Perfect Picture,Broken Frame,Shattered Hope: Rebuilding your framework from the inside out.
As a child , my family and I lived in many rental properties each with similar decor. White painted walls sometimes with peeling paint , rugged holes from the previous tenants or the results of my childish curiosity. In one apartment,I sat against the wall without a chair for nearly 45 minutes trying to disappear . As a result, I left the imprint of my buttocks in the wall.
My mother’s response to these holes,cracks and other temporal imperfections was to cover them with a picture . Most of them were without frames,heavily taped and overcrowded the wall. In my mother’s perspective however,she had found a way to hide the ugliness of the wall and to show off what was important to her.
After a period of time, some of these images began to fade,others would suck into the cracks behind it and would roll off the wall exposing the ugly underneath. My mother would then quickly hang another picture to the cover the crinkled one. What resulted was an interesting collage of life- past,present and future all competing for space.
Recently, I began to realize that all of us in one way or another is perpetually covering up ,hiding behind and attempting to deceive others into thinking we are perfect . We have been fed messages from over the pulpit,in the media and among our social constructs that we must not ever let our game face show. Instead of authenticity ,we are are encouraged to show others an airbrushed life.
It is time that we stop allowing these messages to change who we are and who we are meant to be. It is time that we begin to peel back those layers and to do the work to heal what is behind the perfect picture, broken frame, and to restore shattered hope. To accomplish this requires rebuilding a relationship with ourselves.
We are often told as women in society and at church that our duty is to serve others to show love for God or for our country. Little emphasis is put upon self -love,self-care and rebuilding a relationship with ourselves. The reality is that we cannot give what we don’t have in the first place. The reality is that working on ourselves is not selfish but it is self-sustaining. As a B.L.S instructor, the first rule I share is YOU ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON.
This message is repeated several times throughout the course and I often have students ask why this message is so important. Students are encouraged to check for scene safety before proceeding. If the scene is not safe,they are instructed to find appropriate assistance and to change the plan .Just like in CPR,we cannot help others unless we are mentally ,physically and emotionally prepared . Otherwise,we are actually doing more harm than good. We are actually put ourselves and others in grave danger.
I have learned the following simple truths about self-love, self-care and rebuilding relationships. I share these with you today with an invitation to remember YOU ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON.
Keeping up with the Jones VS. Keeping up with me:
Social Media Accounts now have us pressured to show only the best side of life. That half baked bread or failed DIY attempt seldom reaches the public. It is rare that I see friends posting true emotions or real life experiences. Not only are we keeping up with the Jones,we are keeping up with the Smiths, Browns and families around the world. All of this keeping up is keeping us down. No matter how hard we try ,we will never equal up to a false product.
I have to realize that is more important to keep up with me. I need to ask myself : What do I need to recharge? Where can I take a step back? Why do I struggle to say no? Who can I ask to support me? What am I doing to process my feelings of inadequacy? How much time am I setting aside to work on keeping up with me?
Self -Care is more than bubble baths, days at the spa and binging watching television. It includes asking yourself these questions and doing an honest inventory. It is knowing when to step up ,step down and step back. Self-Care is about keeping up with yourself in all aspects of life.
The more we can keep up with ourselves, the less we will feel our voids with keeping with the Jones …and the Smiths …..
Remembering the Restoration:
If you think I am referring to the white dude and the golden plates,think again. I am calling for each of us to remember that restoration is necessary process for healing. Restoration means returning back to order that which is lost. Just like when you restore a photo or artifax,you must take away the “diseased material” and replace it. Within the
church walls,there is this fallacy that we are beyond repair. That once we have “sinned” our personal restoration is permanently marred. In life there are leaders,followers and trailblazers. We will have the opportunity to take on each of these roles. It is not the role that defines us,but the experience we have on the road we are traveling.
We must replace this idea that once we have chosen a different way ,that we are lost. There are no left behind marks on a pegboard, no wrinkled dollar bills or left behind candy wrappers. We are only responsible for ourselves and cannot cause another person to abuse us. Those who choose to abuse are not free from the consequence and sweeping these things under the rug does not show our faithfulness . As part of personal restoration,we have the right (not a privilege) to place boundaries on others and separate ourselves from those who have harmed us.
We are not broken and in need of repair. We may be wounded but we are not broken . Who we are is enough simply because we are on this earth. We are great and this life allows us to grow into our greatness. Our restoration allows time to rebuild,rejuvenate and find joy in the journey.
Taking a Step Back and Enjoying the View :
So often,I am bogged down with deadlines,work assignments,trainings and the drama of daily life , that I forget to step back and enjoy the view. I have to remember to honor myself by remembering the good I have done and being present in the moment. I try to recommit myself to the experience by putting my phone away and engaging in conversation . Other times ,I recommit myself to the experience by calling an old friend and catching up just because. I often ask myself “ Are you stepping back and enjoying the view or focusing on the next destination?”
Goal setting and planning for the future is crucial in our lives because it helps motivate us and provides a pathway to success. However, we fill not find contentment and peace until we can take a step back and enjoy the view. We are more than our goals ,our future commitments or life’s plan. We are beautiful human beings who have the right to enjoy the here and now no matter what it looks like. We must not be afraid of changing that perfect picture to one that speaks to who we are . It starts by stepping back,enjoying the view and be willing to change what no longer fits us.
Unlike in my mother’s home,we cannot simply cover up our the cracks, broken frames and shattered pieces of ourselves. We must build our framework from the inside out in order to be whole. I have learned that we must be willing to expose our vulnerability in order for healing to begin. When we do ,we become our true authentic selves . As my true authentic self,I can truly soar because my wings are not clipped by any religious dogma or societal norm. After all, I AM THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON.