Posts Tagged With: work of self

feeling hopeful with Plato

Last week I read about someone’s journey as they do the work of self. I read about how they faltered, how the work is so much harder when the pain becomes so great they need to escape it. Oftentimes that involves crawling to the bottom of a bottle.
This got me thinking…
The pain is so great that stopping seems the only answer. The problem there is the constant stopping and starting again only serves the cycle of pain, and actually makes it worse.
By stopping the hard work of self when it becomes difficult or painful, it becomes even harder to begin again each time.
I believe working through the pain when it seems most difficult and unbearable is better for you. The only way out is through. And when you come out the other side, the pain is less acute, and you find it easier to breathe for a while.

I think it can be something as simple as learning yourself. Knowing your triggers. Knowing that at some point you’re going to feel so much pain you simply cannot go on. What you do then is how successful you’ll be on that journey.

Knowing oneself can be the most powerful tool in one’s bag
I do believe it’s as simple as that.
To know who you are.
To know why you are.
To be able to look at your choices and realize why you made them.
So many people can’t actually do that!
You’re where you are because of every single choice you’ve ever made. Sometimes choices are unconsciously made. We often ‘autopilot’ through our days.

What seems normal to you isn’t to someone who didn’t live your experiences. Those normal-seeming things create the way you view life, the way you move through life. How you treat others, how you permit others to treat you.
If your upbringing is skewed, your idea of normal is equally skewed.
Therefore, you behave, and accept others behavior based upon these norms.
Sometimes it isn’t until you have some life under your belt that you learn to see things from all perspectives…and then you realize your sense of normal is not, in fact, normal.

For some that happens sooner in life, for some later.
Working out those kinks is a tricky situation. And you’re bound to falter occasionally.
Figuring out who you actually are, who you want to be, and how to do that without taking into account all that seemingly normal…
You’re on a dark and difficult path. You’re going to fall. You’re going to get the shit kicked out of you, even if you’re actually kicking the shit out of yourself.
But, there is precious learning in this journey. And when you decide who you are based upon your own truth, and work to become that with every fiber of your being, it will be so worth it.

At least that’s my experience.
I’m on that journey, perhaps I’m further along than some, less than others. Perhaps I realized sooner, or later, or through different pain, that the seemingly normal was not at all right.
I’ve fought tooth and nail to get where I am in my own personal development. I’ve faltered. I’ve fallen. I’ve temporarily given up. But I get back up dust myself off and keep working.

The me I am now is nothing like the me they taught me to be.
I am the gift I gave myself.
The most sacred and precious gift of my life.

It’s the hardest work I’ve ever done.
And I cried.
And I bled.
And I completely shut down.
I had moments when it didn’t feel worth it, or I didn’t have any fight left in me.
But each time I got back up.

That spark of truth in me was too strong to extinguish with my ennui, or defeatist attitude, or simple exhaustion.
I’m not finished with that work, it just comes a little bit easier now than when I first started.
I may never be finished. I may do this work the rest of my days.
I owe that to myself.
I want to be the truest me. I want to share that me with the world.
I will work to be the truest me until the last breath leaves this body.
That sounds exhausting, but it also sounds hopeful.

Categories: mental health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

a break up story, or the power of being in a relationship with herself

When the girls were here, Thing 2 talked about how it was time to end her relationship with Boyfriend J. She is in a place of deep self exploration, healing, and growth. She needs her partner to be in a place of personal growth, so they can parlay their individual growth into positive evolution in their relationship.
Boyfriend J is not in a place of deep self exploration, healing, or growth. I don’t believe it’s a choice he’s made, I just think that’s not where he is in his personal development. From conversations I’ve had with Thing 2, it’s not that he’s unwilling to enter a growth mindset as much as he honestly doesn’t know where to begin.
Perhaps that’s lack of maturity?
Perhaps that’s lack of a properly built foundation?
Perhaps he’s simply not there?
To be perfectly honest, he may just need time. He’s newly twenty-two and still in the conceptual ‘figuring out’ stage of development.
Thing 2 is in the active ‘figuring out’ stage, and needs her partner to be in this active stage.

