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On Being Real And Letting Go

Sorry for the silence for the last couple of days but it’s been an off week. I’m just not feeling great. I’m feeling emotional and anxious, I am questioning a lot of things and I’m sad in general about some situations. It’s a daunting task to write a blog post when you don’t really have a lot of upbeat and happy things to share. I know everyone is dealing with their own crap so I want you to feel good when you come read my blog. I don’t want it to be a stream of sadness and complaining. But I also want you to know that I am a real human who experiences up and down times. I am not perfect.

Some of the best advice I have ever received was from fellow yoga teacher Shanna Small who told me that you have to teach from where you are. People see straight through faking it. People connect with real. Even when real isn’t the version of yourself you want to put out there, it’s truly best to be authentic. So today I taught my yoga class while fighting back tears and I will now stop avoiding blogging and apply Shanna’s advice to writing this post.

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I love this quote from the Velveteen Rabbit. One of the things I struggle with most is accepting my own imperfection. I fully understand that I can not be everything that everyone needs and expects me to be but it’s really hard to put that into practice. I think that I set the bar a little too high for myself and have unrealistic expectations and ideas of what it is I think I should be. Over the past couple of years I have slowly been able to loosen my grip on this and I fully own up to the absolute fact that I am flawed. I am not perfect and it is okay for people to see real.

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Being real also means letting go. When you are real it is inevitable that some things in your life will end – situations, scenarios, friendships, relationships. We want to hold on to what something was or should be for as long as possible. While that feels safe, it doesn’t serve us one bit. These endings are usually not easy but it’s essential to realize that you will thrive when you let it go and focus on people who love you unconditionally and when you focus on the things in your life that allow you grow and shine. It’s amazing how doors open and things happen when you take the leap and just let go.

Writing Peanut Butter Runner has been a great therapy for me. Even though I don’t share details on everything that’s going on in my life and the deepest corners of my soul, it’s still an amazing outlet to share my ups and downs with you. I have received countless e-mails and comments from you guys sharing with me how you have struggled, how you have let go and how you have emerged stronger and brighter on the other side. I need to create a folder in my inbox with some of these e-mails that I can go and read on days like this. 😉

Obviously, everything that I have written about is easier said than done. Being real is a daily practice and I struggle with it so much. It means you have to get to know yourself and really seek out your truth. What is it that makes you happiest? What is it that brings you a sense of peace and fulfillment deep in the center of your belly? What makes you feel like you are going to explode with happiness and joy? These aren’t easy questions to answer and the answers might change over time but you must ask them of yourself on a regular basis.

Well, I edited a lot of food pictures and jewelry pictures for this post but it seems you’ll just be getting the above. I am in need of a hot shower, a good dinner and disconnecting.

Talk to me about being real. Can you let go of the perfect thing? Can you let go in general? 

{ 46 comments… add one }
  • 1
    Morgan April 20, 2013, 8:32 pm

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your post! I think that in life we get so wrapped in comparing ourselves to everyone else that we FORGET who WE TRULY ARE!!! We want so badly to BE the person everyone thinks/sees us as and we continue to BE that FAKE person because if we aren’t we are afraid that we will lose them in our life. I have so enjoyed everything you post because it speaks to me! I want you to know that I am praying for you because you have given me strength through your blog! BE STRONG, BE REAL, BE TRUE!

  • 2
    Hayley April 20, 2013, 8:47 pm

    This post is too perfect Jen, I’m so glad you continue to write each and every today, you are such an inspiration and please never give up!

  • 3
    Angela April 20, 2013, 9:05 pm

    I love this post. Authenticity is VITAL to true happiness. One of the difficulties inherent in virtual communication is it’s quite easy to portray this “picture” of who we are and how perfect things seem–we can edit, retouch, make vivid in picture and video, this beautiful projection with no imperfections. While it’s a highly positive thing to make life beautiful and to create beautiful things, so often the imperfections are what allow us to truly connect with other people. It’s when we can share our weaknesses that we become truly intimate with one another–so that we can appreciate each other’s strengths even more. I LOVE your blog because you always seem to let the real you shine through–you don’t paint a too-perfect, too-peppy projection of yourself, but you paint one that is positive, authentic, and incredibly beautiful because of that. Thank you for your courage! xx

  • 4
    Michele Lian April 20, 2013, 9:11 pm

    Thank you for this post, Jen. Letting go is one (especially of people and emotions) is one of the hardest things to do in life. It’s something I need to constantly remind myself to do. You helped remind me that I’m not the only one who struggles with this.

