I’m getting caught in it again. That surety (that false surety) that there is a right way to do something (everything) and that somehow, I’m missing it. Or I haven’t figured it out yet. Or I’m doing the opposite of the right way, without knowing it.
It’s a surety…and it’s false. I’m learning more and more – and again and again – that there usually isn’t just one right way. Or one right answer. Or, sometimes, any right answer. Life is not mathematics, where two plus two always equals four (or maybe almost always equals four).
I know I was taught that there were absolute rights and wrongs. I was taught to deny my feelings – not to be hurt or sad or angry, not to need or to want. I was taught that if I chose the wrong thing to do or the wrong way to feel or the wrong way to be, I would cause God even more pain and anguish. I would be one more person in the long line of people who had hurt God or let God down. I would bring more suffering to God and to the world. (Which is one of the reasons I now believe in god – not God – and LOVE.)
That’s a lot of weight to carry. And even though I know that none of it is true, it’s deeply ingrained in me. Deeply carved into my psyche and into my first and guttural reactions.
When my mom moved out – when she asked us what she should do and we told her she should leave because we had no choice but to tell her she should leave – I was told I was lucky to have the chance to live without her. I was told I was lucky because I was sacrificing for God and that God loved me for that. I may not have been directly told that I couldn’t or shouldn’t be sad or angry that she left. I may not have been directly told that wishing she was still home with me was a selfish or sinful way to feel. But I knew that. I was told it in so many ways, even though I may not have been directly told it.
I was told all that and I learned all that, but I don’t have to believe it – or live that way – anymore.
I am learning to trust myself more and more these days. I am learning to live with my anger and sadness and with letting people down. I am learning that that is okay and that I am okay. I am allowing my humanness, and I am treating myself with even more compassion and care. I am letting go of my need to do the right thing and to go the right way. I am letting go of all of this more and more. And more and more.
But this can be tough for me. This is tough for me. It kicks up my fear and my terror. It kicks up my perfectionism and my “not enough-ness.” I notice my whole being tense. I do know that fear is often False Evidence Appearing Real, and I know that it is false in this instance. But it still can be tough to breathe and ease through.
But I know that I’ll get through it. I know that I am getting through it. I’m proud of myself for getting through it.
I know that there is no right way – and no right way to get through it. Even when my silly old brain slips into thinking that there is. Even when I’m afraid. Even when it’s hard.
Maybe some of you out there needed to hear this as well. 🙂
I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!
Can we agree that when it comes to “how one responds” to any event experienced in life, we don’t respond directly to the event, but to our interpretation of it? Thus, our interpretation becomes the justification for our response. For example, if we decide someone is trying to attack us (not a physical assault), desert us, undermine us, and “do us harm,” we will respond as if the person has in fact done so, and will react to our interpretation as if it is correct (justify). Yet, another way to interpret this event is to see it as an appeal for healing by the “attacker.”
In the first case interpretation, we are likely to see the individual as someone motivated by ill will towards us, calling for the need to defend and protect myself against the attack. In the second case, we are likely to see this individual as someone who is actually appealing for help, in which case we can extend a helping hand.
In each case, we have reacted to our interpretations as if they were correct. In the first case we interpreted the motivation of the individual as harmful and destructive to my idea of “me.” In the latter, we interpreted the motivation as a cry for help and healing.
Here’s an axiom I hope to get better and better at applying in my life: “Every loving thought is true.” Everything else is an appeal for healing and help, regardless of the form it takes.”
What do you think.
Yes. I agree. There may be times where others intend to cause us actual harm, or do cause us actual harm, but I think those are rarer than what I react to. 🙂 I do know that how I react/respond is most often most based on my interpretation, and when I can consider and maybe choose a more loving interpretation, I can consider and maybe choose a more loving response.
I also know, however, that part of my “training” may push me toward accepting more unacceptable behavior than I need to – or want to. So while I can look for the interpretation as a “cry for help and healing,” I also no longer have to accept behavior that is unacceptable (to me) and I no longer need to suffer and “withstand” in order to be okay.
What do you think?
Fully agree with you here….
Reflecting on certain past events, I see I too chose to “push towards accepting the unacceptable behavior,” thus cancelling out the opportunity via that event for both of us to grow and change.
I have also “stood my ground” under certain events I interpreted as “unjust” and abusive, and marshalled support for the perceived inappropriate behavior to stop. It’s noteworthy to mention that in each of these cases, although the perceived inappropriate behavior was curtailed, neither party was able to grow and transform via the “conflict,” but rather, just made a temporary expedient truce for the time being, with repeat inappropriate behavior manifesting further down the line.
It is a continuous learning process, isn’t it? Yay us all for trying to stand our ground while also learning and growing and allowing for others. xo
Great blog, i stumbled upon it today while also pondering what can and can’t be counted. False equivalence appearing real 🙂
Thank you Sean! I like that as well – False equivalence appearing real…