Surrounded by Mirrors

I spent last mirrorsweekend with my family, which is always a great time.  We are the go, go, go family.  One of the nights after dinner, we sat around the table playing Catchphrase.  If you haven’t played it, do, it’s a ton of fun.  It’s basically charades but using words.  My 8 year old nephew was playing with us and it was his turn.  His clue was “that thing you do when you parents want you to do something you don’t want to do.”  Do it anyways? Obey? Finally someone said, “Suck it up.”  Amazingly, that was it!  So interesting to see an 8 year old perspective of what it’s like when you’re faced with something unpleasant.

I find that I tend to suck it up when “life happens” and is tough.  It’s hard but hey, that’s life.  I don’t tend to be very compassionate to myself.  I’ve written about that before, and even took a great online Brene Brown class about it. I think I have a whole lot more homework to do, because I’m still not getting it very well.

But the other day, I had coffee with a friend who is going through a very tough time.  One not so dissimilar to something I recently went through.  As I sat and listened, my heart broke for her. She shared the struggle she’s gone through and the pain she’s felt.  I was also struck by something else.  It was the similarity in much of what she’d been through and what I’ve been through in the last year.  While not identical, it was marked with a lot of the same pain and sadness.  For her, I felt nothing but sadness and empathy.

Later that night I was thinking about the conversation and praying for her.  It occurred to me that while I felt an enormous amount of compassion towards her, I didn’t feel that some compassion when it came to my own situation.  Instead, I’d made myself suck it up.  Determined not to be a victim of my circumstances, I kept moving forward.  Now, I looked back on that conversation and realized that it had a secondary outcome which is that it was a mirror for me to look at how I’d been treating myself.  It finally sunk in for me that sucking it up wasn’t doing me any favors.  Instead, I needed to give myself a break.

I find it so interesting that we really are surrounded by mirrors.  People who, if we’re paying attention, reflect lessons we can learn about ourselves and our own lives.  Who give us a glimpse into our own experiences and reflect back to us exactly what we need to learn.  These people are rare treasures. I, for one, am thankful for the mirrors in my life, especially this time.  Without even realizing it, she helped me see where I was not giving myself the compassion I needed.  So while it scores points in our game, sucking it up does not score me any points and I’m going to keep trying to not play that card.


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