    Michele.

  • 5
    Holly April 20, 2013, 9:37 pm

    I love when people are REAL! To me, being real is the only thing I know. I’m not good at fake so I learned long ago to be who God created me to be. I am a perfectly imperfect person, striving each day to be the person that HE created me to be. I learned long ago, that NO ONE is perfect. NO ONE has a perfect marriage. NO ONE has perfect friendships. NO ONE has it all figured out. Life is unpredictable and happiness is temporary. I try to find my joy, happiness, and contentment in the ONE that created me. He never changes. I’m not saying my days are always wonderful and I walk around humming. I’m just saying, for me, it’s easier to take the bumps in life knowing that God has created the big picture.

  • 6
    Chris K April 20, 2013, 9:54 pm

    Letting go is as basic and necessary as breathing, and sometimess just as hard.

  • 7
    Noelle April 20, 2013, 10:01 pm

    Mostly a lurker , but I love that quote from the Velveteen Rabbit thank you for sharing it. I was just thinking very similar thoughts earlier today about letting go of perfectionism and also trying to focus on being present now. As important as goals and planning for the future are, it’s so easy to become wrapped up in things/thoughts. Anyway, that’s just where my heads at, but I love this post and I really enjoy your blog. Thanks for the honesty.

  • 8
    Elizabeth April 20, 2013, 10:19 pm

    Letting go is the hardest thing to do. Forgiving others, forgiving yourself… it’s so hard to do. You are beautiful and you are real. Thank you for sharing this post – it’s so easy to create and show a perfect person – it’s harder to show hurt, pain, and imperfections.

    To answer your question (and without being too preachy), I am happiest when I am in the Word. No, I can’t let go of some things – that’s why I trust in Christ. He teaches us how and helps us to endure and shows us that He can work anything out for good for those who trust Him.

    You are strong and you are real. Real people hurt. It’s OK. You will wake up tomorrow. You will push on. You will live another day. You will help other people with your strength and story. You are alive. You can mend.

  • 9
    Jessica April 20, 2013, 10:33 pm

    This post really resonates with me. I too struggle with being real and accepting my own imperfections. One thing that I remind myself when I realize I’m projecting my ‘perfect’ version, is that I’m reinforcing the internal battle of self-worthlessness in both myself and those I’m interacting with. I think that being honest, expressing struggles, and accepting flaws frees ourselves and help to break the trap of comparisons everyone falls into and builds a more authentic connection in our relationships. It’s not easy, but it has helped me in the past. Loved this post. It’s good to hear thoughts on the subject from another point of view. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • 10
    Ja @Ja on the RUN April 20, 2013, 10:41 pm

    Love this post. Thank for sharing. Same here, feeling down lately. Especially with what’s happening in the marathon bombing. I am still feeling anxious about it. A lot of ‘what ifs’. What if we decided to stay. We would have been one of those in injured. So sad for those who are affected.

  • 11
    Brenda April 20, 2013, 10:44 pm

    I must admit that I have been a long time reader, but never commented. There is no peace, happiness or joy apart from what we receive in Christ. That cannot be understated enough. He is all we need, and has our best interests in mind, always.

    May I ask- are you a believer?

  • 12
    dani April 20, 2013, 11:29 pm

    i’m so sorry you’re going through a hard time 🙁 it’s one of the curses of being human, it seems. trials are inevitable. but it certainly doesn’t make it any easier knowing that. i like what you said about people connecting with what’s real. i would add that, in my experience, people really connect with imperfections. i feel like i can relate really deeply with someone who hurts and has a hard time and doesn’t wake up every morning with a big smile because that’s real. i love when you open up and let us see that 🙂 sending good thoughts your way!!

  • 13
    Molly April 21, 2013, 12:02 am

    I have found that sometimes it seems harder to admit to yourself that things aren’t perfect than dealing with other people’s perceptions. Even if you aren’t feeling upbeat right now, you are still inspiring to so many others. I hope that peace comes your way soon!

  • 14
    Mary-Catherine April 21, 2013, 12:10 am

    Love Love Love Love this post and your honesty! Over the past week or two I’ve experienced similar emotions in trying to let go of a relationships/friendship that has meant so much to me but needs to happen. Your strength and courage in writing this post also gives me a similar motivation to let go, be honest, and real! THANK YOU! As other readers have mentioned, it’s impossible to be perfect and life is all about the ebb and flow process! It some ways, I know it’s exactly what we need so that growth and improvement can occur, while at the same time, it can be really difficult — especially when you keep it all inside and pretend everything is completely fine!

