February 21, 2017

Authenticity

How desperately difficult it is to be honest with oneself. It is much easier to be honest with other people.What is true is invisible to the eye. It is only with the heart that one can see clearly.
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

After my last post, I realized how much this authentic self can resonate with others. It's freaking terrifying (desperately difficult indeed), and often I need to sit on things before I can feel "brave" enough to put them out there. Maybe this bravery isn't the same kind of bravery that you see on the battlefield, but it's bravery nonetheless.

The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.
- C.G. Jung
So I guess I'm going to keep on keeping on being honest, authentic, and real. This is good for me, for my head and my heart... and if it helps someone else, awesome. Even if it doesn't though - even if this is my barbaric yawp over the rooftops and no one cares or hears... it's important work.

Only the truth of who you are, if realized, will set you free.
- Eckhart Tolle
With that, I wanted to share something I wrote. Often, it's hard for me to articulate until I've had a chance to think, write, and ground myself. In this current life of tiny urgent beings, that's hard time and space to come by. But this was truly important, and I'm thankful that I not only prioritized this, but that my partner in this life is truly listening. He is able to hear my heart, even when it's hard for me to hear him.


written feb 13, 2017 

I’m sorry to have yelled at you this morning. I heard you say you don’t want “I’m sorrys”, but there are still a couple inside of me that need to come out. Bear with me.

I also need to write to express some of the hard stuff inside my head and heart right now. No obligation to read this right this minute - but hoping it helps you understand a bit more.

Thank you for your text this morning. I hear you, and I hear your frustration.

I’m kind of thinking about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs - you mentioned not being as considerate as you could be, which I appreciate hearing. But at the same time, if your basic needs of being listened to and being able to trust me aren’t being met - some of those higher level functions might not be as easy to access. Like being considerate.

So while I’ve heard you every time we've talked, and wholeheartedly want to do/be better in every possible way - my anxiety and avoidance behaviors have been louder/stronger. I’m fighting within myself, repeatedly.

More often than not, my mind feels like a wind tunnel where I have to pluck thoughts out of my head. Like that silly activity at Chuck E Cheese where kids try to grab tickets. It’s disorienting, distracting, stressful, frustrating, loud, and I’m rarely successful. I’ll have brief moments where I feel accomplished, like I’m making progress, and I’m trying hard to be kind to myself and remind myself that even if it’s not ALL done, or not done PERFECTLY, it’s okay - because I can try again.

Focusing on the lack/gap of what I have achieved without acknowledging/encouraging all that was done successfully or well is incredibly challenging and demoralizing for me. It makes me want to give up altogether - that all of the effort and struggles I went through to get to this point have meant nothing and are worthless.

I’ve started keeping a bullet journal that seems to be helping me manage the wind tunnel a bit. I was really excited to learn about it, because it seems like just what I was looking for (I just didn’t know how to get it started on my own). I’d love to share it with you, and I’m working to make it a living part of my life - not just something that I start and abandon. It will take time to cultivate this new habit, but I’m trying to be mindful of the fact that even if I fall off the wagon, so to speak - it’s okay to pick it back up and keep going. Not just shame myself out of trying again. Habits and routines take time, encouragement, and persistence to develop - it's unrealistic to expect immediate, accurate, consistent change from myself.

I’ve been working over the last several years to be less sensitive or knee-jerk when we talk about tough things - because I want to hear from you, and I want to have productive, meaningful conversations.

But did you know that my internal dialogue is pretty terrible? I will get disappointed with myself, but instead of being able to be disappointed, assess, and adjust behaviors - I jump immediately into shame-based thoughts and it’s a very steep/quick slope from “doing okay” to “hating myself” and kind of wondering if I should even be around - if you deserve someone/something better. Because deep down inside, I'm pretty sure I'm not worthy during these hard moments.

Here are some examples I’ve been working on with Gretchen.

“I never follow through on anything, and that means I’m a failure/don’t deserve to be loved.”
“I should look a certain way to keep up appearances with society, and when I don’t it means I’m too stupid, doing something wrong, and I’m a failure.”
“I need to have this all figured out, and I don’t, so I’m letting everyone down and shouldn’t even try.”
“I can’t get or stay caught up, because I’m too stupid to figure it out.”
“If you’re not going to get it all done right, you shouldn’t even try doing it at all because you’re worthless.”
“This is not hard for everyone else, why are you struggling with this?”

Along with these thoughts come paralyzing emotions of anxiety, fear, overwhelm, despair.

So while my intentions are solid and true and positive - I’m fighting against these massive concepts, and I’m desperately trying to dig out from under. I’m not trying to disregard you. Or hurt you. Or not listen.

I’m trying not to drown.

Gretchen is helping me be able to identify these moments and work through the triggers and how to balance them and then reframe. So instead of shaming myself and sinking into those thoughts (which lead to those frustrating behaviors), I can attempt to step back from the catastrophic edge, acknowledge and normalize my thoughts and feelings so that I can put in place those behaviors to take positive action.

This is fucking hard. I’ve never done this before. It’s not something I’m able to shake off and snap out of. I can’t just get over it - these feelings/thoughts are so deeply embedded that I’m finding myself well into avoiding and it just feels like getting carried away in a strong river current.

So it’s kind of like now - I’m waking up to it sooner - more quickly after the current starts carrying me. I’m taking this as an accomplishment - a win. I’m still struggling, but I’m not just giving up. I’m awake. I’m realizing and saying out loud what I’m struggling with, seeking answers. I’m fighting. I’m trying to ask for help, even if I don’t know what I need. I know I need something, but I don’t know what it is. I’m not trying to not let you in - I just don’t even know how. I barely even know how to articulate to myself what I want and need because of the wind tunnel.

I think there’s more inside, but I don’t have the energy or ability to figure it out right now. I’ll keep working on it, and I'll come to you as soon as I can. I hope that's okay.

Please know that I believe I am capable. And I think I’m worthy. I know for certain that this life of ours is a gift, and I’m grateful beyond words to have you as my partner. I’m fighting hard right now, and I think it will be a fight I’ll be working on for a while. Please continue to let me know what you need, because you deserve to feel safe, trusted, confident, worthy, and loved.


Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.
- Mother Theresa

2 comments:

  1. This is really strong, and real. Keep your chin up and moving forward. I only met you briefly, but I know you're worthy, and not stupid. <3

    ReplyDelete

 
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