It’s all on you

Lady in WaitingImage by jimmy brown

I’m like you are. I’m living, going along, getting hurt, trying to figure stuff out, contending for love, well being, and peace…all the same old stuff most of us are fighting for.

I watched The Bacherlorette (guilty pleasure that I feel no guilt indulging). The episode was a tear-jerker. Guy A didn’t reciprocate Girl A’s in-love feelings the week before she expected him to propose! Much weeping and gnashing of straight, white, Hollywood-bound teeth ensued.

I watched and thought and felt. This gorgeous southern Californian young woman declared on national TV that she always falls in love and never gets it back the way she wants it. Meanwhile, two other studs are crazy about her and she’s going to show them to the same teeth-gnashing door Guy A showed her. Will they, too, say that no one ever loves them the way they love the woman?

I could not tear myself away from witnessing the emotional train wreck (nor could Twitter), and I found myself epiphanizing (you’re welcome – new word).

It’s a human experience to long for what we need and to wish for it to come from the outside in.

You and I have unmet longings, our kids are accumulating their own set faster than we can fill the bucket. All people want to be known, cherished, appreciated, and loved.

As parents, we do that for our children and most of us try to (some of us may as well have Ph.D’s in nurturing and empathizing). But eventually the day comes when you discover that this precious person is still lonely or heartbroken or hurting, and nothing you do touches their pain.

My epiphany inspired by Fake Reality TV that weirdly produces very real feelings is that it’s all on you to make your own life good, to fill your own bucket. Some of us turn to a spiritual life to find serenity and peace. Others grow, evolve, and find their inner “wa” through running marathons or hiking in the foothills or growing the perfect summer tomatoes or listening to music.

The reality is: your life is what you are courageous enough to make it.

It can’t depend on someone else’s romantic overtures.

It can’t depend on proof from your children that you did a good enough job shielding them from the inevitable pain of growing into adults.

It can’t depend on having enough money or living up to the standards set for you by your parents, teachers, or culture.

Your happiness is not “out there.” As the saying goes, “Happiness is an inside job.”

Our joy or peace or serenity have to come from the inside. Yet somehow we’ve been tricked to think that self-confidence is a posture to take, not the formation of a core self-protection, built from our own admiration for who we are.

In a homeschool, if you are focused exclusively on making sure everyone else has what they need, but your sense of purpose or well being is absent, the overriding experience for your family will be, “No one’s home.”

Conversely, if your strength undergirds your daily experience, you become an anchor for yourself, and consequently, for others as well.

Bottom line: It’s all on me. It’s all on you.

We have to show up in our own lives, and not delegate our well being to our family members. When they disappoint us, we wind up crushed on a beach in Antigua feeling that no one will ever love us the way we crave, minus the beach.

But we can be there for ourselves, over time, inch by inch. We can make decisions for our own benefit that create harmony inside. We can risk disappointing others to take care of ourselves.

Don’t let anyone steal your well being. It’s not up for sale. You can’t get what you need through appeasement or accommodation. No one will reward you for being good by meeting your needs.

It’s a lesson I keep learning, in a seashell sort of spiral. It’s all on me to ensure that my life is rich, satisfying, and not dependent on others to fulfill me. It’s also my job to let the others in my life make that same journey, and to believe that they can.

I felt sorry for Desiree, the Bacherlorette, because her tears were so familiar. We all have that little space in our hearts that we wished someone else would fill, yet it can only be reached through self-care.

You deserve to be good to yourself. So do I.

What’s that quote? “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

Now go take your sweet self out for a candlelit dinner at sunset.

Dining.Image by Caitlin Regan

Cross-posted on facebook.

One Response to “It’s all on you”

  1. Sue says:

    Wow! Such a timely column for me, and so well said – haha, which is why you’re the writing teacher, and we homeschool Mom’s simply follow your lead :).

    Thank you so much for the thoughtful reminder and inspiration.