It's a girl thing.

So, I'm extremely annoyed at a reasonably well-known person this week.

Not Oprah. My enormous distaste for Oprah has a chronic component that I've learned to live with. There she is, starting stuff all over, handing out expensive goodies to the audience, and new forms of woo science, and chatting with a monstrous assortment of other celebrities whose inability to go normally to the organic grocery (like the rest of us) is a constant challenge to their serenity, only partially mitigated by the million-dollar mansions and good insurance. With Oprah I always find myself wondering how many ordinary families could have better school supplies if her pillow replacement budget was diverted. But I KNOW this isn't speaking from the "angels of my better nature," and I try to get past it.

This other person is annoying me right now because I REALLY want to fix her prayer list. Or, to put it another way, I would like her understanding of her challenges to be more closely aligned with mine.

So, to work off this petty, stupid, and inappropriate annoyance, I am going to list 10 improvements to our prayers, useful to anyone, including me.

10. When you consider your challenges, consider the next one you wouldn't swap for. For example, when I struggled with infertility I thought about people who had lost a child. As a parent I include a wish for the protection of people who wanted children and couldn't have them.

9. When you think about your trouble now, take a minute to be grateful for the time before it, and hopeful for the time after. 

8. Consider your privileges. I spent a lifetime being a pretty girl, before my sense of myself was tested by a new appearance. That experience gave me resources that a plain girl never got. Likewise, my color, my education, and my wellness have given me "money in the bank" in my dealings with the world.

7. It really IS "better to have loved and lost." Respect your losses as a measure of your gains.

6. Learn from where you are. This is the opportunity you have, today. Use it to learn something you hadn't learned under other circumstances.

5. Listen. Important as it may be to "express yourself" it's more important to listen, particularly to people who have been down this road before.

4. Reach out in kindness. It's easy to be angry, but it's very often not useful. Being kind to other people moves the energy around.

3. Be kind to yourself. New challenges, particularly health challenges, sometimes really suck. You are permitted to be both unwell and imperfect... even if that is new to you.

2. Don't be a jackass. You weren't the world's greatest expert on this before, and you aren't now. Being an expert is a way to distance yourself from what you're going through. It's insincere and uses energy you need.

1. Look for ways to forgive, and start by forgiving yourself. I'm not yet the person I hope to be, but I insist on being friends with myself. So I try to love myself with my lesser qualities and all... and I try to love my friends, neighbors and acquaintances that way, too.

Even the ones who were annoying me. Although I can't now remember why. ;)


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