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“I liked you better then.”

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Back in the day, my personal mission in life was to beat Martha Stewart and Betty Crocker at their own game. Oh yes: I was going to be THE BEST STAY AT HOME MOM that ever walked the earth. I was over-achieving and over-efforting like nobody’s business: homemade baby food, library story-time, matching outfits for me and the kids, elaborate gingerbread cookies for the holidays. Girrrrl. No mom-detail left unattended.

One day, I was on the phone with my sister:

Sis: What are y’all doing?

Me: Oh, I just set up the table for craft hour.

Her: What the hell? “Craft hour”?! What is that?

Me: (super smug) Oh, I set up the easel and the paints, or the box of clay and craft supplies so that the kids can do something other than watch TV while I cook dinner.

Her: You know what? I’m the mom that’s going to take you to the mall or the movies. I’m not doing shit like that. Kill me now.

Me: (defensive) Well, I love it.

You know what? I didn’t love it. (And I think my sister knew it.)

I think about that story all the time. My sister knew exactly what kind of mom she wanted to be—and she wasn’t going to pretend to be the reincarnation of Betty Crocker and bake her own multi-grain bread from scratch in order to prove her “mom worth.” She felt “worthy” enough just being herself. But back then? I did not.

Fast-forward about ten years. I’m rummaging through a box of family photos, and I discover an old photo of me in the kitchen, smiling (fakely), wearing a Pampered Chef apron, and mixing cookie dough.

I hate to bake. I like to cook when I have time, but I really don’t like to bake. I don’t like following the fussy directions. I get impatient and bored. I have a colorful baking history that involves burns, explosions and my kids going, “What exactly did you DO to these cookies?”

But I used to bake all the time because I thought I was “supposed” to.64ab529f26b164fa43b52574f7aad8f5

As I’m sifting through the old pictures, a longtime family friend—who happens to be in the room—leans over my shoulder, glances at the photo, and says, “You know, I think I liked you better then.”

Ouch.

What she meant was… “I really enjoyed it when you would do whatever I wanted.”

Or possibly… “It was truly delightful when you didn’t share your opinions publicly and when you didn’t pursue goals that make me feel triggered, uncomfortable, and / or jealous of your current level of happiness and success.”

She didn’t like me better then. That’s not possible. Because the real me was barely even present.

Imagine a world where instead of saying things like, “I liked you better then,” we’d see our sisters upleveling, transforming, and taking all kinds of creative and emotional risks and we’d say,

“I like seeing you grow.”

“I liked you then and I like you now.”

“I like how you keep surprising me.”

“I like watching you become even braver.”

“I like the way you motivate and inspire me.”

“I like how you’re not afraid to try something new.”

“I like how you keep discovering what makes you happy.”

“I like how what you want—and what you do—are becoming more and more aligned.”

“I like how you’re getting stronger and wiser every single year.”

“I like these cookies that you bought from the bakery. Seriously. Your homemade ones really sucked.” LOL.

Text one of those phrases to a woman or girl that you love—especially if she’s in the midst of a personal growth spurt or any type of transformation.

Say, “I see you.”

Say, “I love you.”

Most of all, say:

“I can’t wait to meet the next version of you.”

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P.S. If you want to grow and become more aligned with yourself, I’d love to invite you to join my BARE Certification program. We begin next month and there’s only one spot left. You can get all the deets here.

xoxo, Susan

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