Baby, Have I Got News for You … Good News.

I’m having a hard time is a tough place to start.

Walking a peaceful path. Photo Credit: Summer McCreless

But alas, it was true for me a while back. I’d been trying to walk a path of love and trust, but my (metaphorical) feet kept slipping.

Do you know the feeling? That feeling you get when you want to snap out of a critical mindset, but it’s just really, really hard? The way you know better than to judge yourself and others, but you keep doing it anyway?

It was like walking along an icy street in winter. I have good balance; I was a competitive figure skater. Even so, I was … slipping. I didn’t fall, but for a terrifying time, I’d slide into unhealthy thoughts.

You’re not good enough. Your writing isn’t either. Your last post was lackluster. You’re not where you thought you’d be with the blog and reaching a wider readership, and it’s because you’ve screwed up irrevocably. Good luck getting back on track, or ever seeing those crazy dreams come true.

I managed to right myself, but still, I was shaken. I wasn’t comparing myself to others, exactly. Instead, I was making comparisons with an imagined, ideal self … and I was falling short every time.

When I realized that my thoughts were going crazy, I tried to get quiet and listen. When I did, this letter is what I heard. Something tells me that I have to be brave and share it. Someone else might share this struggle; someone might need to read this today. If so, this is for you.

***

My dear,

I hate to break it to you, but you’re scared, honey. There have been some really positive developments in your business and blog lately, and they’ve brought up some old insecurities. You’re afraid, and you don’t want to feel that fear, so you turned to self-blame. I understand.

You are making progress. If there was no progress being made, you’d have no reason to feel such anxiety. In fact, you’re anxious because you’re making progress, because that forward motion is triggering old hurts.

You want, so desperately, to feel legitimate. (And also, you want to be able to spell legitimate without consulting spell check.) You want to feel validated. It’s not subscriber numbers or fame you’re after, not really. Underneath all that, you just want to feel like you’re OK as you are. Loved as you are.

Given this, I have good news and bad news for you. The bad news is, all the acclaim in the world won’t give you what you really want. How do you know this? Read the Praise page on your website. You have so many glowing recommendations that a friend of yours actually cried when she read them, because she’s so proud of you.

Yet those acclamations – from fellow writers, clients, and New York Times bestselling authors – haven’t dispelled your fear. They can help you feel encouraged, honey, but they can’t help you feel worthy.

I know you want more of that praise, and I’m glad you’ve received it. I want you to have every good thing. But that’s not what’s needed now.

What is needed? Beginning again. Feeling what you feel. Telling the truth. Doing the next right thing. Connecting with real friends, the kind of people who cry over your website because they love you so much.

And that’s the good news: you already have everything you need. You are already everything you so badly want to be. You may wrestle with that, but it’s true. You already have that acceptance, that validation, that love. It is where it has always been, where I have always been: right here.

 I am always with you. Don’t be afraid.

***

There are just 5 days left to contribute to our our charity:water campaign! (Read the story here.)

Fill somebody’s cup today.

All together, we’ve raised $286, and our goal is $350. Thanks to your gifts, 4 people will have access to clean, life-giving water — and when we hit our goal, that number will jump to 5 people. We have just $64 to go!

charity:water is a non-profit, committed to bringing clean, safe drinking water to developing countries. Private donors cover all operating costs, so 100% of our donations go directly to water projects. Fill somebody’s cup – make a contribution today. The campaign will close this Saturday, August 31.

Thank you for your generous support!

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Fill Somebody’s Cup: An Unconventional Birthday Wish

Home renovation projects: they can wear on you.

Viva la tiny bathroom!

You stumble over construction supplies, and everything is forever out of place. The cat dips her paws in the polyurethane your husband’s using to top-coat your wood floors. (And then she proceeds to lick it off.)

Everything takes so much longer than it’s ‘supposed’ to take.

Need a glass of water? Too bad. You can’t have it right now. Your entire kitchen, including the sink, has been blocked off for a week. The water pitcher doesn’t fit in the bathroom sink, so you take it to the tub.

In the process, you skillfully avoid the other dishes in your tiny bathroom. (You also try to avoid thinking about how you really should clean this bathroom.)

You fill the pitcher, and wait. But naturally, you do something else while it’s filtering. You get immersed in your task, forget you were thirsty, and then wonder why, an hour later, your throat is parched.

***

Photo courtesy of charity:water.

The terrible thing about the whole renovation process is that it’s disruptive. And the silver lining is the same.

Going through an elaborate process to get water isn’t what I would choose. But I don’t take clean water for granted as much as I did before. Now, I appreciate every filled glass.

It’s a (little) bit like going to a developing country, where people draw water from wells, walk long distances, and carry it home.

A place where the process of getting clean water is time-consuming, arduous, and absolutely essential.

***

Make a wish …

Tomorrow is my birthday – I’ll be 28. I always get reflective this time of year. And the thing I’ve been thinking about? Water. (Great for reflectivity.)

It’s really easy to get comfortable when you have conveniences at your fingertips. But what happens when the little things you count on – like being able to have a glass of filtered water whenever you want one– are stripped away?

When I consider this, I’m just blown away by everything I already have, everything I already take for granted.

So, for my birthday, I’d like to ask you to consider giving to charity:water.

I’ll be making a donation, and I’d be honored if you’d join me.

charity:water is a non-profit, committed to bringing clean, safe drinking water to developing countries. Private donors cover all operating costs, so 100% of our donations go directly to water projects.

***

If you’d rather not donate at this time, of course I understand. If so, consider doing an act of service instead. Go above and beyond for someone else, and be sure to share your story with us in the comments.

It’s the story of our lives: We are empty, we are filled, we are overflowing. Sometimes in the span of seconds.

And so often, it doesn’t take much … to fill a cup, to listen close, to hold out a hand.

That’s all. And that’s everything.

***

PS – I was inspired by this post (and many others) from Glennon Melton of Momastery. And I first learned about charity:water from Courtney Carver‘s birthday campaign at Be More With Less.

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