A Reminder That You Are Enough

After school, my seven-year-old spent the afternoon and evening working on his new comic story.  He created a comic about a boy who accidentally fell into a Minecraft portal.  The boy has to defend himself against Creeper and the weird zombie things.  (If you know about Minecraft, then you know what I’m talking about).  My son declined requests to play from his four-year-old brother.  Instead, my eldest son sat on the couch with a piece of paper, a pencil, and his imagination virtually all evening until bath-time.  My husband and I were excited and impressed by his focus. 

The next day, I received an email from Amazon about a shipment.  My “Learn How to Draw Comics” book was on its way.  My husband had ordered it.  It’s a cycle we have both participated in that goes like this:  Child shows interest in something.  We get excited.  We buy something to encourage the child’s interest in said something.  Child’s interest in said something ends.  Repeat steps with new something.   

I felt uncomfortable, but I didn’t understand why buying a book felt so wrong.  After all, the book was only ten dollars.  And my husband was doing something to encourage our son.  What’s the big deal?  

The problem was that while encouraging our son, we were simultaneously sending the message that his own ingenuity and creativity weren’t enough.  We were communicating that learning new things requires the use of external tools and resources that he did not already possess. 

Learning materials have their place, and there is nothing innately wrong with purchasing them.  At some point, however, the commercialization of learning stifles creativity.  The biggest danger is in forgetting that we are our own most valuable resource. 

When faced with a challenging new project, it becomes easy to forget that we are enough.  There is a desire to search for answers in the latest New York Times best seller, or consult friends and family to seek validation of an idea.  We convince ourselves that we lack training or experience despite having multiple degrees as proof to the contrary.  We delay developing something new out of fear that we lack sufficient education, training, experience, or the right contacts.    

I am guilty of forgetting that I am enough.  I forget that I already have the tools to take action on my next step.  I forget that most of the time, all I need is a piece of paper, a pencil, and my imagination.  I am grateful for the reminder.   

In case you are like me and need to be reminded, you are enough just as you are.  Trust yourself.

Unhappily Married to Unhappily Divorced: The Grass Isn't Always Greener on the Other Side

“What do you want?”

I ask others this question all the time.  The most common answer I hear, “I don’t know.”  Well, here is a secret:  Knowing what you want out of life is half the battle.  When your vision is clear, then you can begin taking steps towards the vision.  Without the vision, you will remain stagnant.  How does this apply to marriage?  Well imagine this scenario.

You are sitting on the couch, drinking a glass of wine.  You have had a sinking feeling in your stomach all day but you do not know why.  A bing comes from your phone.  When you pick it up, you glance at the date.  Then it hits you—today is the anniversary of your divorce. 

The past year flashes through your mind.  You and your best girlfriends traveled to New Orleans for your divorce party.  You downsized to a nice but small townhouse that is decorated with all the things that make you feel lovely.  Now the ink on the divorce papers is dry.  Although your home has changed, you feel as empty inside as you did when you were a Mrs.  You are still struggling to find meaning in your career and climb your way out of debt.  You continue to choose eating a bag of potato chips instead of foods that are nourishing.  You still feel angry all the time.  Nothing in your life is actually all that different as a divorcee.  When you look in the mirror you realize that you are the one holding yourself back.  There is no one else to blame.

Whether you are contemplating ending your marriage or you are unhappily divorced, there is good news.  You are the only one who can really get yourself unstuck.  Sure, there are self-help books, gurus, and techniques that can give you tools.  But it is your determination to acquire and use the tools that will make any difference.  If you feel clueless as to a starting point, begin with this question:  What is the ideal vision that you have for your life?  If anything in the world were possible, what would you want?

Engaging in self-reflection before divorce is essential.  Failing to self-reflect before divorcing results in carrying the same baggage from the marriage into your life post-divorce.  Getting clarity about what you want can help reveal the gap between where you are and where you want to go.  This then allows you to take steps towards living your vision. 

Identifying a vision for your life will give you a direction to move towards.  Take the first step. Write down your vision today.