“Doubt yourself and you doubt everything you see. Judge yourself and you see judges everywhere. But if you listen to the sound of your own voice, you can rise above doubt and forgiveness. And you can see forever.” ~Nancy Kerrigan
I was at a social gathering this evening that provided numerous situations and interactions that would normally have triggered my self-doubt and self-judgment, but I was able to stay in my observer-self mode tonight.
I love the poem below because it reminds me to be gentle with myself. I tend too easily to default toward punishing myself as if I need to repent of being me.
I am slowly learning that just being who I am is enough. I don’t need to make myself anything else or anything more.
And that acceptance bring joy and freedom.
“As difficult as it seems, you can be sure of this: At the core of the heart, you have the power to move beyond the old issues that are still hindering your freedom. The hardest things, the ones that push you up against your limits, are the very things you need to address to make a quantum leap into a fresh inner and outer life.” ~Doc Childre
The last few months especially have seemed like one hard thing after another pushing me up against my limits. Sometimes these are genuinely new hard things that are arising; other times, it is more like deeper layers of an onion that are rising to the surface after the previous layer has been peeled away.
“The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases.” ~Carl Jung
We are all different, each one of us unique. That’s not new news to me. I’ve always been very aware of how different I am from most people around me. However, my study of yoga is bringing this truth home to me in a whole new way.
“Care about people’s approval, and you will be their prisoner.” ~Lao Tzu
Yesterday’s DailyOM posting was about other people’s agendas. It talked about the pressure we get from other people to live our lives in a way to line up with their agendas for our life. Sometimes their agendas are a reflection of their care for us, but sometimes they are a result of some need of their own. Often they are a mixture of both. The challenge is in finding a way to appreciate and consider their point of view while retaining the right to make our own choices for our own lives.
I tend to attract people into my life who have strong agendas for how I should live my life. I suspect that some of this is due to me repeating unresolved issues with my mother until I get this figured out; some of it is also likely a natural outcome of my co-dependent nature. Regardless of the cause, I find myself repeatedly in situations where I care deeply about having someone’s approval in some way which causes me to wind up a prisoner to their agenda for my life.
“Following something that appears to be a distraction is not a waste of time, if—and it’s a big all-caps IF—you can do it consciously.” ~Havi Brooks
Havi Brooks, of The Fluent Self, made the statement above in her blog post for today entitled Follow the rabbit holes. She encourages the conscious pursuit of rabbit holes because these so often turn out to hold messages from our subconscious selves that wind up leading us in new directions or feeding our creative juices at critical moments. (The entire post is well worth reading.)
I must confess that I have a thing about rabbit holes.
“Who would you be if you didn’t want the ongoing good opinion of others?” ~Jaya the Trust Coach
Having the good opinion of others has always been of vital importance to me. This is even true of complete strangers; I can’t bear the feeling of knowing someone (anyone!) doesn’t think well of me. This inability to bear it is exponentially worse when it comes to people I love and am close to. Encountering their disapproval or disappointment in me just about sends me into complete panic mode.
I react to others’ disapproval with profound feelings of shame writhing through my being and an agony of fear and discomfort coursing through my veins. I often feel as if my entire body will start writhing around in an external show of my internal torture. (Although I am usually able to resist doing anything more than hand wringing when in the presence of others.)
So when I read the title of Jaya the Trust Coach’s March newsletter, You want the good opinion of others–are you sure?, my immediate response was “Yes, of course!”
“Whoever cannot spend two-thirds of the day alone, doing what he pleases, is a slave.” ~Nietzsche
With the ice storms of the last several days, I have not seen another person since Monday of the this week. I’ve had a few short telephone conversations in that time—one to a friend, two about rescheduling of my hair cut due to the storm, and one wrong number. I’ve had the usual emails, instant messages, and Facebook interactions, but even those have been drastically decreased compared to normal these past few days.
So I have spent my days completely and gloriously alone, with only the company of my two cats (who are delighted with the extra attention). I have no television, but have not even turned on the radio or other music. The silence is heavenly; the solitude, healing. And it has been a particularly blessed time because it is entirely guilt free; there’s no where I could have gone anyway in this icy mess even if I had wanted to.
“Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” ~Kris Kristofferson (from the song Me and Bobby McGee)
This line has been running through my mind a lot lately as I count my last days at work. People are often commenting (with what appears to be a bit of jealousy) that I will soon have my freedom from a place that is making me (and others) so unhappy.
And while that’s true, I look at the losses I’ve experienced over the last year and the losses that are coming in my very near future and can’t help but think that the freedom I am finding in this situation comes from having so little left to lose. Some of these losses are outwardly obvious in the form of relationships, money, or things. But so many of them are invisible losses—losses of hopes and dreams, of self-esteem, of goals, of self-definition, of beliefs and worldviews.