    These three songs have really helped me in the past and I hope they might also be able to help you!
    1) Don’t Try So Hard: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9t5L4LtpgE
    2) Let Go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRodhY5Gkvg
    3) Come Rest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeL-B_unh0s

    Love ya!
    MC

  • 15
    kathryn sheehy April 21, 2013, 12:29 am

    I really can relate! I had felt this way so much until something huge in my life changed. When everything came crashing down, I finally looked to Christ. Even though I find faults in myself and I have down days (like today!), I realize that I am made complete in Christ and don’t need a perfect life for a complete life. Hopefully you can find the encouragement, that i have found, in this truth.

  • 16
    claire April 21, 2013, 12:32 am

    I agree with Brenda. Girl, you have been laid on my heart, I pray for you and I don’t even know you! My peace comes from my relationship with Jesus. I feel whole and grounded. My joy comes from knowing He knows my name and I will never fall out of salvation. The Bible says your life is like a vapor that appears then vanishes. Who wants to be a mist in the air with no hope?

    • 17
      Brenda April 21, 2013, 1:08 pm

      Great post Claire.

      I want to add that these are some verses that I lean on when I am going through times of hardship or trouble (like the fact that I am being currently kicked out of my house because my roommates are fed up with my talk about Christianity- haha).

      From the Bible:
      For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. -Jeremiah 29:11

      And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. -Romans 8:28

      From C.S. Lewis:
      There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right, then, have it your way.’

      God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially armed you to go through it, not without pain but without stain.

  • 18
    meredith April 21, 2013, 7:17 am

    Letting go isn’t easy. I struggled trying to save my marriage and the “perfect” life we had in the “perfect” house. Perfect doesn’t really exist, nothing, no one is perfect. We all struggle and we all make it through – I promise! You are doing amazing; just the fact that you can acknowledge these feelings and write them down means you are getting through the journey – I promise! Being able to vent about it, write about it and think about it is so healthy for you and for your readers who are struggling too. Hang in there..sometimes we all have moments or days like where we feel less than stellar about things, situations in our lives..I always tell myself,- tomorrow is a new day. And usually, I wake up and feel better with a better view on life. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

  • 19
    Josefine April 21, 2013, 8:05 am

    Very well written!

    It’s hard to let go and not being perfect, but there is beauty in imperfection! Whether it’s physical or mental it’s ok to be a little bit imprefect or broken. I’ve learnt to accept myself as a bit imperfect and flawed after a friend of mine said that I was very accepting and non-judgemental about other people’s imprefections but very hard on myself. Most of the time we are our own worst critics, instead of embracing and accepting all parts of our person, losing track on what’s important in life and what makes us happy. Reality and real persons aren’t perfect, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad.

  • 20
    Anne April 21, 2013, 8:44 am

    So much comments about god-christ-jesus etc., sorry, but I just need to say that you have to find faith in yourself, search for the power inside you, that’s also what I read in that post, no ? The only “force” that will guide me is in me… To much christianity not enough philosophical knowledge I guess.

    • 21
      Sara April 21, 2013, 10:13 pm

      I respect people’s beliefs but 10000000% agree. You have to dig deep and find that inner strength you never knew existed. And that is so ‘Jen’. Jen, your honesty is inspiring and you will be happy again and figure everything out.

  • 22
    LeeAnn April 21, 2013, 9:00 am

    Hey Jen – what an incredibly strong post that really speaks to me. I have said this to you before, but I am so impressed that you are self-aware enough at your age to be going through these struggles and realizations. I wish I had been. I am about a decade ahead of you, and seem to be at the same stage of growth. I think you are doing an amazing job of navigating through life, including the difficulties. I have been completely unable to blog during my more intense periods, so I applaud you for doing so – it is a gift and a kindness to us, your readers. Please know that you have so many supporters! Namaste, LeeAnn

  • 23
    Meg April 21, 2013, 9:24 am

    I truly love the honesty in this post. You’re not the only one fighting these battles, so at least take comfort in knowing you aren’t alone.

  • 24
    Tina April 21, 2013, 9:34 am

    Thank you for always being real!

  • 25
    Ashley April 21, 2013, 10:35 am

    Love this post! Being real can sometimes be the hardest thing to do – it’s much easier to pretend as if life’s realities aren’t there. Facing the truth sometimes means accepting things we don’t want to. Staying positive, remembering that the short life we live is a gift and devoting our time to the things/people that love us and make us happy is key! Stay strong – it’s times like these that mold you into the beautiful person that you are.

