Right off the bat I want to say… with all the skills I listed in a previous blog post this falls under abilities I seem to OVER USE. Our identity in today’s day and age seems to be intrinsically tied in with our ability to justify our lifestyle or prove our worth. When you make a decision how often does it feel like you now have to explain why you did so to this person or that? When you take on an endeavor how often do you feel the need to do even MORE just to ensure that the world doesn’t question your abilities?
I truly believe that the one you need to prove yourself to is really yourself. What really do we owe the world at large that makes it necessary to explain away every decision, every unique thought, every new path we chose? What gave the opinions of others such weight that we come up with reasons and proof that what we KNOW deep inside is the right decision is actually the best one?
I find myself daily trying to justify myself. Why I chose to have 5 kids (well WE chose), why I do things the way I do, why we homeschool… I am always trying to do MORE just to prove that I am right and the naysayers are wrong.
We do so much to justify Ken’s path… to prove his journey is viable and necessary. Now, don’t get me wrong… to get government programs, to deal with the world at large we DO need to do some proving. BUT the actual internal journey – our chosen path and route… that is something we neither need to justify or prove, but simply live.
The proof is in the pudding. That saying is something I remember from childhood onward… but what does it mean? Wiktionary has a definition (Wiktionary). Basically that you really can’t understand something until you try out or use it. Can’t PROVE it. (the full saying is the proof of the pudding is in the eating) So really, I can’t prove anything to you unless you are willing to go and live that choice yourself.
So what does this mean? Well it means that my proving something to you CANNOT be the final goal. I cannot prove to you that homeschooling works. I can prove TO MYSELF that it does, I can merely SHOW you that it is possible. And that is enough. It has to be, as no matter what I do you aren’t tasting that pudding yourself.
I cannot prove to you that therapy is the answer, that depression is best treated a specific way. It is tricky that way. There again you are not eating the pudding by reading my blog series on depression. You are merely experiencing my story and seeing the possibilities. What we have done is proven to ourselves through living this lifestyle, and fighting through the ups and downs that it is possible, that it WILL be possible for us to be healthier and happier than ever before. I have tasted the pudding and it is “glorious” (as Ken would say).
So proving something is almost a taunt… I can show you that amazing pudding, waft the smell of it your way, make all the food-gasm sounds. I have given you a description, an idea and a hope. The only way for you to prove it for yourself is to take your own steps.
Now justifying is a little more tricky. After all often times justification is something we create ourselves as a necessary evil. I feel the need to justify my choices to myself, to Ken, to other people when in reality why do I need to? Why do I need to justify my choice to homeschool when I can just do it and have it succeed? Why do we need to justify Ken’s therapy when we can simply embrace it and have it work? Why do we need to justify our emotions when feelings come and go and are natural in and of themselves? What is so crucial that we need to take each and every step/choice/milestone and create reasons for things we feel in our hearts are right?
I frustrate myself with my need to justify homeschooling. When someone asks why, why do I not simply say – because it works for us? Why do I cave and say… we take it year by year… well the twins were preemies… or the myriad of other ready made reasons to justify my choice and prove it is right? I have NEVER gone up to a public school parent and said – so why do you not keep your kid home for school? Why don’t you take the additional responsibility of schooling your kid on? I don’t expect them to justify and prove their choice… so when do I allow myself the same luxury?
Justification and proof are chains that ensure we diminish our enjoyment and total embracing of our decisions, our changes and our lifestyles. Children are a perfect example of this. I watch Echo make decisions and enjoy them to the fullest BECAUSE she has the belief that she is doing the right thing firmly cemented in her mind. She can wear that crazy mixed up outfit and own it because she says she likes it. And you know what? Her confidence and her belief in herself and her choice sells it.
So justification and proving of choices. Can we truly walk away from it all? Well, sadly no. There is always going to be something we DO need to prove (some of the more mundane things – identity, blood type, job qualifications) BUT there is so much more we can embrace, have faith in and live out to the fullest.
My goal is to stop proving to everyone that my lifestyle is best. Because in successfully living it my family is a walking billboard for it anyway. There is no reason to justify my 5 kids. There is no need to prove that homeschool is right. I don’t have to convince you, I simply need to convince myself. I am not trying to sell my lifestyle and my journey to you as something YOU should do, rather I am trying to include you, invite you in to experience my own personal brand of madness…
No one can really see all the proof they need or the justifications they want in someone else’s life. And why should they? Unless I am trying to sell my choices to you, or am endangering myself or my children… how does it become your deal? This blog, this series of posts about depression and my family is not here to prove anything, to justify anything… it is here to support you, to give you an idea of the reality of my life… to give you options to explore. To give you an idea of the opportunities out there to take advantage of. To let you taste your own pudding.
So to recap – proving and justifying all the decisions you make, the judgement calls you have, the paths you chose… not going to truly happen. Stop trying to sell your lifestyle to others and caving to giving them explanations. Instead model the life you have chosen to give them an idea of a possibility.
And for those of you on the path of healing from mental illness – that is your path. Don’t justify it with the world, live it, embrace it and show others in doing so that healing and happiness is possible! I am so proud of you, WE are so proud of you… this journey is quite the ride! And for those along as support – don’t ask for proof, don’t as for justification… ask them to live. Because then you can be a part of it too. You can feel the progress, hold onto the joy and see the possibilities.
Once again thank you to my fellow Canadian girl in an American world… your chat on messenger triggered this long winded post. We make a great team!