Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Love Bomb! - Part 2

On my oldest son's 16th birthday we presented him with a bundle of letters from friends and family. The letters had been written in the weeks after he was born and expressed the hopes and dreams and pure joy that his life set into motion.  Reading the Love Bombs! encouraged my son to present me with a similar gift on my birthday. My birthday present was a green sparkly box filled with little slips of paper. On each slip he had written some of the things that he thought were proof of my awesomeness.  He told me that it was a box of reminders for those days when I was doubting myself.  I'm not writing this to brag, in fact the opposite is true.  My birthday was in May and it took me three months later to open the box.  Trust me, it wasn't a lack of self doubt or negative self talk, that kept me from seeking out the affirmations.

As I read his notes I was struck by the disconnect. The thoughts I have about myself and the ones that he felt compelled to celebrate were at odds. This I think is a universal truth. Whether it's good or bad, our perception of ourselves is almost always different, in part at least, than what our friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors think of us.  Take some of the reactions I had to my love bomb slips:

You inspired both of your sons to start committed gym schedules. Why did I sleep in today and miss the gym?

You have the talent of being able to interact peacefully and productively with difficult people. Why can't I have better relationships with_____?

You is kind, you is smart, and you is important.  This makes me smile because I love the reference and then a little twinge because I know that I need this reminder every day.

People have religious experiences when eating your Christmas cookies. Ok, some perceptions are just basic facts that can't be debated.

You make a commitment to stay in close contact with your friends, whether it be a breakfast date or on the phone. When was the last time that I called...?

You started a blog which is cool. I can't believe how long it's been since I wrote anything.

You've got some mad ping pong skills. True, so true.

Yellow Sticky Love Note #4
Yellow Sticky Love Note #4 (Photo credit: madlyinlovewithlife)
So why did I wait three months to open this amazing box of affirmations? Why did I actively avoid positive words of encouragement when I was feeling down? Once I opened the box, why couldn't I just read the notes and absorb the sentiments without any counter commentary? Why do we cling to the things that are still in progress, the flaws, the small imperfections? The fact that we are imperfect is not the big news. Imperfect people creating beauty, acting with kindness, supporting others, teaching, and working in spite of their deficits, that's what's amazing. Drop a couple of love bombs today.  Drop one on yourself too and then be quiet.
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