Recently I visited "The Glamour and Romance of Oscar de la Renta" exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. I should start by saying that I have no fashion education, and I am quite certain this limits my ability to truly appreciate the art I witnessed. So, I ask those well versed in the world of fashion to please forgive my potentially amateur observations.
As I sat across the counseling room from Diana, who had lost her daughter in a tragic accident four months prior, she said something I’ve heard from so many others in the midst of pain. She said, “If I just knew why; if God would just show me how He could possibly use this for good so that I could be confident my daughter didn’t die in vain, then I could move forward.” I believe that her pain and grief are completely justified and I could certainly identify with the question. Who hasn’t shouted “Why?!” in the midst of despair?
Several years ago, I moved to St. Louis for a three-year grad program. Having lived my whole life in the great state of Texas, I had been exposed to only two types of weather up to that point: warm and blazingly hot. In St. Louis, I gained my first experience with that mythical season that I had read about in books and seen in movies – winter.
It’s here -- that odd day that comes around every four years as the sum of quarter days in our calendar (which honestly doesn’t make any sense to me). So, why do I feel the need to write about this, you ask? Well, I like the idea of adding time to our schedules! How often do we wish we had just a few more minutes or hours in our day? On Monday, we get to add an entire DAY to the calendar! It’s really a pretty amazing thought when you stop and think about it.
Guys, the holidays are upon us. I know, right?!?! My stomach just started getting in knots while I typed that… But since I’m a professional counselor and all, I decided I should do something about this panic and make a change so I can actually enjoy this season! I’m guessing I’m not alone in these feelings, so I want us to work on this together. Read on and see what you think.
As much as we might not like to admit it, we live in a culture of scarcity and fear-mongering. Advertisers, the media, well-intended friends and family, and often our own minds, lob messages of “not enough” at us on a regular basis. Messages like: “I don’t have enough (time, money, friends, sleep, exercise, or designer fill-in-the blank).” Or worse yet: “I’m not (smart, talented, pretty, skinny, successful, or worthy) enough.” This leads to anxiety because we’re telling ourselves that if we don’t get more of that thing then we’re not okay, and it can lead to despair because very often what we are focusing on is an unrealistic expectation.
In June of 2010, Brené Brown, a shame and vulnerability researcher from the University of Houston, gave a TED talk titled “The Power of Vulnerability” that went viral. The central message of her talk is that in order to establish connection with others we must allow ourselves to be vulnerable. Throughout her research, Brown found a common thread among those who were able to let themselves “be seen, really seen” by others, which was her definition of vulnerability. What these people shared was the belief that they were worthy of love and connection combined with the courage to be imperfect.