"We know what the world wants from us. We know we must decide whether to stay small, quiet and uncomplicated or allow ourselves to grow as big, loud and complex as we were made to be."
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the beautifully raw and emotional memoir Glennon Doyle Melton shares with her readers, but Love Warrior is so much more. It is an invitation for all of us to reassess how we handle life’s tragic moments, how we capture opportunities for deeper self-discovery and how we leverage our support networks to rise up and onwards. Melton’s compelling ability to be unapologetically candid makes her story all the more actionable, by proxy she encourages her readers to feel deeply, project real beauty and be our truest selves. “Love, Pain, Life: I am not afraid. I was born to do this.”
The Big Idea
Journey of a Warrior
"I see your pain. It’s real. I feel it too. We can handle it baby. We can do hard things. Because we are Warriors."
Life is meant to be felt. The emotional spectrum is wide and unhindered, and the trajectory of our story is influenced by ever changing factors for which we have varying levels of control. Melton’s story moves from body image challenges, to dependency challenges, to martial strife and sometimes back again, illustrating that there are no quick fixes, no promised happy endings, and no human who goes unaffected by the “tough stuff”. Embracing the Journey of a Warrior means building resiliency, riding the wave and loving yourself and those most important to you in a forgiving and unwavering way.
It is tempting to downplay our pain in favor of a more positive outward facing story or in an attempt to shield the more innocent from pain that is to come, but a Warrior would wear the pain, manage the narrative and embrace their ever-changing story of life long fulfillment.
What You Know
"I force myself to translate the unanswerable into an answerable."
When crisis or tragedy strikes, often the most challenging part is that it was unanticipated. Being in the know and managing the narrative can be a valuable piece of control amongst the chaos. Melton’s coping skills were inspired by vulnerability and provide meaningful perspective for her readers. Her mantra was shared as follows:
- What you don’t know you’re not suppose to know yet.
- More will be revealed.
- Crisis comes from the word meaning to sift. Let it all fall away and you’ll be left with what matters.
- What matters most cannot be taken away.
- Just do the next right thing one thing at a time. That’ll take you all the way home.
Melton builds resilience slowly but surely, not by taking it one day at a time but rather each tiny step piece by piece, making it manageable and allowing her to build control over her own trajectory. Readers can borrow this shared mantra when faced with challenge and find comfort in the answerable amongst all the unanswerable that crisis may bring.
"Beautiful women glow. When you are with a beautiful woman you might not notice her hair or skin or body or clothes, because you’ll be distracted by the way she makes you feel. She will be so full of beauty that you will see some of it overflow onto you… because beautiful, wise women know the quickest way to fill up with beauty is to soak in another human being… The most beautiful women take their time with other people. They are filling up."
Melton shares her struggles with body image and her identity as a woman throughout the memoir. She reflects specifically on the challenges of raising empowered little girls when she herself often struggles with empowerment. She identifies the root of her issue as the transition from adolescent to adulthood and the challenges of a changing body and shifting societal expectations. Throughout the memoir it is as if her power is building, through crisis she discovers a strong identity and begins to hold fiercely to her new definition of what it means to be a woman and a Warrior.
While redefining beauty for herself, to be less dependent on appearance and how others define you, she is faced with an opportunity to model this for her daughters. When she finds them discussing the merits of the word ‘sexy’ it opens a larger conversation over definitions and expectations. Melton explains, “Pretty is another thing that can be sold. What and who is pretty is also something those people in boardrooms decide. It’s always changing. So if what you want to be is pretty, you’ll have to keep changing… What I want to be, girls, is beautiful… Beautiful is what you are made of.” The challenge of continued self-discovery is heightened when we are also faced with the lofty responsibility of parenting and/or role modeling, but Melton’s authenticity and her openness to continual learning and reflection serves as inspiration for her little women, and her readers. After all, empowered women empower women.
There are no promised rainbows at the end of this story. The storm is shared in full and the vulnerability is felt but at the end of it all, this memoir is a story of resiliency, strength and beauty. It may not all be outwardly actionable, but it encourages readers to re-examine how they manage crisis, the narrative they take from each new challenge, and explores new relationships with control and beauty.
Embrace the Journey of a Warrior and explore the power of vulnerability.