By Melanie Speros
“'Even if it’s not true enough, maybe it’s good enough.’ But good enough is what makes people drink too much and snark too much and become bitter and sick and live in quiet desperation until they lie on their deathbed and wonder: What kind of life/relationship/family/world might I have created if I’d been braver?”
These words, on p. 74, came out and shook my shoulders. It was my aha. My OMG. Mindblown.
How often do we live with what is good enough? How often has our knowing been quieted and our imagination lost so that our cages remain intact? How often have we been too afraid to acknowledge the feelings? Too afraid of the pain or the difficult stuff that we just push it away and distract with tasks, eating, drinking, shopping…etc. Or maybe we just don’t even know what we are feeling. We were never taught to recognize our feelings and let them be.
Social emotional learning has become a really important topic in education today, even before the pandemic, but now, even more so. One of the important components of that framework is “self-awareness”. Defined by CASEL as “the abilities to understand one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior across contexts.”
How many of us never grew this ability? With my third grade students, we explore emotions and different words to describe them (ex: Was the character annoyed, frustrated, angry, furious…). We discuss it in the context of our fiction stories, but we also bring it to ourselves. So many kids identify as happy, sad, mad, but do not get more specific. Often they are just reacting to their feelings and do not even necessarily articulate them. Does this sound familiar?
It does to me. I think Glennon’s “keys” to freedom are so beautifully wise. We need to feel it all and not be afraid. We need to trust ourselves. No polling. No internet searching. Just listening to intuition/God/yourself. Then we need to imagine something beyond “good enough.” Having the courage to do that brings you to what is true and beautiful for you.
All of this resonates so much for me but is so incredibly difficult. I believe I have lived in a bit of a haze, not really paying attention to my feelings, my knowing, or my imagination. As Tracey says, I have been “shoulding” all over the place. Beginning to pay attention is scary. It is hard to trust myself. It is hard to know what I “know.” I have not really experienced what Glennon describes as “warm, liquid gold” when she acknowledges her knowing. I still doubt myself, have a lot of questions, and am really confused.
What I do know for sure is that the time has come to pay attention, even if it is scary. Even if I am unsure. The time has come to listen to myself and what I need and know. The time has come for me to imagine something true and beautiful. And then, let the old burn so that freedom can come.
What resonated for you in this section?