Obligatory post in which I babble about authenticity, imperfection, negativity, and then somehow throw Thanksgiving into the mix.

by Valerie M

I always talk about authenticity and I live by the mantra that imperfection is the “new” perfection (because it always was). I personally never claim to be perfect nor do I know all the answers. If you read my posts you get the idea that, yes, I’m human and I have issues. I’m not positive or happy all the time. And I beat myself up regularly. I even have a badge to prove it. Which is why it makes me happy to see posts like this and that and even this.

Yes… I love real, gritty talk…

Not because it comforts me to know that there’s someone worse off than me. But because beneath all of the facades and superficiality, there is some real living and real growth going on. Because I know I’m not losing my mind. Because I’m going to snap if I see one more “How to be positive, rich, and happy in 30/60/90 days” list.

Please don’t get me wrong: I’m not bashing my fellow bloggers. Nor am I suggesting that they are liars. They definitely aren’t any better or worse than I am. Like me, they’re doing their best to make sense of everything, and hey … we all have to start somewhere, don’t we? Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I wouldn’t have had the courage or the direction to even begin to change my mindset. Not the way I did. And definitely not anytime soon.

A fork in the road …

What then? What next? You don’t just wake up one day, decide to be positive, and then all the good stuff starts falling on your lap. What a lot of people don’t like to talk about is the dark feelings, the shitty moments, and the disappointments that always lurk under the radar, ready to attack when you’re most vulnerable. How to cope with it? Well … that’s another animal that I’ll tackle in another post. If you really can’t wait, may I (ironically) suggest that you read some of the boatload of lists already out there on how to do it? I mean, hey, Google is your friend.

I guess the point here is that lists, advice, success/failure stories, and life coaches give you a direction, like a compass. But a compass is a piece of metal with some weird magnetic characteristics that I don’t completely understand (because I hated physics, I really couldn’t care less, and that’s what physicists are for). Undoubtedly it’s useful, but it’s still a piece of metal nonetheless. And if you keep staring at it trying to pick it apart, you’ll never leave your spot. The dirty work and the growing pains are all on you.

The part where Thanksgiving comes into play

The impending Thanksgiving holiday has made me even more reflective lately. Which is dumb because gratitude shouldn’t just revolve around one day. But it still serves as a great reminder and I’m definitely not complaining.

Despite (or rather because of) all of the confusion and the disappointments, I am especially grateful this Thanksgiving. But I’m grateful for the bad stuff far more than I am about the good stuff. I’m grateful that I’m able to be honest with myself and all the messes I get myself into because so many people out there can’t or won’t do that. I’m grateful for all of my mistakes and all of my regrets because without them I wouldn’t have a solid reason to better myself and avoid complacency. And most of all, I’m grateful for all the suffering, the agony, and the problems in the world, no matter how hard we try to cover it up and put a Band-Aid on it. Because change, growth, compassion, love, happiness, you name it, can’t arise from constant contentedness. 

So, look at this Thanksgiving as a reminder that real life is made of grit and not simply of all the blessings we do have. We must all be careful not to undermine, under-appreciate, or deny that.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

brian papa November 24, 2009 at 12:52 pm

Happy Thanksgiving, Valerie! And, yes, it’s dealing with all the *grit*, that we become stronger, happier versions of ourselves. :)

Diggy - Upgradereality.com November 24, 2009 at 3:17 pm

Hey Valerie!
Happy thanksgiving miss! Hope its a great one for you. We dont celebrate it here in south africa :)
How is your blog doing? Is it growing nicely I hope? :)

Ciao ciao
Diggy – Upgradereality.com´s last blog ..Trust but Verify My ComLuv Profile

Valerie M November 24, 2009 at 11:18 pm

@ Brian: Thanks for stopping by! I wholeheartedly agree. I hope you have a great Turkey Day yourself :)

@ Diggy: Thanks! :) It’s a shame you all don’t have an official day there in SA, BUT who’s to say you can’t make up one of your own? It’s going good, thanks for asking!

Stephen - Rat Race Trap November 29, 2009 at 3:44 pm

Hi Valerie! I got a good laugh out of this:

“Because I’m going to snap if I see one more “How to be positive, rich, and happy in 30/60/90 days” list.”

This was a really good article. All that “bad” stuff you listed is just a part of life. We’ve got to quit looking at the normal challenges of life as some kind of problem to be fixed. I really liked this:

“Because change, growth, compassion, love, happiness, you name it, can’t arise from constant contentedness. ”

Great job
Stephen – Rat Race Trap´s last blog ..Optimizing Your Working Memory – Part II My ComLuv Profile

Valerie M November 29, 2009 at 7:57 pm

Hi Stephen:
I’m glad you can relate. I definitely like how you put it as us trying to ‘fix’ everything, and you’re right… not everything needs to be fixed. “Problems” happen for a reason and what you get out of it depends on you, not your external circumstances. Thanks so much for the comment. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

Mac November 30, 2009 at 1:04 pm

It is good that you are grateful for bad stuff because that “bad stuff” is what keeps us alive and healthy.

Imagine a world without pain, if you were to pull you arm back and never stop you break your arm and could not use it.

In reality when you pull your arm you do feel pain if you pull to far and therefore stop. It is feedback that tells you this is not going to be helpful in your life.

If you go broke, or bankrupt it is feedback that you neglected your financial situation, maybe took out to many loans and credit cards or maybe pushing the problem forward or ignoring it.

In order for change to happen something has to move. This is something Einstein said, not sure of the exact quote.

Life isn’t going to happen, you make your life happen. If you take no actions, learn nothing and do nothing you will be a nobody.
Mac´s last blog ..Prepare For The Worst And You Will Only Know The Good Times” Robert T. Kiyosaki My ComLuv Profile

Valerie M November 30, 2009 at 11:11 pm

Thanks for the comment, Mac! It’s a tough pill to swallow, but the “bad stuff” is worth it.

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