We’re All Chocolates in a Box

Humans are like chocolates in a gold shiny Godiva box. There is the outside showing – our appearance in created grandeur. And then there is the inside – whatever lies deep in the middle of our bonbon.

For some, what you see is what you get. Be it plain, delicious or dangerous, you can tell by looking at us what you will bite into. At least the taster is forewarned.

For some, we keep the mystery. Our appearance gives no clue as to our center. We surprise. For our middle is decadent. One bite and the chocolate connoisseur wonders where the hell you’ve been all his or her life. You are a gift waiting to be cherished. And lucky you, someone had the willingness – and the patience – to pick you out of the box and unwrap your treasure. Molten sweetness in the inner recesses, hidden from plain sight.

And then for some, an intricate outside hides dynamite. Just when you thought you chose the pick of the chocolate box, it proved to mask humanity at its worst. Be it empty or toxic (unavailable, affair, abuse or addiction), there was no sign that your chosen chocolate had such capacity. Surprise did not lean in your favor this time. One of life’s most painful falls.

Be it good or not-so-good, every relationship can teach you something. You grow a little wiser. Your taste buds sharpen. You learn when to hold tighter and when to let go. You figure out what works for you and what cannot. You discover the difference between what you must have and what you only want. You become an expert at the range and capacity of human character.

So, dive in, my friends. Chocolates abound. Just keep in mind that what you see is not always what you get. A label they should add to the outside of the candy box.

Self-Compassion Over Self-Esteem

The concept of self-esteem is so elusive. What does it mean? How do we measure it? Do we have enough? Can we have too much? Should everyone get a trophy and does that enhance or diminish authentic esteem?

Hell, if I know.

I prefer the term – self-compassion. And make that a verb, will you? An intentional undertaking to defeat our mighty self-attack.

Self-compassion is having a relationship with our self that involves acceptance. Worthiness. A sense that I am enough and I can forgive myself for all human inadequacy and failure. I allow myself to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes. I actively extend inwardly the same kindness and understanding as I would outwardly toward someone else.

Today, visualize cloaking yourself in warm regard. Because, you are a work in progress and self-compassion will take you a long way on your healing journey.

Doing the Prep Work

I did not see that one coming.

We all can write that chapter. The one that snuck up on us. The one that wasn’t what he or she appeared to be. The out-of-nowhere stressor that popped up like an eerie jack-in-a-box. The phone call or text message that something – someone – who once was is now not.

I did not see that one coming.

Life can be beautiful but it definitely is unpredictable. Anything can happen at any moment. It’s a wonder we have the courage to put our feet on the floor every morning. Our warm comforter seduces us into safety.

Thus, to withstand life’s inevitable stress we need resilience. A stock pile of resources that help us adapt to a shifting ground. Tools that allow us to either keep standing or stand back up when we fall.

What’s in your tool-box? Our long-term health requires the building and maintenance of both a variety and a plenty of coping skills. Think wholistic. Taking care of your body (sleep, nutrition, exercise), your heart (emotional literacy, therapy), your soul (values, meaning, meditation), your community (friends, family and partnership) and your mind (intellect, hobbies, reading).

The more you strengthen your adaptive capacity, the less fearful you are. Life becomes less threatening. Thus, you can grab it with gusto, show up with both feet in. For, when the shit hits the fan – and it will – you are walking solid. You’ve done your prep work. You may not have seen it coming, but you knew it was coming. And you were ready.

Are You My Mother?

I am not a big fan of Mother’s Day. Any female can give birth, but not every woman can raise a child.

Mind you, I participate anyways. Hallmark gets my money and my mother is happy to hear from me. But, something seems off about this forced day of recognition and for many, pain. There’s got to be some other way to honor and feel gratitude for those that step up to the plate to care for others.

Because, the reality is that mother is a verb, not a title. We all need mothering and sometimes, the best and most mothering available does not come from our biological mother or even a woman. No matter our age, we all need nurturance. Attention. Affection. Someone to sing us a song. Cook us our favorite meal. Track the details of our life. We all need a rock to stand on when life shatters and we are left with close to nothing. We all need a cheering team. An emotional home. Someone that tells us that we are going to be okay. Someone that never loses hope. Someone to believe in our value and potential more than we do. Someone that has taken the time and energy to become alive and can model how to do the same.

You got that?

If so, take a moment today – in silence or with words – to appreciate your gift. For, it is a gift, not a given. A gift that many don’t have.

If you are one of the unfortunate that haven’t found a mother, make it a point between now and next May, to go get one. Like the children’s book, “Are You My Mother?”, keep searching. Whether a steam shovel or a cow (you gotta read the book), there are loving human beings out there with extra emotional resources to heap on your plate. Fill it up and then sit back and feast. You deserve it.

And if you are one of those giving trees, you don’t have to wait for recognition from Hallmark. Celebrate yourself today. You have been tapped with plenty, an abundance to share. Put your feet up today, for tomorrow, you’re back to loving the world. And that’s one helluva privileged job.