I do hard things…
…and I’m better, stronger for it! #bravegirl
My friend Anne coined the phrase, “Hard is fun.” In her awesome Ten Centuries blog (which you can read here), she explains that by stretching our limits, conquering fear, and setting big, difficult goals – we learn all kinds of interesting things about ourselves. And for many, like Anne, hard is fun.
I share Anne’s tenacity for life. The “new Lori” does hard things. I seek adventure. Look for opportunities to conquer my fear. Say yes more than no. And run head strong into difficult things instead of running away from them.
Finally, I have confidence in myself and my abilities to live life to the absolute fullest. Even, and especially, when that means doing hard things.
But this was not always the case.
When I avoided hard, my life was small
For much of my adult life, I lived in a land of excuses for why I couldn’t do hard things. Privately, I reasoned that I wasn’t good enough, strong enough, or brave enough. Publicly, I explained this was just “how I was.” I said “I can’t” a lot and found myself apologizing often for things I felt I couldn’t do. I lived in fear. Fear of failure. Fear of vulnerability. Fear of change. Fear of what others might think. Sometimes, even fear of success.
The bottom line: I didn’t “do” hard. And, consequently, my life was small. I gave up love and romance, meeting new friends, traveling to exotic places, and tackling outdoor adventure, like mountain climbs and vigorous hikes. (All things I now thrive on!) I kept my life and my experiences limited to things I thought I could control. And for a long time, I convinced myself it was okay and I was happy.
But then one day, I opened myself up to the idea that there was a different way and I deserved more. I became aware that what I was practicing in my life every day wasn’t working for me and was limiting my potential. Ultimately, I realized I wasn’t really in the equation of my own life.
That’s when everything changed.
Saying goodbye is HARD. But, for me, necessary.
Fast forward to the past two weeks spent in my beloved Blue Hill in Downeast Maine. It was here that I went steadfast into “hard.” And this time, hard wasn’t fun, but rather necessary. I needed to do it for me. I knew I’d survive, and hoped I’d be stronger for it.
This trip was different than the others during the past two years. While I went to pursue some great work opportunities (and I am so excited to see how those manifest in my new favorite place on earth). Personally, I went to say goodbye.
In the course of a week, I said goodbye to my romantic love, my beloved dog, and my friends in the beautiful ocean community that I’ve come to call home. I grieved the loss of a dream that the next chapter of my life story would include a life here with my loves.
Now, I’m opening myself up to the idea that my life story may include a rewarding work-life in this amazing place, but it will look different than I imagined. There’s not much that feels worse than heartache, except maybe letting go of a dream. For an emotional being who lives and loves with her whole heart and whole self, this was excruciatingly hard.
Enter the brave, stubborn and steadfast, Lori. The one that lost 211 lbs and has kept it off for three years, and believes she can do anything! The Lori who knows herself really well and wanted/needed to let go with love and grace, finding some closure in order to move forward.
So off I went on a mission to let go with love. To be brave and “do hard” with dignity and grace. To say goodbye with gratitude. And to free my consciousness for the next amazing chapter – opening myself up fully to: What next?!
What I learned by doing hard?
Was it really, really hard? Oh yeah. Perhaps the hardest thing I’ve done thus far in life. Did I have a few emotional melt downs and experience some curve balls that challenged everything I’ve learned about healthily holding Lori in the Equation? Yep! Am I sad for the loss? Yes. Beyond sad. Am I still glad I did it? Absolutely. Did I find the closure I was looking for? I did to some degree. And I learned most of the closure will have to come from me. The hardest part.
This time, in the process of “doing really hard,” I learned…
- I am stronger than most. And definitely stronger and braver than I previously gave myself credit for.
- Although I am passionate and heart centered, I can find my logic button when needed.
- I can survive anything when I make up my mind that’s how it will be. The mind is the most powerful thing.
- When I set an intention and hold it tight, keeping my needs in check and not giving myself up in the process, I always find my way. That is Lori in the equation.
- It’s okay to ask for help and not go it alone. I reached out for help when I needed it and friends stepped up enthusiastically and compassionately.
- When doing hard things, it’s okay to take a time out, collect yourself and not react in the moment. When I do this, I conduct myself more graciously and am more the person I want to be. When I react in hurt and anger (which I’m definitely guilty of), I’m not the person I want to be. That’s when I need to forgive myself and admit I’m imperfectly human.
- I can be/live/do healthy, and be kind to myself in the midst of doing really hard things!
- I’ve developed the ability to hold my needs, and the needs of another person, at the same time with compassion. I am proud of that.
- I deserve love and connection and true happiness, and WILL find it again.
- I can do hard things…really hard things. In fact, I can do anything I make my mind up to do!
I am not naïve enough to think this is it for me in terms of grieving the loss. My heart still hurts beyond comprehension and I suspect it will for a long time. But I am proud of myself for following my gut, pushing past fear, and for giving myself and others a chance to let go with love. A chance to take the high road and do hard things, all the while holding myself squarely in the center of my equation.
The lesson for me in all of this is one of gratitude and pride. When you can close a chapter – not by choice but by necessity – letting go with grace and allowing yourself to be fueled by compassion and gratitude…well, I think that’s something to be proud of. I know there will be harder days ahead and I am not there yet. But…
I am a beautiful girl who can do hard things and remain in the center of her equation!
*Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. If you haven’t read it, here is the link.