Men + Myself + God

Month: July, 2012

Living Your Worth vs. Knowing Your Worth

by Patia Braithwaite

So for twentysome years I’ve struggled with ideas of self-worth: am I enough? Am I too much? Can I be confident? I wish I was prettier…blah…blah…blah…

Then, around 22, I came to the realization that I WAS enough. I was pretty obnoxious about this revelation, and I shared it whenever I could. I communicated my “worth” by constantly saying the phrase: I know my worth!

Oh! I know my worth!

The thing is, however that the phrase was followed by silent questions/comments like: you see my worth too, right? You don’t? How can I show you? Please give me a chance to show you!! you still don’t see it? Well than I must be wrong about myself Ahhh, I’m sorry, you’re right, I AM worthless!!

So where does that leave me now? I am confident that I can articulate my wroth, but as I find myself knocking on 30’s door I am finally understanding that there is a difference between KNOWING your worth and LIVING your worth.

For example: You can KNOW you deserve the (organic, farm-raised, grass-fed) filet mignon of life but proceed to eat shit that people serve up every single day. You will eat crap and fill yourself up with worthlessness while knowing fully that you deserve better, But when you LIVE what you deserve…that’s it. You don’t eat shit. You don’t even smell it. You’re not outraged when someone offers it to you…you just know that it doesn’t nourish you. It’s not even on your radar…

So how do you pull “the knowing” out of your head and down into your arms and legs so that you can live it?

1. You stop trying to PROVE it.
In my other life I may (or may not) be an English instructor. In my (possibly nonexistent) classes we talk about thesis-driven essays. Here’s a quick overview for you: your thesis is an arguable position that you take (I’m simplifying) and your paper is an attempt to prove that position.

In my class that’s fine. Prove your point: A+.

The thing is, your worth is not an opinion. When you set out to prove it, you are making it susceptible to debate. It’s not up for debate. It’s a fact. Act accordingly.

2. Ask yourself WWID?
(I apologize if this is blasphemous), but ask yourself: what would I do? Jesus is awesome, but perhaps you his way isn’t the best way for you. Turning the other cheek, while advisable, might get you slapped twice. So instead of using “J,” use yourself. What would YOU DO?  I’d even add: what is the most loving thing I can do for MYSELF in this situation? Usually, the most loving thing for yourself is ultimately the most beneficial for everyone involved (though it may not seem like it at first).

3. Abandon the need to be right.
This fits into the first two. For example, I recently had a conversation with someone I KNEW was lying to me. Now, I KNOW my worth, right? This means I KNOW I don’t deserve to be lied to. That’s completely valid, but LIVING my worth means I don’t need to waste time and energy trying to convince this person that I know that he knows that he’s a liar! Sometimes, choosing to not to engage communicates more about your self-worth than any conversation ever could. When we let go of being right, we can open ourselves up to living more completely.

That’s all I have for now, but what about you guys: how do you live your worth??

The Unreliable Narrator: Adventures in Book Writing

by Patia Braithwaite

Why are you writing about men? Why not women?

For a long time I didn’t have an answer to this question. Then, when I got tired of not having an answer, I invented one: I cited feminism and patriarchal society. I cited a passing interest in men. I’ve cited the “fact” that God is most often referred to as a man. I cited the Bible.

I even got close to the truth when I said, “even with all my fancy book learning, I picture God as a man.”

The REAL truth though, has emerged in the wake of my last relationship:

I mistake MEN for GOD.

YIKES! Okay friends, don’t judge me, that’s hard to admit. I’m educated! My mother is a feminist (hi mom), but before you unfollow me, let me ‘splain: I’ve confused the love of God with the love of a man. And I suspect I’ve been moving thru life looking for men to convince me I’m enough.

[A fool's endeavor indeed...]

So why a book about men? Because I think that, initially, the book was my way of correcting my perception, without even fully realizing that was my problem.

No wonder I’m having so much trouble finishing it.

The truth is that I move thru the world like a broken person. Up until recently, I hadn’t been single for more than 2 months…in five years. That would be awesome if I actually had good relationships, but trust me…they haven’t been a picnic.

Somehow, I’ve become a person who has learned to see herself thru the eyes of her beloved. I’ve adopted the mantra of: he loves me; therefore I am loveable. The thing is, these dudes were flawed. Way more flawed than me, and with every failed relationship I’ve been able to validate horrible things about myself. So lately, I’m flying solo for a while and assessing the whole thing.I’m searching for God in myself and in the intangibles. I’m meditating and learning from teachers, both spiritual and secular.

I can feel the Universe nudging me to resume interviewing men and writing about it, but somehow it feels different…

I’m not sure how the book will change as a result of this realization (a realization that is embarassing to admit). Maybe it won’t change a word, but the energy has shifted, and for that, I’m grateful.

Are You Life Lazy?

by Patia Braithwaite

During meditation, the other day, this thought popped into my head: I’ve been lazy in my life.

I know I’m not supposed to attach to thoughts during meditation, but this one was too good to pass up. Anyone who knows me knows that I work fairly hard. BUT anyone who REALLY knows me knows I  LOVE vegging out, wearing sweats, not doing my hair, and a VH1 reality tv marathon.

I’m a low-maintenance, low-drama, low-octave kind of girl, and I love that about myself. I’m known to fall asleep during meditation and, since we’re talking about sleeping, sleeping in isn’t an indulgence; it’s a requirement. If it were socially acceptable to live my life entirely from my bed, I’d consider it…

That’s not the kind of laziness I’m talking about, though.

I’m talking about the kind of laziness that appears productive and can span our entire lives if we let it:  wake up, eat breakfast, tweet, go to work, lunch, work late, check Facebook, work overtime, get home, prepare lean cuisine, watch DVR, text friends, plan happy hour, pass out, wake up, REPEAT. Make no mistake, auto-pilot is a form of laziness. It’s not because you’re not doing enough (chances are you are doing TOO MUCH), it’s laziness because the best parts of yourself aren’t required to show up. You always know what’s next, you always know what’s expected, you don’t have to be present.

In the interest of full disclosure (we’re all friends here, right?) I got out of a 2 year-long distance relationship a few months ago and, while I was in that relationship, most of my life revolved around airfare, telephones, text messages, and virtual dates. I was so busy trying to be w/ my beloved, I stopped showing up in my own life. I should be clear: work still got done, days were full of activity, but I was being “life lazy.” My relationship became a place to hide — an excuse not to live in the present moment. So (now that it’s over), as I find myself strengthening connections with my friends and family, as I bear witness to myself laughing and smiling, I realize that I haven’t been “in my body” for a while. Usually I’d abuse myself for this, but I’m just so happy to be back I don’t even care that I was gone. Prodigal Patia has returned! Slay a calf! Throw a party…

Anyway, I’m struck by how easily we can slip out of our lives and simply go through the motions. I’m also re-committed to showing up as authentically in my own life. I will no longer allow myself to be life lazy…no more autopilot. The truth is, there’s no real reason to check-out: My life is pretty dope, and there are far worse places to be.

So, are you being life lazy? Share! :-)

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