Let’s get real, can we?

shan

Can we get real for a moment, friends? I mean, real.

Shed the layers. The perception of who we should be.

You know what I am talking about. The perfect themed birthday parties. The effortless Facebook family pictures. The Pottery Barn homes filled with the sweet smell of cinnamon and pumpkin. And the wonderfully prepared Whole30 meals that everyone in our family adores (I mean, come on).

The people who do it all. They have it all. And they feel on top of the world every day.

Newsflash – these people don’t actually exist.

But yet, we continue to put this pressure on ourselves to be exactly this. Hell, I am guilty of it at times. And don’t get me wrong, it’s ok to show those parts of our lives, too. The moments that make us laugh. The moments that make us proud. But, we have to be careful we don’t contribute to the perpetual cycle of perfectionism.

It’s taken me almost 38 years to get here, but now I crave moments of real self-awareness. Being brave enough to be vulnerable, taking some humor in owning what I am not. Feeling good in my authentic skin. Shaking off my imperfections. And smiling about my beautifully messy, non-Pinterest self.

I recently shared my story about mental health and my experience having an eating disorder. The truth is, I never really hid this part of me and those close to me knew bits and pieces. But I never really told my story. Opened up and said, “This is me”. But as I started to think about it, I came to the realization that this experience shaped who I am today and sharing these stories matter. They break down stigmas. And the encourage others to talk about their stories.

I also shared our struggle with our son’s ADHD a few years ago. The challenges in navigating something that was very foreign to us, and the feelings of isolation in not knowing what to do. And coming to a place of understanding and newfound acceptance and love around this wonderful piece of our child.

Sharing these stories were hard. Terrifying.

But if I have learned anything over the last year, it’s that we all have a story to tell. A story that our world needs to hear. Stories that make us unique. Connect us together.

Stories that encourage others to talk about hard things. The things that scare us.

Because these are the stories where the magic happens.

But I recognize, it’s not that simple. It’s hard to let go of years of thoughts, behaviors, and experiences that have shaped who we are today. And the energy we put into shaping who we think we should be. We’re naturally wired to avoid these stories.

Because it can be scary. For so many reasons.

It’s easier to keep it in. You think, “Why would I show others the imperfect parts of me?” or “It’s much easier to just say I’m fine. Let’s not bore others.”

It’s easier to keep it isolated. Almost like an alternative existence between you and God. Because it’s safer that way.

It’s also easier not to ask for help, right? This way, you’re not burdening others. You keep the control. And who doesn’t love having control? That’s way easier. You always know what to expect.

Or maybe you’ve just accepted this is your normal. The cards you have been dealt.

But, let me ask you.

Is this really living?

God gave us this this beautiful life. A life equally full of joy and hardship. Powerful experiences and crazy emotional highs and lows. A life that gives us new perspectives and grounding moments that help us grow. But God intended all this for us. The good and the hard. Most of all, he gave us this life that is worth fighting for every day.

I will tell you that by no means am I in this space every day. Just ask my husband. BUT, I do wake up each morning ready to show up dedicated to this mindset. And I surround myself with people who show up in this mindset, too. And I will tell you, I keep these people very close.

So, I have a proposal.

If you have a story. A struggle. Something that you wish you could say, but you’re afraid, please talk about it. It’s hard, but I promise you can do it.

And if you are comfortable, I want to help you share it. Let’s open our village. Even if it’s a favorite quote. A motivation for someone you know struggling. Something you wish someone would have said to you during tough times.

Send it to me and I will share on my Midwesternmamai Facebook feed (and I won’t share your name if you don’t want me to). You’re exactly as you should be. Every brutiful part (thank you, Glennon).

So, let’s talk about it.

Love you, friends.

– Shan

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