Laughing in the Face of Imperfection

by ParentCo. August 16, 2017

Mother and daughter dancing together in living room

I sat in the office of a new therapist, unable to hold back tears. I was a shell of a person I sort of remembered but didn’t actually recognize anymore. She suggested that I watch a TED talk by Brene Brown on vulnerability and shame. As I left her office I clung firmly to those threads of my rapidly fraying rope. Curiosity flickered somewhere within me. Watch a TED talk. That’s all. I can do this. I watched Brene’s talk later that week. I felt like my feet could start taking one step at a time in front of each other. After Brene pep talked me out of the doldrums, I devoured her book "The Gifts of Imperfection" in a day. The guidepost chapter on laughter, song, and dance particularly spoke to me. In it, she speaks of how her family’s quality of life can be gauged by how much dancing goes on in their kitchen. There are so many ways becoming a parent can turn off the silly switch. In the thick of sleepless nights, early mornings, and constant demands of little people, the energy it takes to find our “silly bones” seems pretty impossible. I try to cling to those moments when I feel the lightness of joy. I let myself feel gratitude for the therapeutic benefits of a good laugh. I hope for more of that and fewer tears as we grow as a family. Things go a lot more smoothly in our house when I forget about what I “should” be doing, and try not to take myself too seriously. Brene Brown’s words have a crucial message for parents to remain grounded in our own self-worth, giving us the permission to be vulnerable enough to sing, dance, and laugh. “No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging." It can be a struggle to dance like nobody's watching and love like we’ve never been hurt. But modeling laughter, even through tears, will build the resilience and courage our kids need to seek their own joy. Watch the talks right now:


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