The Ones We Choose

When I was little, I knew family was made up the people I lived with. My parents and little sister taught me how to act, be and embody on a daily basis. I fully believed that they were the "end all, be all" of my capacity to love unconditionally and be seen and heard in the world around me. My younger years were spent trying to earn and stockpile lots of gold star moments with these three humans and I often found myself struggling to keep up the appearances that I could be everything for everyone. 

I've realized as of late, that I am still doing this. Secretly hoping that all three of them will turn around and say, "Oh hey there, I see you, doing that thing. Thank you." I'm still seeking those gold stars, hoping that when they see me, than I'll actually have value. And, it turns out, I do this in a lot of the relationships in my life,

 With my partner,  "Went grocery shopping and the fridge is full. Did you see?"

With my business, "That email got answered in seven seconds. Is that fast enough for you?"

With my friends, "Oh yes, I am available and can mold my schedule around your needs."

These questions become the things that propel me through my days. And I find, that often I feel depleted by these actions and once the gold stars are bestowed, they feel like an empty victory. The older I get and the more energy I spend creating a life beyond my family, the more I realized that I've been letting this outdated notion that I have to be EVERYTHING FOR EVERYONE build my calendar, soak up my time, and rule my sensitive and worthy heart space. 

I've also come to see that these three people, my family, has grown much larger than three in my adult years. The most incredible thing about growing up and growing in has been owning the choice that I put people into that definition now. The word family has expanded and grown branches and by the end of this year, I will have built an entirely new tree (with my soon-to-be husband) to grow around. My family is still those three, happily it will always be, but I also get to decide to include those people that honor those spaces that my family doesn't always see, understand or acknowledge. I get to let others in and allow them to love me in ways I didn't even know I needed or knew I could ask for. This expansion has allowed for new depths, increased intimacy and sublime devotion. The ones I choose also help me see I am whole and complete, now, gold stars excluded. 

Family has become about legacy AND choice these days, and ultimately has taught me that I am loved in infinite directions. 

Where can you expand into that makes you feel whole and complete, just as you are, now? 

- Jenny Lynn Wood