I know we don’t want to be, but we can’t figure out how to be happier until we can figure out how to be honest with ourselves.
We tell ourselves and our friends that we are not the mistakes we make, but don’t we also say actions speak louder than words?
Because they do.
Because what we say may be who we want to be, or how we want to be perceived.
But what we do is who we actually are. For better or worse.
When my brother was arrested and charged with robbing banks, we all kept saying to ourselves and each other that this wasn’t who he was. When he admitted to his crimes, we still held fast to the idea that these actions were an exception to his identity. A fluke. Not who he is.
On the day he was sentenced, I sat in the back of the court and listened to the charges read. I listened to the dates, cities, and locations. My brother robbed ten banks. I could no longer pretend.
He is a bank robber.
Or at least he was.
Now he’s an inmate, because our actions have consequences.
He’s also my little brother, the uncle who adores my kids and writes them letters. He is the kid I have spent decades loving and making memories with. We are what we do, and so I am the big sister who loves him.
I am a woman who broke her marriage vows. I didn’t slip up or say something I didn’t mean in a fight. I spent months pretending not to be married. I kicked my husband out of our home. I called lawyers. I’m not a good wife.
Or, I wasn’t.
Now I’m a woman who puts her marriage first, because we always have the chance to choose new actions.
I’m a woman who invested in counseling and shows up for the hard discussions. I am a woman who loves her husband the very best she knows how, and I’m a good wife.
Because the whole truth is that we don’t remain our mistakes.
We’re not what we did.
We are what we do most often. Right now, at this point in our lives.
We are the mistakes, the choices, we continue to make.
And that’s OK.
Because once we know that, see that, accept that, we can be anyone we want to be.
We just have to make a new choice and do a new thing.