Tens of thousands of women across America have bought Glennon Doyle’s books, tuned in to listen to her on their favorite podcasts, or gone to hear her speak.
Her radical message stirs every person’s heart not because she is selling perfection or easy solutions, but because she takes the harder route. She tells the messy, complicated, uncomfortable truth.
She makes mistakes. Big ones. But then she tells the story with a mix of self-loathing and self-loving to which we all can relate.
- A marriage that she now sees as more aspirational than inspirational.
- An eating disorder to gain popularity
- Alcoholism and binge drinking to fit in
- An abortion to try and strengthen her marriage
Before she could recover, Glennon had to hit rock bottom. There are multiple moments where she could see rock bottom coming. An intervention from her parents. Days she woke up not remembering the night before. Sitting hung over on the bathroom floor with a positive pregnancy test in her hand.
Any one of these experiences could have proven to be her rock bottom. For many women, one of these would be all it took to realize this WAS rock bottom, and the time had come to change.
Her message that has resonated so loudly with so many others, is that YOU don’t have to hit rock bottom to learn the lessons she learned. You can do this without all the pain and heartache and expense that comes from destroying yourself to try and fit in with others.
But what were the signs? What might YOU be doing that indicates you’re headed in the wrong direction?
Over time, Glennon came to see that in her wedding, as in her drinking and her purging, she was merely “performing perfection.”
She purged to be thin and fit in. She felt she was too big – she’d accepted an ideal figure for fitness. Bulimia allowed her to shed weight. She learned how to dress and talk to attract men. She took the side of a rapist over his accuser.
At one level, she knew she was being untrue to herself.
She wonders why she didn’t see this when she was hospitalized for her eating disorder.
But when she was released, she continued to deny her authentic self, and the denial was creating pain for her and those around her.
Motherhood helped Glennon feel she’d done something right, at first. They created a universe of three. Sadly, this wasn’t her happy ever after. The Disney film credits didn’t roll as they walked down the street with their infant son.
She was hiding herself, ignoring that she and her husband had different communication styles.
She thought maybe date night would solve it, but it only made things worse. As they were theoretically growing closer, they were realizing that wasn’t possible. So they poured their energy into parenting.
Some may already know the next twist. Her marriage and even motherhood were not the solution to the same set of problems. She was not speaking her truth.
Solve the problem by living and speaking your truth
Glennon found it hard to explain to her husband how exhausting the work of parenting was. She said it was fine, but largely she felt lost.
Writing her truth earned her an almost overnight audience.
She started working early in the morning or late at night to communicate with her new and growing audience, who are resonating with her honest stories of bulimia, binge drinking, and self-loathing.
However, this drove a wedge into her marriage that proved unfixable. And also, she uncovered her husband’s multiple infidelities.
She still needed to be strong for her children, but found herself back on her bathroom floor again.
She continued to write, starting with three lists. Questions I can’t answer yet, Questions I can answer, and What do I know?
She knew then, as she has known all along, to do the next right thing.
Confide in your inner circle
Even though she had built a dedicated and loving group of followers and readers, she learned that she could only depend on her close circle. She couldn’t trust the advice of others.
You can do this too. Look carefully at who gives you good advice. Single out those whose advice seems to circle around their own decisions – seeking justification or validation for themselves – and discount that. Instead, look for those friends who listen and help you find the solutions that best match your situation and work to help you feel complete and true to yourself.
[link to Love Warrior]
Do you have a challenging relationship problem that is costing you sleep, or robbing you of your sense of independence? You likely will benefit from talking to a licensed therapist like Sakina Issa.
Luckily, these conversations can happen discreetly and by appointment using the same tools you have grown comfortable using at work, like Zoom or GoToMeeting. Just click the button in the upper right hand corner.
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