What if I choose to accept every part of me? I mean every part.

Yeah, it’s easy to accept my strengths. Of course I can accept my “good” qualities.

But what if I decided to accept the other crap too? No, not just accept, but love and honor them as much as I do the strengths? What if I choose to be proud of them too?

One major thing I’ve been struggling with lately is how heartbroken I get. I tell myself that I love deeply and that’s why I get so heartbroken.

And that’s true.

And it’s also true that I open my heart and love with everything that I am. These are good things. And they’re things I wouldn’t want to change.

But I also feel like they make me weak. And I don’t see weakness as a good thing. It’s certainly not a “manly” thing.

But what if I choose to accept the fact that I get so heartbroken? What if I embrace it? What if I don’t judge it as good or bad? What if I honor it because it’s a part of me?

What if?

For some reason, I’m a pretty picky person when it comes to dating. Some of the reasons I stop dating people or limit relationships to just one date are very Seinfeld-ish. I know it. My friends laugh at me for it. I laugh at myself. But it has to feel exactly right right away or I’m gone.

And then once it feels right, I cautiously dive-in for a few weeks or maybe even a few months, and then I go all in. I move pretty slow at first, but then something clicks in my heart and that’s it. I’m all in.

And I don’t mean that I start talking marriage or even thinking marriage. It’s not even a conscious decision. It just happens. And it stays.

This has only happened a few times in my life. Once in high school. Once in college. After college when I got married. And then just recently with Wildflower.

In this moment of my life, I can’t go a day or even a few hours, without thinking of Wildflower.

So the other night I was lying in bed and I started thinking of her again, and my internal voice really started criticizing those thoughts. Why can’t I just move on? Why can’t I just let go and completely move on? Am I too weak? What’s wrong with me? What the hell?

But what if I just let those thoughts be thought? What if I let myself miss her everyday? What if I just know that loving her deeply is a part of me.

What if I’m okay with that?

And as soon as I started to try to embrace those things, I was able to think about those other relationships. My high school break-up threw me for a loop – more than most – but really I was over it within a couple months. My college break-up took about the same amount of time. And my marriage break-up was a mess and I held on and fought for far too long. But marriage break-ups are usually messy. And yeah, I held on and tried to save my marriage for much longer than most people would.

I remember my brother-in-law (my ex’s brother) calling me one night and saying to me, “Come on. It’s time to be a man and just let go.”

Wow.

He said a lot of other things on the phone that night but that’s the line – spoken almost 8 years ago now – that I remember like it was yesterday. I remember exactly where I was standing in the living room of our house. The kiddos were playing in their bedrooms. My ex was “out”. I was looking at myself in the mirror.

And what I heard the most was this: “You are not a man.”

Loving too deeply is not manly.

Holding on too long is not manly.

Being too wrecked for too long is not manly.

I don’t know if he even meant any of that. I suspect he might have. At least some of it. But probably not exactly how I took it.

But I do know that I chose to hear it and understand it that way. More importantly, I chose to file his words in a section of my mind labeled: words that are true.

A part of me chose to accept his definition of a man (if it even was/is his definition). I’ve also chosen to carry that definition with me. And really, his words just added to a definition of a man that I had already held onto. A definition read to me by society and by friends and by family.

But what if I completely choose the definition of what a man is?

What if?

And what if I choose to include in that definition: loves deeply and struggles with heartbreak? What if? What if I also throw this in the definition: loves Wildflower with all his heart and will always love her? (Or would that go under the definition of me? Maybe both…).

What if I choose to honor all of it? What if I choose to be okay with all of it? What if I choose to be more than okay with it? What if I move beyond being okay or not okay with it? What if I see that it’s as much a part of me as my arms and legs? As much a part of me as my heart and mind? And then I choose to love it?

What if?

That chattering voice is yapping at me right now.

“That will keep you stuck! It will keep you unhappy! It’s weak. It’s wrong.”

But I don’t know that any of that is true. I don’t feel stuck. And I’m tired of worrying if I am stuck. I’m tired of wondering if still missing Wildflower so much means I’m stuck. Right now, I don’t feel stuck. And as long as I stay mindful and continue to take inventory of how I feel, I’ll be okay. If I ever feel stuck, I’ll analyze and deal with it then. I don’t need to worry about it now.

Maybe not judging is the key. Maybe I should stop judging myself. I’m pretty good about not judging others, but maybe I need to be even better. Maybe this honoring everything as a part of myself and a part of others is the way to live and to love?

What if it is?

So, I will begin to try not to judge the parts of myself that make me who I am. I will honor them. I will love them. And I will accept them in each moment that they are present. That doesn’t mean I won’t strive to move forward and to become a better version of myself.  And it certainly doesn’t grant me permission to be an asshole at any moment. It just means, I accept who I am and what I am in every moment.

What if that makes me happier? What if that’s a lesson that will help me move forward in a brighter direction?

What if?

 

 

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