Day 79 - Unconditional Friendliness, Emotional Whiplash & The Power of Now
One of the deepest habitual patterns we have is that we believe the present moment is not enough. We spend so much time reflecting backwards and projecting out to the future. This cannot really ever leave us with any other conclusion except that right now isn’t good enough.
It seems as though this kind of living is a violence towards ourselves and in turn everyone else.
Not being willing or able to accept our current life, version of ourselves, our friends, children, significant others...a subtle aggression against us all.
I am not sure about anyone else, but I walked away from that violent, aggressive life a long time ago. My life used to be filled with angry, tiny hearted people who were filled with ego, fear and the delusion that they were better than everyone else despite their inner core telling them what pieces of shit they were all the time.
What is amazing to me is how long after that change in living that I still maintained this lifestyle towards myself. How long I kept wishing I was different instead of accepting myself as I was. How much not feeling good enough, actually manifested itself into not being good enough.
I think we have to find a way to have a loving, unconditional relationships with ourselves. That this is and in fact, required before we can really have any chance at having a loving relationship with anyone else....especially romantic. It is the great dichotomy of life: in order to be with someone else, you must first come to love being alone. Seems wrong but, from where I am today, required.
If I had not sat alone for all those years, even when I was in a relationship, I do not think that I would have ever been able to give myself what I needed. This was something I could only give myself. No one else could give it to me. I could not buy it at a store. It was only loosely based on my outward appearance. It was something that I would have to work super hard for...it was believing that myself, as I am right now, and now, and now was enough. There was not some magical day in the future where I become this other person who has it all together. There is not some day where I am the perfect weight and toned. Where I eat the right things all the time. Where I work just the right amount and spend the right amount of time with my family. There is not some magical future point where this happens. And likewise, there is not some point in my past where any of this happened.
It is all about now. Who I am bringing to myself and those about me every day. It is about creating an unconditional relationship with myself exactly as I am now. At my current weight, height, my current level of pain. To just open my heart to myself without requiring that I be more of this and less of that. It is challenging but it can be done. I know because even though I can’t tell you when it started, I know that I have opened my heart to myself and that has allowed me to open it to others. The whole fucking world is invited into my life and I am not using all my energy to get rid of certain people and prevent others from leaving. Everyone is welcome to come and stay for as long as they like. I am interested in their arrival more than their departure because I see that whomever walks in, is here to give me something I need to grow into whoever the fuck I am supposed to be. My lifelong mistake was thinking that others were to come into my life to make me happy. That is not their purpose. that is their byproduct. That is a huge paradigm shift....
Today, I feel ok with Erin most of the time. It is not dependent on whether I think I look hot or feel like a worthwhile human being. I am capable of now feeling that when I am an angry, not so nice person where I just yelled at my kids for not cleaning up after themselves for the one millionth time. Even then, at my worst, I still love me. I still have that unconditional relationship to myself that I can acknowledge, “wow, that was a total asshole thing to say.” And then say. “yep, I think I need to eat something, then I can apologize for that and work to be better in this moment.” I think that sometimes the people in my life, my children in particular, have emotional whiplash from my sudden change in emotional directions...from bitch to mother of the year in less than 60 seconds...
Emotional whiplash aside, I know they are grateful for the about-face. They do not have to endure hours of me acting like an ass. They appreciate the apology and then are willing to move on in a new and more pleasant direction. And this is all brought to them by this unconditional friendship I have with myself that happens in the now.
To have an internal equanimity with myself is the best, most precious gift I have ever been given. And it all started with self destruction, pain, loss, grief and heartbreak. These are my life instructors. These are the teachers who have brought me through the fire and back to myself. Repeatedly. I am so grateful. Now I do not fear their arrival. Instead become super interested in what I am going to learn. Pain as the pathway to peace. What a gift to be given this knowledge that whatever is happening is for my higher good. I can stop running around, dying all the time with every little up and down. I can just acknowledge the feelings, work with them instead of against them and love myself anyway. Knowing that it is all temporary...and the only real place I can love anyone, including myself, is now.
Nobody will protect you from your suffering. You can’t cry it away or eat it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away. Its just there and you have to survive it. You have to endure it. You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better for it and run as far as you can in the direction of you best and happiest dreams across the bridge that built by your own desire to heal. Therapists and friends can help you along the way, but the healing- the genuine healing, the actual real-deal, down-on-your-knees-in-the-mud change - is entirely and absolutely up to you.
Cheryl Strayed (of course).