Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to hear Brene Brown speak about the power of vulnerability.  As part of the event we were given a copy of her book, The Gifts of Imperfection which I promptly read in one Saturday (clearly this happened pre-baby!).  Something about her ideas and research really resonates with me.  When I saw she had a new book out, I knew I had to get it.

Ever since, I’ve been thinking about marbles.

You see, I read it during a time when I was feeling a bit restless in my relationships.  Which sounds awful because I truly am surrounded with wonderful family, friends, and a faith community.  Perhaps the dissatisfaction could partly be attributed to the isolation that is part of new motherhood.  Probably a lot of it comes from playing the poisonous game of comparison.  Bottom line, it was a season of feeling like I was running low on marbles.

In the book, Brene uses the metaphor of a marble jar to explain to her daughter and the reader how trust and relationships are built (a marble jar is often used in elementary school as a classroom management technique; class is good, marbles go in.  Class misbehaves, marbles come out.  When the jar is full, The class earns some kind of reward).

“Whenever someone sticks up for you, or honors what you share with them as private, you put marbles in the jar.  When people are mean, or disrespectful, or share your secrets, marbles come out.”  Brene Brown, Daring Greatly

Basically, I love marbles.  Who doesn’t?  It feels great when someone remembers your birthday, or asks you about something because they listened when you were talking, or gets you a gift because they saw something and were reminded of you.  But I realized: I suck at giving marbles.

 I have great intentions.  This is how the conversation in my head usually goes: “I need to remember that Tuesday is a big day for so-and-so (first day at a new job, their birthday, important doctor appointment, fill-in-the-blank).  “Oops, how is it Wednesday?  I wonder how such-and-such was?  I need to text them and see how things went.” And then I get wrapped up in something unrelated and totally forget.  Its not because I am trying to be selfish with my marbles.  I guess I just think about myself more than I thought. The fact that I even spent a moment thinking about how I wish people were more considerate of me is all the proof that I need.

Instead of focusing so much on my marble jar, I have been looking for ways to be a bit more open-handed.  I don’t give marbles with an expectation of reciprocity.  The point is generosity.  To be generous not only materially, but with who I am.  My appreciation. My gratitude.  My time.

I like to call it: “Getting Over Myself.”

Care to join me?

(Linked up with Fancy Tuesday Link-Up!)