needs
- Sleep fully and deeply
- Let go of situations that raise your blood pressure
- Speak your truth
- Arrange your life in ways that sustain you
- Give only what you can give freely
These kinds of choices have profound effect on your health and well-being. There's nothing shameful about it!