  • 26
    meghan @ struggle muffins April 21, 2013, 11:42 am

    Love this post. Sometimes it’s so challenging to sit with your self in the off moments and really let yourself be with sadness, or frustration or whatever the emotion is. When you let it happen instead of trying to tamp it down or prevent its not there, you’re just delaying the inevitable. I love how teaching yoga can really force you to confront that, it certainly has for me.

  • 27
    Marty April 21, 2013, 12:11 pm

    It is really difficult to publicly show weakness and be real and I think that you do a great job with acknowledging your faults. We are held to such standards in our minds and we forget to look at the real world and see that everyone is flawed and yet even the flawed are still wonderful. An example I remind myself when I am feeling badly about my body is to remember the beaches in Hawaii. Every body type in the world is there, all exposed in bathing suits and it is all good. Everyone is having a great time, they are with family in paradise and what their bodies look like in their bathing suits is not important. Stay real Jen! I also find this poem by Rumi to be very inspiring in reminding me to accept life as it is given. http://www.gratefulness.org/poetry/guest_house.htm

    • 28
      Ali April 21, 2013, 4:28 pm

      Wow, that poem is really powerful. Thanks for sharing!

  • 29
    Megan April 21, 2013, 2:03 pm

    What a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing! I have learned to let go when I met Jesus Christ. Because of who Jesus is, I have come to terms with the fact that I am imperfect, I mess up, and I make mistakes. But, I get back up and try again, because Christ died for ME and there is no greater love, no greater motivation, than the love of Jesus Christ!

  • 30
    Melissa April 21, 2013, 5:13 pm

    I’ve been following your blog now for quite some time and love that you are able to be so real with your life experiences. This blog post really struck something with me today so I just wanted to take a minute and thank you for that. I needed that extra jolt to get me to where I need to be today. “be kind; for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” never stop being kind and being real.

  • 31
    Mo April 21, 2013, 5:51 pm

    Beautiful post. Thank you.

  • 32
    Megan April 21, 2013, 6:54 pm

    Thank you for your post! These past couple of weeks have been rough for myself as well, and I really enjoy being able to come to your blog and read the beautiful post. This one truly hit home for me. Please keep believing in yourself and what you are doing to make the world a better place. Thank you for your openness, you are in my thoughts as you work through this.

  • 33
    Jill April 21, 2013, 7:28 pm

    When you read the Velveteen Rabbit quote today in class it really touched me. I have been feeling really down lately and have been picking myself apart. It really helps to see that even people like you, who really seem perfect, struggle with the same things that we all do? I love your yoga class, it always makes me feel better!
    Thanks!

  • 34
    Sara April 21, 2013, 8:36 pm

    What a beautiful & vulnerable post. I’m not sure I ever really let go until well after I’ve waved my white flag and surrendered to whatever it is I’m fighting. I think about letting go in terms of not feeling as emotionally raw, so if I’ve let go, I have some distance on whatever it was I wanted so badly to keep/happen. Sometimes when I’m stressed or upset about something, I look down and see that my hands are literally closed and I make myself open them. It’s hard surrendering to a situation that I thought was the right thing. Much later, though, I can look back on it without hurting or being upset/angry. That’s when I know I’ve finally let go. Time is your friend, and sometimes that really sucks – for me at least. Sending you happy thoughts.

  • 35
    Curly Pink Runner April 21, 2013, 9:37 pm

    Thank you for your honesty and realness. We live in an artifical world and we are in desperate need of realness.
    I find it so difficult to ‘let go’. I keep life in these neat little boxes, and when a situation starts to spiral out of my control, I try to grasp it even tighter. That is not the solution. I see the moment, and the here and now- God sees the big picture. Without His love and constant guidance, I could not face each new day.
    Love this post- thanks for sharing, and I hope that tomorrow brings extra sunshine and new peace to you.

  • 36
    Katie @ Live Half Full April 21, 2013, 10:33 pm

    Oh girl, in light of the past week I completely broke down on Friday. Luckily for me my Dad came into town and him and my husband took care of me. Time to put myself first for a little bit.

  • 37
    Nicole April 21, 2013, 11:22 pm

    Love this post. I actually quoted the velveteen rabbit in my wedding vows because I also struggled for years with “being real” and self-acceptance. I don’t know that it is a journey that ever ends, but I’m much further down the road, now. Taking the leap of faith and deciding just to let go of perfectionism was the best decision I ever made.