Lack of love is not their problem.
They love each other truly and deeply.
Thing 2 realized however much they love each other, she needs to love herself enough to make the hard choices.

This is from a conversation in our girls group chat.
Monday morning Thing 2 wrote:

I am…uncomfortable but that’s okay. Boyfriend J still isn’t awake yet, but to calm myself down I started the list in my phone of things that are his…I feel like a shit human for getting so far into the clinical-planning-stage, but it is making me feel better to be more prepared…
I went to the gas station to buy nos to soften the blow. I really missed my car. I wanted to just drive around to try and clear my head, but I know that I would’ve actually just been running away from the situation…I’m proud of myself for realizing that. But I also know that after have the conversation and the dust settles, I’ll want to get right back in it. I’m going to be very mindful and respectful of his feelings and where he’s at before I leave. I think after we properly discuss it, I’ll ask if he would like my company while he processes (because we don’t have to start packing things right away) or if he would like to be alone for a little while. I think that’s the kind thing to do
And if he needs me to be with him, I will stay. And if he needs to be alone, I will drive.

Later that afternoon she wrote:

I am sorry I’ve been mia all day. I did the deed and we talked and then just sat for a long while, then I decided I needed to take a drive so I’ve been in my car since 3:30ish. I got tired of driving so now I’m sitting outside of the laundromat place where ACA is waaaay too early. I was going to go back to the house, but I knew if I did that I wouldn’t come to the meeting tonight

This morning she texted me:

Feeling very adult-y getting my oil changed and my tires rotated before taking Boyfriend J to Jacksonville tomorrow. We finished packing his things last night and tonight we’re gonna be with the boys

I replied:

How’s it going? I want to know where each of you is emotionally, but also be respectful.
I don’t want the gossip, I want to hear the story of your life.
How is Boyfriend J? How are you? I’m awed by your strength! I am so hopeful each of you moves successfully forward

She wrote:

He is very sad, but I know that I can’t do anything about that. I love him very much, and I hope that his mom makes good space for him. And I hope that his stepdad pushes him to participate in his life, but is gentle with him. I worry for him, but I know that this is what I have to do and that it might suck to be him for a while–but he needs this too. I just hope that he realizes that and can find his own path and happiness.

I wrote:

Yes!! My God, Thing 2! Yes x infinity! You SO get it!
Brava, baby!! You’re living for you while still having compassion for the people you love!! You are actively doing it!!!

She replied:

It fucking hurts, but I know that I will be alright. Talking with Alex yesterday was really helpful, there’s a lot of similarities between his ex and my situation. I know that it will hurt less with time and space. I’m hoping that I will notice a change in myself. Going through the dusty disorganized bookshelf made me reflect on where I’m at. I think I’ll take Sunday to be alone and get rid of things and organize more. I think I might rearrange my room again, I’m not sure how yet, and I love the fort, but it’s like after Boyfriend D finally left–I have to move my bed.

Alex is one of the bartenders at the Asian fusion restaurant where Thing 2 works. I absolutely adore him! I love him as a human, but I also love how he’s a friend to my daughter. I’m looking forward to the next time I see him so I can squeeze him tightly!
The fort to which she refers is sheets, sheers, and fairy lights hung from the ceiling around her bed.

I wrote:

Deep cleaning, organizing, rearranging your room. These are all SMART choices! Do you smudge? That would be a great thing to do before, during, and after you purge, organize, rearrange!

She replied:

I’ve never done it before, but I didn’t hate the smell when we did that at Thing 1’s house. I was worried it would bother my chest, but it didn’t

I wrote:

I love the ritual of bringing the smoke to your heart, mind, and body before you begin

She replied:

That’s really beautiful. And you think before I rearrange would be better? Or should I wait until I’m finished? Or before and after? I don’t think I can do it during just because of how much shit is gonna be laying around and my hands will probably be full the whole time. I’m thinking it’s gonna be SERIOUS changes. Like moving everything and deep cleaning as well as getting rid of and organizing. I’m talking baseboard scrubbing kind of cleansing

I replied:

In that case, before and after.
Before to help rid the icky
After to make sure nothing got stirred up and to ensure you start fresh and clean
A catharsis for your physical and emotional self and space.
What could be more beautiful self love?

