In the morning as I sat down to write my cat insistently, as is her way, demanded my attention. While turning around she hit me in the face with her tail several times, bumped my hands, stepped on the keyboard and became so overexcited about getting me to pet her belly, she fell off my lap in an undignified thump. After which she jumped right back on with the same enthusiasm as before, enthusiasm to love and be loved. And then I thought about my clients and how often in session I hear about how afraid they are to be seen as less than perfect, as clumsy or capable of mistakes. And how this leads them to hold themselves back, from their partners but also from their own enthusiasm and passion and therefore from their own ability to love.
What I hear a lot about in therapy are the limitations people put on themselves, the smaller and smaller worlds they create to fit in only the things they feel are acceptable. I see sex lives that have dwindled to a series of “safe” interactions that won’t require anyone to risk being embarrassed. I see couples who say that they don’t know each other anymore because they have each been editing what they say and do for so long. I see people starting relationships by hiding the fullness and complexity of who they are and squashing the wonder and fun that could be there.
When we are editing and watching ourselves with a critical eye, not allowing certain sides to come through, we are not fully available for our life. Enthusiasm and passion require that we throw ourselves in, flaws and all, and see what happens. They ask of us that we let our world be big, big enough to contain what may grow and develop. Whatever flaws you have are so much less important than the adventure you could be having if you let yourself. Love your flaws as a sign that you are fully present and engaging in life. If you don’t tumble off the metaphorical lap now and then, maybe you aren’t letting yourself love with enough enthusiasm.