    I’m sorry you are hurting and I admire your growing insight. xo

  • 38
    Shane S April 21, 2013, 11:54 pm

    Love this post Jen – so real and touching. I’m glad to see that even you (who seems to have everything figured out and the life of fitness that I only dream of!) struggle with life sometimes. I am obsessed with your blog. Please keep up the wonderful work!

    PS – blog about running shoes…? I’d love that! 😀 😀 😀

    Be well!

  • 39
    just jamie April 22, 2013, 3:04 am

    Maybe we can redefine “perfect?”
    I sort of rediscovered this song very recently when I found myself in a dark mood. Anxiety, frustration, & self-doubt creep in sometimes… for all of us. We can be connected to so many and yet feel so very much alone. Listening to this song and connecting with my “real” people – you know, the ones who know “the real you” or your true spirit – was great relief. We are “perfect” to the people who are there for us when we are in our most “imperfect” state… because we are there for them.
    “Perfect” by some sort of cultural standard… well, what is that anyway? And is there joy in attaining it, or just dread in trying to maintain it? So… maybe “perfection” is in the eye of the beholder. And maybe JOY! is what we’re really after. 😉

    ~ PINK – Perfect ~
    Pretty, pretty please, don’t you ever, ever feel
    Like you’re less than, less than perfect
    Pretty, pretty please, if you ever, ever feel
    Like you’re nothing, you are perfect to me

    [ clean version = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3GkSo3ujSY
    (explicit) version for darker days: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocDlOD1Hw9k ]

  • 40
    Shanna April 22, 2013, 7:44 am

    Love it. I’m shouting you out too!

  • 41
    Stacie Smith April 22, 2013, 8:15 am

    Jen,
    I am not sure what it is that you are going through, but I want to let you know that I am praying for you and that there is nothing that is too burdensome for Jesus Christ. His burden is easy and light. I hope that you have a better week.

  • 42
    Courtney @ Fitness With A Fork April 22, 2013, 3:10 pm

    This is why I love your blog so much. I have SUCH a hard time with ‘letting go.’ Thank you for a great post!

  • 43
    amy April 23, 2013, 12:19 pm

    perfect timing. i first saw this post sunday. i’ve read it over and over since. i am struggling very hard these days – holding on to the way something should be. and i know it’s wrong and unhealthy and never going to be the way i wantbit to be. quite frankly it’s toxic. i really needed this. i needed that image of the hot air balloon which perfectly sums up how i feel. today, i let go. and i have taken steps to become real – eventually. step one is making that picture my iPhone wallpaper.

  • 44
    Karen April 24, 2013, 8:08 pm

    Ah! Lost my response somehow (and it was so good the first time. LOL)

    I just found your blog and how perfect that this was the first post I read. I don’t know you and I don’t know what you are going through, but your words were like poetry and THAT felt real to me. I think you are doing just fine being real if a perfect stranger can FEEL something when reading your words.

  • 45
    Harriet May April 25, 2013, 1:06 pm

    I have been off too for about a month or so. It’s like I’m trying to hold on by my fingernails but I’m slipping. I’ve always struggled with bouts of depression, so I’m starting to think maybe it’s cyclical and I’m just going to have to learn to cope when it rears its ugly head. It makes getting things done really tough, though. Mostly I just want to sleep. I hope you feel better, and even though I’ve really only just started reading your blog it’s a nice sunny spot on the Interwebz. 🙂 Anyway, real is far more interesting than perfect. We’re all just human, after all, trying to figure this life thing out.

  • 46
    Kira May 10, 2013, 2:03 pm

    I’m catching up on my blog feeds, so I apologize that this is so late. During my Clinical Pastoral Education year, we read a book about the myths that we tell ourselves that do a lot of damage to our psyches and to our relationships with others. One of my dangerous myths was presented as the good girl/good boy myth – if I am “good” and I do everything “right”, then people will love me. I still catch myself operating under that myth sometimes. It’s taken a lot of prayer and soul-searching to acknowledge that I am a beloved child of God, no matter what I do or don’t do. Part of breaking my “good girl” myth has been to embrace my more rebellious and feisty side and stand up for myself in situations. And, of course, being a minister of a church, I have HAD to let go of trying to make everyone like me because it’s just not going to happen. I have much more success ministering to people (and I see your teaching as a ministry!) out of who I really am (bruises, bumps, curse words, quirks, and all) than out of trying to pretend I’m Ms. Holier-than-thou with all the right answers.

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