She wrote:

I think you’re right, that seems like the best way to do it. If I’m gonna do it, I want to be as thorough and effective as possible
I’ve been seeing so many empowering messages of self-love lately. I’m tired of everyone telling me that I’m brave and that they’re proud of me, but I am surprised how steady I feel within myself. Also Alex with those damn fortune cookies, he kept shoving them at me all day yesterday and every one of them was like “positive change” “take an opportunity” and shit like that, it made me mad and feels-y but it was very kind and funny of him, in an odd but encouraging way

Again I say, I love Alex!

I wrote:

When I left (your dad) everyone told me I was brave and strong. I felt neither. I just inherently knew I was doing what was best for me. So I understand what you’re saying down deep in my soul.
I’m proud *for* you. You made a terribly hard decision in a loving and mindful way. You considered Boyfriend J’s feelings without sacrificing your own well being. That’s HUGE! So many people won’t or can’t do what you’ve done.
So yes, in some ways it’s brave and strong. But mostly it’s you taking the best possible care of yourself

I asked her permission to write about this. I told her it’s a powerful story. I asked, is it too personal? I want to respect her privacy.

She replied:

I don’t mind if you write about it. It seems a little silly, I’m not sure how many of your followers care about Thing 2 and Boyfriend J hahaha. But I think it’s relevant to your past/story and I hope that people will be able to read it and see some part of their own life in it, not just some 20-something drama. You have my consent to tell this story in your powerful words

I wrote:

Tears of love and joy in my eyes.
Your story is powerful and meaningful, not 20 something drama.
I think more people will relate to, and/or be inspired by it than you imagine.

She wrote:

Thank you for your endless support

To which I replied:

Until the last breath leaves my body.

Then I made a stupid joke à la Joss Whedon to undercut the love and gratitude.
She responded with:

My girl comes by her ability to add well timed, though possibly inappropriate humor naturally, however she’s honed her skills to an art that far outstrips my own.

Breaking up is hard to do. (I know…but he wrote that song because it’s true)
Ending a relationship is difficult.
Being mindful about how you end a relationship is even more so.
Thing 2 and Boyfriend J have so much love between them, but simply aren’t in the same place in their individual lives. That there is still love must make it harder to end their relationship. Thing 2 agonized over how it would affect Boyfriend J. She was so worried about his feelings, about his pain. She did not want to hurt him. But she knew that she was hurting herself by staying in a relationship that wasn’t feeding her personal growth.
That’s a ridiculously difficult decision to make. Many ‘full fledged’ adults won’t or can’t do it.
But this twenty-two year old, this tiny young woman made the hardest decision because she knew she would be better off for it. She is hopeful that Boyfriend J will be better off for it too.
She broke both their hearts to create a better life for herself.
Y’all, that’s brave!
She doesn’t feel brave. She doesn’t have to say it because I know this on a deep and personal level.
But brave she is.

To be as young (yet old) as she is, and doing this hard and powerful work of self with as much love and awareness as she is, it’s so inspiring!
Thing 2 did what was best for her, even though it hurt her to do it. Even though it hurt Boyfriend J. And she did it with love, kindness, and integrity. And she did it with hope.
She is hopeful that her difficult decision to end a loving yet stalled relationship will facilitate further personal growth. Not only for her, but also for the young man she loves.
She is hopeful about being in a relationship with herself for a while, she told me the idea of being alone isn’t such a scary and negative thing if your mind is in the right place.

That’s why I wanted her permission to write about it. I know she understands the power of her decisions. But I’m not sure she really understands how powerful her story is.
It might inspire others in the process of making a difficult decision.
It might be relatable to others who’ve made those kinds of difficult decisions.
The story of Thing 2 and Boyfriend J’s break up is personal. It’s small in the grand scheme of things.
But the story of being mindful and loving when making the hard choices. Of doing what’s best for herself while still working to keep him safe and loved.
This is where the power lies.
The power of love.
The power of hope.
The power of learning to love yourself and have that be more than enough for the time being.

Categories: love, peace and wellbeing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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