Every morning my husband and I read something aloud, and then we take turns talking about what we’ve just read. Today’s reading began with this:
“There is overwhelming evidence that the higher the level of self-esteem, the more likely one will treat others with respect, kindness, and generosity.”Nathaniel Branden
I love our morning readings and look forward to them. They are a wonderful way to begin the day and to connect with the man I’ve chosen to be partners with for the past couple of decades. I feel tremendous gratitude for him, for our children, and for my life, but I did not always feel grateful for my life. I spent my twenties and a good part of my thirties in the depths of self-loathing, coupled with a low grade depression without even fully realizing it. Those were years crippled by self doubt, and concern for what others would think and say.
Relationships eluded me, my rocky “career” path was littered with debris, making it all but impossible for me to really excel in any one job and climb that ladder of success. I stumbled from one job to the next, blaming myself for what I regarded as my inability to stick with any one thing. I was a perfectionist who convinced myself I was just being “honest” as I picked apart my ideas, and whatever I was able to accomplish. It was an unhappy way to live one’s life. I couldn’t see the connection to my unhappy life and relationships, and my unhappy relationship with myself.
I am almost 60 years old. As my birthday nears, I have been reflecting upon the twists and turns my life has taken. I do this with a great deal of compassion and love for that young woman who felt so lost and scared. That “rocky career” path looks quite a bit less rocky and more explorative now. I’m able to relish in the successes I had and not downplay them with a lot of “but…” The decisions I made seem less regrettable and more enlightening. Clearly I’m a slow learner, but am grateful that eventually I do learn. I am happier now than I’ve ever been. And while life continues along in a bumpy, often challenging way, I feel less bulldozed by those stumbling blocks, more confident in my ability to navigate, more compassionate toward others and myself.
I posted a YouTube video this morning that was different from what I’ve posted in the past. I speak honestly about what’s going on at the moment and some of the things I’m struggling with. The response has been immediate, and overwhelmingly kind, encouraging and thoughtful. I feel tremendous appreciation for all the people who are reaching out, sharing their experiences and giving me suggestions. This is the new world we find ourselves in. A world where friendships are made over the internet with people we may never actually meet in real life, but whose impact is massive never-the-less.
I am so grateful to all of you.