On Children Kahlil Gibran
Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts, For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far. Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness; For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.
Why are we engaged?
People keep sharing their unsolicited opinions on why we are engaged. Some say it’s a gesture. Others suggests it’s to hold me over for our year apart.
I’m engaged because I want him as a partner for the rest of my life. I want him as my partner because I respect him, learn from him, and feel safe with him.
He gives me courage and support when I feel weak.
He makes me want to wait to raise a child together.
He makes me see our healthy life together full of possibilities and unknowns, yet one thing is certain that we will have eachother.
I admit it. I don’t want to be engaged. I want to be his life partner. I want to be married.
When I thought about what to eliminate? I was thinking of clothes and makeup….
What I learned is that I need to eliminate toxic relationships. Toxic relationships are so hard to eliminate. You don’t love the person because they are mean and hurt you. You love them for the things that you admire and the wonderful things that they have done for you.
I decided that those good actions don’t dismiss the manipulation and mind games. I was constantly worried that I would misstep in their eyes and suffer the repercussions both professionally and personally. It was a terrible way to live and work. The environment that their behavior fostered was toxic too. I had been running from this place for years.
Finally I cut ties. I’m experiencing all the stages of grief: denial, anger, guilt, depression…. I know acceptance will come. But how do I reconcile the hurt that I caused this individual that did so much for me at times…
Today marks one week of meditation. Thank you, Blog.
Can wedding preparations and engagement picnics be the solution to a big wedding?
Since we don’t know what our wedding ceremony/reception will be, I tried to share the wedding activities based on requests from friends. In particular, one asked to go wedding dress shopping.
So after finding a dress on craigslist, I invited a bunch of girls last minute to drive an hour to try on the dress. Only one friend could make it. I hoped that my other friends were happy to have been invited…. Little did I know that I needed this friend there more than she wanted to be there. I found great comfort and support in her presence. Not to mention, she has amazing taste and could give me seamstress advice.
Another friend offered to make my veil, so she needed a swatch of my dress. I found a local bridal shop and luckily was able to receive a matching piece of the dress. After visiting this shop, I decided to have an estimate by a professional seamstress for tailoring.
I made it a ladies’ afternoon fitting at the bridal shop. One friend came with champagne. Another with a bridal magazine as a present. It was so sweet and amazing. I felt like I was in a movie. Also when I tried my dress on for the second time, I loved it more than the first. It was so special sharing this fitting with four of my girlfriends. They also had extra fun having me try on earrings, headbands and clips…
The tailoring was estimated to cost nearly one and a half times what my dress cost. I put the tailoring on the back burn and held tight to my memory of this ladies’ wedding day.
I hope sharing these moments brought my friends happiness. I am a little worried that I made them more invested in my wedding…
Now I really don’t know what to do. I thought sharing was a solution to having a small wedding, but still having lots of happy moments with friends and family over the next 12 months. To be continued…
Iused to say that if I could find a job making people happy for a living, I would take it. You can blame it on growing up the oldest child of multiple divorces, or losing a sibling at a young age and navigating my parents’ grieving process, or being reared with the Catholic urge to “do unto others as you would have done unto you.” Whatever the cause, when life was chaotic, it was reassuring to know that I could, at the very least, control how I was making other people feel. At first, it was a comfort, a coping mechanism. I was the consummate Yes Man. The kid everyone’s parents liked. But as I grew older, the tendency to put the needs of others before my own proved to be just as much of a detriment as it was a skill. Because people pleasing takes time and energy, and both of those things exist in humans as finite quantities.
So it shouldn’t be a shock to find that wedding planning can be a particular kind of hell for people pleasers. Wedding planning on its own means inviting unsolicited opinions into your life, but when you add in a compulsive need to try and satisfy as many people as possible, all at the same time, it can make a girl spiral. I’d like to tell you that halfway through planning I had an epiphany and realized that I couldn’t make everyone happy. Spoiler alert: I didn’t. (That came a few years later in therapy.) Instead, our wedding was complex mix of joy and frustration. But along the way (and in the years since), I’ve picked up some vital coping strategies that would have helped my engaged-self navigate wedding planning with just a little more sanity:
1. “NO” DOES MAGICAL THINGS. Saying yes is so much easier and more awesome than saying no. At least it is in the moment. But what happens (as I’m sure you know) is that eventually all those yeses start to add up, and next thing you know, you’re running yourself ragged trying to fit in everything you agreed to, and nobody is respecting your boundaries, because (whoops) you forgot to set some. I used to really, really suck at saying no. I didn’t want anyone to be disappointed or upset with me, so my brain would find ways to try and make yes-ish things come out of my mouth (we’ll see… maybe we can… etc.). Eventually I had to force myself to get comfortable with the idea of letting people down for the sake of my own well-being, so I came up with a script that still makes my people pleaser–self happy, while setting boundaries. “I really wish I could, but I can’t” is both a gentle and firm no. After spending a lifetime spreading myself too thin for fear of making others unhappy, I’ve been surprised to find how quickly most people respect my boundaries now that I have them.
