As a general rule, if I am JADEing, I have given up my power and control over myself and now am squarely up in the other person’s business...
I am not sure where I got the basic belief that everything I do or say in my life needs to be given authority or verification or credence by someone else, but I have really struggled with this for the entirety of my life.
I do or say something and instead of having a deep and abiding conviction that what I did or said was true for me, I find myself JADEing feeling what I feel, thinking what I think and doing what I do...mostly for the ghosts of you, phantom questions that you might ask me sometime in the future.
I think that I started out in life believing that I was in some way always wrong. That what I felt, thought or did was inherently wrong and at some point in the future I was going to have to defend my particular feeling, thought or behavior so I started at an early age to begin the process before you even asked the question...that way I would have a litany of responses ready for you...when (and if) you inquired.
Why did I care?
It has hit me today that your questions became the most important thing to me, my own feelings about my feelings, thoughts and behaviors secondary to almost anyone: friend, family member, passing stranger on the street. I was living to defend myself from the almost constant attack that could and would likely be launched against me in just a second.
I am not sure what it more terrible, living this way or just realizing I have been living this way...
Seems to me that a more productive and authentic way to live, is to ask questions to myself about myself and then be certain that whatever I am feeling, thinking or doing is ok with me. If I am ok with it, it kind of ends the entire discourse. If you question me about it later, I can be open to your feelings, thoughts and behaviors but if I am really ok with how I am doing my life, I do not need a militia of reasons as to why I am justified to be who I am in that moment...
I also think that this dovetails with the practice of spiritual principles on the daily. If I am really living by them, then I should be good. My honesty is not up for grabs depending on who it is that I am presented with...I am not super honest with Joe but then get to lie my ass off to Sally. If I am practicing the principle of honesty in all of my affairs, this would include everyone, all the time. So the fact that Joe likes my honesty and Sally hates it is immaterial. This also doesn’t mean that I love Joe and hate Sally, it just might mean that Sally and I have some shit to work out. Perhaps I need to figure out why I think it is ok to lie to Sally. What about our relationship requires me to not feel safe enough to tell her the truth. I might need to listen to Sally to see why she objects to my lying or to even recognize that I am lying to her to begin with, honesty being a kind of tricky subject...
I guess what I am arriving at, embarrassingly late to the game, is that it really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks or feels about me, it is really none of my business because your reaction to me and my shit if yours...not mine. Now, if I care about you and am having a relationship with you, then your opinion matters and if I am hurting you, or offending you, or otherwise vexing you, then I should listen to you and your perspective.
What I have learned though about JADEing is that this is about me. I JADE because I want something from you that only I can provide myself and my misguided attempts to get it from you are a problem for us both. You because I am asking you for something that you cannot provide and for me because I have just given you total control over a situation that is not yours to control - invited you to become the arbiter of me, and believe me, no one really wants that job!
I do care what others think about me but I can no longer afford to care more about what you think about me rather than what I think about me. I am going to make some choices that the bulk of people in my life are going to think are selfish, irrational, stupid, dangerous, misguided and a whole host of other things...that doesn’t change that they are mine and mine alone to make.
If I have built my life on the practice of spiritual principles, then I don’t really need to worry about how it all works out...there will be conflict and resolution...that is just how it works.
JADEing shows me that I am off course on my spiritual journey because I am seeking something from you that is not yours to give...permission to be me.
You can’t provide me justification for existing.
You can’t argue me in or out of existence.
You can’t defend me in or out of existence.
You can’t explain why I am here in this current form.
You may have opinions about all of the above, but in the end, they are not yours to provide. They are ours to figure out and to own, to come to love and to assimilate into our being.
So I remind myself today that I am
Ok as is
Not in need of a warning label...
I do not need to JADE my life away, perhaps a better use of my time is by ensuring that I am ok with me before I interact with you...that I am ok as I am, I do not feel attacked into a justification, I do not need to engage you in discourse to maintain this position of being ok, you are not attacking me by being you, anymore than I am attacking you by being me, and finally perhaps you don’t care who and what I am, so why am I running around all the time trying to tell you? You either like me or your you don't.
For me, recognizing JADEing is the first step in seeing where I am off my spiritual program...and that is the best indicator that whatever relationship we are having is off course, because I cannot be real, authentic and honest with you if I am engaging in any of the above manipulations to get you to see me the way that I want you to. You get to have your opinion and that doesn’t have to change a damn thing in me, or perhaps, after a heartfelt conversation, it might...until we really discuss it, I will forever be deploying futile strategies that keep us both locked in a horrible relational spiral that leads us only to dysfunction, dread and a dysmorphic result...and I, for one, have had enough of those already.