I have lived most of my life around “OR.” Behave a certain way OR be judged; Believe one certain way OR be condemned; Follow the rules of being a good daughter (plug in your own description) OR risk not being loved. You get the idea.
Only in the recent past have I fully grasped this idea of “AND.” The word “or” lends itself to very black and white, rigid thinking, whereas “and” allows for grey – all shades of flexibility and fluidity. It truly is mind-blowing. For 40+ years, I believed for every decision I made, there was only one right choice and a million wrong ones, and the wrong ones would bring disappointment, failure, judgment, and eventually wrath. Yep, I believed that.
The gift of “and” has given me my life back – actually better yet, it has allowed me to be my authentic self. It has freed me to believe in my worthiness, to chase my dreams, to be the mom, wife, friend, and daughter I want to be.
It has allowed me to feel every emotion, to be present in the exquisite messiness of life, to make mistakes and apologize and do it all over again! What I realize now is that I existed as merely a shadow of my true self, terrified, and muted. Now I embrace my humanness – imperfect, yet lovely in every way.
MindBodyGreen posted a fabulous summary of this concept a few months ago. I added a few more at the end – now that I understand this way of thinking, the sky’s the limit!
- I can love my children unconditionally and still be disappointed in their behavior.
- I can love and adore my husband and still not like him from time to time.
- I can prioritize my passions and projects and still be a good friend.
I could go on, but I think you get the idea! I’d love to hear any “and” statements you use in your life. Feel free to share in the comments below!