2. IT’S OKAY TO DISAPPEAR FOR AN HOUR (OR FIVE). One of the unfortunate side effects of our modern technology is that we’re now expected to be available all the time. In my people pleaser brain, I generally feel pressure to respond to every email, text, or social media notification with lightning speed. And since owning a smart phone, I’ve been making things worse by enabling push notifications for all of my accounts. It got to the point that every ding of my phone would throw a tiny anxiety ball into the pit of my stomach, because maybe it would be the ding of something legitimately important. I mentioned this in passing to Meg one day, and she looked at me sideways. “Why don’t you just turn your notifications off?” she asked. Since it’s hard to reply to your boss with, “Because my boss might need me,” I did. And surprise, surprise, the sky didn’t fall down. I still check my phone more often than I should, but at least I don’t feel like a slave to it anymore. So if wedding planning has your phone blowing up with reminders that you need to book your caterer, or questions from your mother-in-law about what color dress she should wear, it’s okay if you only give yourself a few designated times each week to acknowledge and respond. Most things in wedding planning (and hell, in life) aren’t as time sensitive as they are made out to be, and it’s better to make informed decisions when you’re in the right frame of mind than to made reactive decisions simply because you’re trying to clear the notifications bar on your phone.
3. YOU REALLY CAN’T CONTROL PEOPLE’S HAPPINESS. This has been the hardest thing for me to accept as an adult, and the thing I failed to see while planning our wedding: you can control what you say to people, and you can control your intentions. But you can’t force anyone’s happiness, no matter how hard you try. Eventually it became kind of liberating. All I can do is my best. How people react is on them. (This comes with the caveat that if you’re a jerk, you can probably make people unhappy. But if you’re being kind and considerate and they’re still angry? That’s out of your control, friend.) So if you’re finding yourself running up against a wall with a certain person over and over again, and they simply refuse to budge, then you’re probably not the problem. And nothing you change about yourself will fix what’s wrong. The good news is, this means you can shift your focus onto important things—like what you need. Your person will probably still not be happy, but you won’t be exhausted and frustrated from failed efforts at fixing their mood.
4. EVERYONE DOES THEIR OWN THING. A few years ago, we ran a great post about what happens when people pleasers plan weddings. It ended with this line:
Recently, I was feeling guilty about missing my family and friends spread out all across the country (warning: this is wedding side effect). To make me feel better, my very wise husband said, “Ultimately, everybody just does their own thing.” He’s right of course, and that’s how we approached our wedding. Sometimes it’s okay to be different. Sometimes it’s okay not to please everyone. Sometimes it’s okay to let your passion outweigh your practical urges. Because weddings and marriage should never be about taking one for the team. They’re about creating a new team with your partner, where you’ll never feel like you have to.
Whenever I get the urge to please others at the expense of myself, I think of the above passage. The truth is, most people are just trying to do right by themselves. It’s not that they don’t care about you; they just aren’t making decisions with your needs in mind (I mean, think about who you’re trying to please all the time. Are they your most generous people? I’d wager a bet probably not. The exhaustive kind of people pleasing usually comes at the expense of trying to appease people who are very good at looking out for themselves.) Which is to say, it’s not your job to compromise all the time. Most people are pretty good at taking care of themselves. They don’t need you to do it for them.
And the beauty is, when you free yourself up from the obligation of taking care of everyone else, you might find you finally have the space to take care of yourself. Which is good. Because someone’s gotta do it.
Being newly engaged, I’m surprised at how wedding planning sneaks into my free time. My fiancé says that he knew for a long time that he was going to ask me, so his state of mind hasn’t changed as much as mine… But I think it’s more than that.
I was proposed to on Saturday. By Monday, my friends were asking to go wedding dress shopping and others offered to make my wedding jewelry and veil. Also I started making an attendee list, knowing that the number of guests would affect logistics for the ceremony and/or reception–the great dread that I have felt since I was a child with regards to who can come and who can’t. A trusted friend/mentor told me this week that “weddings are simply a way to piss off everyone that you know.”
On Monday, I stayed up late into the evening looking at dresses on-line and reading articles about buying vs. renting a dress. This was the first time in my life that I had really looked for a wedding dress. I thought of my favorite dresses over the years and identified “must haves.” By Wednesday, I had decided on two affordable dresses. That evening I actually purchased my wedding dress.
I had a secret motivation for having a wedding dress. If family circumstances necessitated getting married in the next month or so, I didn’t want to not have a wedding dress for myself and my fiancé.
I’m surprised at how this first week has turned out. I started it with a simple goal of meditating and eliminating. I have successfully mediated every day. I have eliminated excessive food with MyFitnessPal, cut down on my complaining, contemplated getting rid of clothes and bathroom supplies, and decided to not have a wedding veil. This last one was an important elimination in helping to rein in these urges.
Wedding Dress Rental vs. PreOwned Purchase
If you are considering renting a wedding dress to save money, consider buying a preowned wedding dress instead. Buying preowned can actually be less expensive than renting (it’s true!) And there are so many other great benefits too.
Wedding Dress Rental
Wedding dress rentals typically range from $200 – $2,000. Gowns are often only delivered 1-5 days before the wedding, and usually must be returned 1 day after. A damage deposit of $200+ may also be required.
Additionally, wedding dress rental stock is very limited, no alterations are allowed, and the gown may have already been worn multiple times.
Buying a PreOwned Wedding Dress
PreOwned wedding dresses start as low as $100. (And PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com has nearly 20,000 wedding gowns for sale under $2,000).
If you buy your dress, not only will you have a larger selection of gowns to choose from, you won’t have any time restrictions, and can alter it for a perfect fit. And fit is absolutely the difference between looking good and looking your very best.
Shudder the thought that your crazy uncle spills red gown down the back of your dress. Not to worry, unlike a rental, you won’t face any damage fees. In fact, you won’t have to worry about a single smudge or drop of dirt. You can just look and feel beautiful and enjoy your Day.
See our real world Rental vs Purchase price comparisions here. (Spoiler alert: you’ll be sold on the buying vs renting).