How to love fiercely when you are Ron Weasley.

A few weeks ago I read a post written by Meredith Wade that called us
to to love each other fiercely. I love this language— I picture
muscular arms reaching out and wrapping around each other creating a
chain that can not be broken. I want to love fiercely but I am still
trying to figure out what that looks like in practice. I love action
items and wanted to turn the idea of fierce love into practical steps.
But how do you do this when you are unequivocally Ron Weasley?

Ron Weasley is an ENFP. He is described as “open hearted, excitable,
creative, funny, and full of wild ambition. Always look on the bright
side and keep their chin up. Even in the face of massive obstacles,
excel in many aspects of what they do and hold loved ones close to
their heart. Firmly believe that life is for the living.”

Not only am I Ron Weasley, I am a Hufflepuff— a title I hold proudly.
Hufflepuffs are described as “trustworthy, and loyalty with a strong
work ethic. The friendliest, most decent and most tenacious house of
them all.”
Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 10.24.13 AM
I easily fall into these roles. Just like Ron, who was a solid
Quidditch player but never a star, I am a solid athlete but will never
be great. Ron is also smart enough hold his own in his relationship
with Hermione— but was never an exceptional student. He was more
interested in supporting his friends and being part of the Hogwarts
community then perfecting his potions essay. I too would much rather
build friendships and bring people together to form community than
excel academically. This is not because me and Ron are exceptionally
lazy but because we ‘hold our loved ones close to our hearts.” We are
guided by empathy, compassion and loyalty and while we are capable of
doing things and working hard by ourselves, we find more joy in
supporting others to achieve common goals.

In a lot of ways, loving fiercely comes easily to me. But sometimes it
is too easy. I met a person recently who is also a Ron Weasley. We
have a freaky amount in common so I am not sure if we are ENFP due to
nature or nurture but I don’t think it really matters.  We have both
ended up in a place where we give unconditionally to the people we
love and we struggle to place boundaries around our own needs. She
described herself as a table that is covered in water. The water flows
over the edges quenching the thirst of the floor. The floor becomes
accustomed to this treatment and demands more and more water. The
floor positively reinforces the constant drip of water and criticizes
when water gets tired. So water continues to flow because it
understands that the floor is thirsty and wants to do everything in
its power to make the floor feel better. But in the end there is very
little water left on the table to quench the table’s thirst.  She said
that she is working on building barriers on her table to hold a little
more for herself.

What I love about this metaphor is that she does not need to change
the nature of the water. She does not need to become a solid in order
to protect her own needs. I do not want to stop being water. I believe
that Ron’s and my passion for others is our largest strength. I would
never want to stop empathizing or stop connecting. I need those things
to survive. But they are also the same things that can suck me dry. I
need to learn to build some barriers.

In this case, building barriers IS fierce love. I need to improve
these barriers with romantic partners, friends, coworkers, and
strangers. In my heart of hearts I wish everyone was water. I wish
that we could all flow freely on and off of each others tables. I want
us all to be the floor where the waves of compassion can cross
equally. I could give away all my water because I know that it will
come back to me eventually from someone else. But until we are all
swimming in a shared pool of fierce love, I need to learn to be
compassionate to myself.

This starts with me no longer saying “sorry.” If I hurt you I will
apologize. If I run into you on the sidewalk I will speak up and
acknowledge my mistake. But I will no longer be apologizing for when
YOU run into ME. I will not apologize for things that are outside of
my control. My sister is helping stay accountable to this one. Thanks
Maggie (aka Sirius Black).

When I make space for others to ignore my emotional needs I am
actively perpetuating the cycle of unsustainable give and take. I need
to speak up to hold myself and others accountable.

I am in the middle of a 40 hour training to work on the BARCC crisis
hotline. The training has reminded me of a lot of things that I need
to hear and that I dont think we shout loudly enough. One of the first
things we are taught in training is self care. We can not be expected
to help others if we do not take care of ourselves first.

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation,
and that is an act of political warfare.”

Audre Lourd

Just like Ron I have my limits. Ron ran out on Hermione and Harry when
he could give no more. I too have run out on people. And just like Ron
I always come back. But setting boundaries will ultimately make me a
better human, a better friend, and a better partner. I have been
reminded recently that “If your compassion does not include yourself
it is incomplete.”By learning how to love myself I will also be
learning how better to love others. And when it comes down to it–
loving one another. That is really what its all about.
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In the words of Leslie Knope, “I care a lot. It’s kinda my thing.”

I have no plans to stop caring. I just need to learn to factor myself
into the equation.

Radical love will look different for everyone. My weaknesses are
someone else’s strengths. But if we are going to make it through
together then we all need to start trying.

peace, love, and harry potter

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