I wrote something I want to remember on my friend Rick’s blog over at Awesome Fun, about whether or not he’s chosen to be unhappy. I have wondered the same thing myself.
I think the hardest part about any of the trials we face is that we do one of two things: blame others for what happens to us, or, blame ourselves for what happens to us. Neither one is appropriate. A friend once told me society conditions us to be victims and not victors. Things happen that lead some of us to alcoholism, drugs (prescription and illegal), sex/pornography, over-eating, shopping, gambling, the INTERNET (my vice) and other vices to alleviate our discomfort with the way things are. For some of us, it’s self-flagellation. Do any of them really work? No, they just serve to distract us from finding victory over our challenges.
Some things are well within our control to do something about. And we should take action to avoid them getting worse. Some things are not at all within our control to do something about. So we would be wise to accept that fact and not dwell on it and certainly not castigate ourselves (yes, easier said than done, I agree).
Another wise friend of mine shared this illuminating observation with me about myself:
I do not think that you are suffering from some hopeless pathology. I KNOW that you are not doomed. Sad…misguided…lonely…these are characteristics that we can deal with. Doomed? Not really much to do about that one, ya know? Yes, there is something “in you” that rejects your own ability to change the way things are.
But, the thing of it is…I know for a fact it wasn’t always this way, I certainly wasn’t born this way. And for most of my life, I was a fighter for what I believed in. I championed around my siblings when they were abused by my mother, and I demanded my family to treat me better than I was and when it became clear I was no longer welcome in my home because of it, I moved out (I was not completely financially ready to do so, but I left anyway). Once I believed in myself and I went after for my independence, my chance to be free, and I GOT WHAT I WANTED – liberation. The sad thing is…16 years after I left home, I had slowly transitioned from being free back into bondage. No, not simply because I got married and had kids, but because I started limiting myself and minimizing my abilities and my talents and my strengths. After I quit my job I started believing I could not change my situation much and stopped responding to the signals in me that were telling me my boundaries were being infringed upon. The voices that would tell the world “fuck you, world – I can and I will succeed” and “I won’t allow you to treat me this way” got replaced with “there is no way I can do this” and “I don’t deserve better treatment than I am getting”.
WOW. What a breakthrough thought.
My friend Rick made this comment on his blog
You didn’t take the right step. You’re failing again. Ah, there you go. Sit down. You’ll only make things worse if you get back up. And that nice thing you have? Destroy it. You don’t deserve it. You know that. Quit fucking around and face the truth. You are a failure. Admit it. Live it. Anything else is a lie.
I’m telling you, at first I didn’t know whether to smile (because I’ve felt similarly) or cry (because I’ve felt similarly).
But then I got to thinking, how the hell did I let this happen? Well, all I have to say is that isolation and spending time on the internet actually has been my downfall after I quit my job. Yes, I continued to take care of my family, working hard to help my daughter with her selective mutism, nurturing all my daughters’ gifts, taking care of my husbands’ needs, and neglecting to do the things that strengthened me. But slowly, over time, taking care of others’ needs eroded my own responsibility to take care of my own needs. I allowed it to happen.
I am not the weak person I feel like at times. I am, as my one friend reminded me, tremendously skilled. I came across some of my writings when I was in my early 20s and I re-discovered something about myself and shared on Rick’s blog:
The thing I’m remembering is that I’m a lot more powerful than the messages I hear in my head. The not-so-funny thing is, I was such a rebel in my teenage/early 20s that I pretty easily told my parents to fuck-off, but for some reason, I can’t tell the thoughts in my head to do the same. Where the hell did the fighter in me go?
I let life just steamroll me into a shadow of my former self, in order to be considered acceptable and liked by others, and so I wouldn’t neglect my kids or my husband. Well, fuck, it worked so well I have created my own prison. I can rally behind others in a heartbeat, but when it comes to my own cause, I balk these days.
WTF??? I can’t really believe I let this happen.
No, wait a minute, that is a lie. THAT’S why I’ve been so pissed off and depressed lately. I know I let myself down and I hate it.
My friend also recently reminded me of something Einstein is attributed with saying
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
So I think it’s time to come up with remembering my old self-confidence and committing myself to making some changes around here.