The holidays are over and I am breathing a sigh of relief because I’m tired of seeing the airbrushed, perfect smiling depictions of together that bolsters my unrealistic expectations of myself and others. I saw it at Starbucks. I saw it on TV with the Michelob commercial and heard it from the Tenors’ holiday music video.
It is ironic that these words are coming out of my mouth, someone who started a business called TOGETHER®. Candidly, you and I both know that together doesn’t always look pretty and happy, like commercials and music videos make it out to be.
Let’s be realistic. Sometimes together looks like your 18-month old one losing their “ish” at dinner with extended family, a daughter-in-law being ungracious about something you gave her, getting bronchitis and being isolated so it doesn’t spread to friends or family, or feeling like no one is speaking to you at the Christmas party.
What if commercials and music videos showed those imperfect, lonely, and undesirable moments? Would it make us feel that we didn’t have to wish for perfect together moments? Would it help us be content with the people that were there, no matter if a baby was screaming, no matter if someone said something they shouldn’t, no matter if you were tired?
Yes. Because together isn’t about everyone being happy at the same time (although that is beautiful). More often than not, together is about having grace* with the insecurities, imperfections, and oddities within ourselves and within those among us. If we can have grace with ourselves, we will be more likely to have grace for others. After the grace, bring the gratitude and say some “thank yous” for showing up and letting yourself be seen not without your weaknesses but in spite of them. The act of being present in itself is a form of courage, a form of daring greatly, as researcher and storyteller, Brené Brown, would say.
So here’s to a new year of imperfect together moments. Better to be imperfect together than perfect alone.
*Human grace is limited resource. I’m learning to keep asking to be filled with it minute by minute from the Giver of all Grace.