Thursday

Befriending The Enemy Within



Why is everyone so off these days?

The Economy? War? Natural Disasters? Depressing News? Anxiety? Illness? Stress? Money? Kids?Worry? Fear?  How are any of these things different from anything our parents, grandparents, etc went through?  Are they magnified because of technology - and our instant know-all gadgets that come at us from every direction leaving us little peaceful time in the day? 

Sometimes with a heavy heart, I look around me.  Whether it's while driving, dropping off/picking up kids from school, going to work, meetings, scrolling through Twitter or Facebook, reading blogs, whatever -I see despair -  it's everywhere.  Depression.  Loveless, mechanical, faked interactions.  Cruel words.  Unnecessary roughness, mean spirited comments, anger, quickness to judge.   And though I pride myself in being someone who is constantly looking for the good, seeing the glass half full, looking on the bright side, remaining pleasant - it is hard to stay focused when there is so much poison brewing all around me.  Especially with women - it's like we are all swimming upstream, trying to make our way through Motherhood - and we have other women pushing us under the current, making us gasp for breath and have a harder time than we already do just staying above water.  Why can't women stop doing that to each other and start pulling each other up?

I am starting my deconstruction of this drama by looking within.  I am someone who loves deeply - cares wholeheartedly, gets involved, listens, laughs, spreads cheer - and yet within myself I find a strong sense of being incomplete, discomfort, self-loathing and disappointment. That voice within that won't stay quiet when I go to bed at night.  Why so harsh?  There's the inability, or so it feels, to balance motherhood, work, friendship, homemaking, life, love, living - there is so much pressure to do this gracefully, eloquently, graciously.  Keep weight down, keep bank balance up, keep kids well, keep house clean, volunteer, shuttle, enrich, read, homework - do this- do that go go go.  It's exhausting.  The critics in my head are constantly judging me.  Nice job - your house looks like a cyclone hit it.  You call that dinner?   Your shirt is wrinkled, your throw pillows are stained, your duvet needs washed.  When is the last time you broke a sweat?  Your pants are tight, your closet is unorganized. FAIL FAIL FAIL!

When I walk past a mirror in a store I do a double take..holy crap you've got serious bags under your eyes - you need some blush - you're hair is a mess.  What would it take for me to look in the mirror as I walk past, do a double take and say damn girl you look good!  Do I even have that capability in me?  Do I need a full on spa and makeup/hair session before I'd ever be able to do that? Or even then would I say - too much makeup - not the right color gloss - I look this, I look that.  I guess one thing I am grateful to be able to do is hit the pillow at night knowing I'm a good person - knowing I gave someone a smile that might have needed it - or knowing that I was the best person I could be.  Vanity vs.  Integrity.  I guess I'd rather Integrity win - but I still would like to be healthy - in the whole sense of the word.

So.  Back to the basics.  I can love my family and friends - and life for that matter, as deeply and as passionately as humanly possible - but if I can't love myself - the rest is silly.  It doesn't matter.  It is null and void - meaningless..all for not.  Only when I decide that I am worthy of love, that I am worthy of putting myself on the list of cared for people during the hours I am awake, will anything change with me or around me.  So, as my 40th year approaches, and maybe many feel like this at 40, it's time for me to matter.  It's time for self-love, growth, pride, reflection.  It's time to say - you are not perfect - but you are something pretty special.

I have to ask myself - would I be friends with someone who treated me, or talked to me in the way that I talk to myself?  Would I be friends with someone who constantly told me I wasn't good enough?  What about a friend who told me nothing but lies - whether it's about diet and exercise lies I tell myself - or working harder or being better.  How many promises have I broken to myself? Would I put up with that from a friend?  Why would I be that kind of friend to myself?? Why?

So there it is.  A commitment to being kind and good to myself first.  And then to calmly keep the presence of mind that there is nothing to fear in the world around me as long as I am living each day like it is a gift and giving myself to myself and others around me to the best of my ability.  And living my life as my own best friend - loving and kind - gracious and good - content and conscious of the beauty I've been blessed with.  If we all had this way of life, would we then have the ability to extend that kindness to others effortlessly?  I should hope so.  We have to start somewhere.

So who is the enemy?  Are we our own worst enemy?  Is the fact that we are unkind to ourselves, why we have a tendency to be unkind to others - or less tolerant, or less patient?  How can we get our own insecurities and flaws in check enough to bring out the best in others?

I'm so tired of feeling beaten down with the inhumanity around me.  No matter what political affiliation, religious belief, sexual preference, color, race, region, etc. we come from, we are brothers and sisters in humanity.  When we no longer believe that, we have lost everything good in our world.  We have an obligation to each other as humans to get back to decency and civility...to helping each other...to feeling empathy and passion - not anger and rage at every turn.  What happened to the benefit of the doubt?  To lending a hand without questioning it?  To lifting up others so that we in turn can feel uplifted?  Why has it become so hard to turn the other cheek - or simply walk away - or choose not to get involved in pointless drama?  It's one thing to defend someone or something you know is wrong - but another to stir the pot - or throw gasoline on the fire and watch the flames engulf everyone around you.  If people could find the joy in encouraging others instead of knocking others down - our world would immediately be a better place.

Maybe I'm wrong to feel hopeful that we needed to fall as a human race like this in order to rebuild.  But I can only hope that to be this forlorn and forgone is what it will take to make people refocus on the simple humanity within us all.  We all hurt, we all cry, we all suffer with the battles within - but we all love, laugh, and live in a way that is relatable to each other.  I'm starting with the one person who I know I can change for the better, in hopes that it will enable me to love deeper and show more compassion for others in every aspect of my life.  More than anything, I want to be the change I hope for - and an example to my children and the people around me.
Just random thoughts...until next time,
~DG

12 comments:

  1. Blown away by your reflections. We can't control most of what happens but we CAN take charge of how we respond.

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  2. I loved this post!! I really liked when you talked about not putting up with a friend who treated you like you treat yourself. You're so right! I would NEVER tolerate someone speaking to me like I sometimes speak to myself. I do believe that I have to be the change I want to see in the world and I do want to teach my kids by being a good example. I HATE all the mean, nasty, pointless words that I see written in comments online. WHAT is the point? WHY do people feel the need to drag others down? We all have a story and we all are on our own journey. It may look different from someone else's. Different is okay. People are out there just being people, living their lives. You never know someone else's struggles so be nice. Aaaaaaand . .I'm done. Stepping off my soap box. Great post!!

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  3. I am so glad to read this, as I feel much as you do. I struggle to feel "afloat" these days in a sea of negativity. My husband says I stick my head in the sand and should be more aware, but you know what? I would rather go on trying to find the good, being kind to others, and trying to live and let live.

    I'm with Shannon - that is a brilliant thought right there. NO, I wouldn't want a friend who talks to me as I talk to myself. And yes, I hate all the mean and nasty comments online! Seems that many, many people in this world have not progressed much beyond Kindergarten. "Hey, I'll put down this other person to make myself feel better! Woo-hoo!" Fine, you can THINK those thoughts if you must but do you really have to share with the world??

    Keep your chin up, Gorgeous. :-)

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  4. Get out of my head! I'm almost 40 and so much of what you said resonated like an echo in my brain! You asked what's so different from previous generations? I think we are more exposed, to everthing! We are more distracted by what we should do and perception has become nine tenths of the law. Everything is so instant, we tend to feel we must be perfect all the time because attention is fleeting at best. At the end of the day, we tend to count all the things we didn't get a chance to do instead of feeling accomplished for the million things we did so well! There's more chance for our mistakes to be broadcast to millions permanently now, how do we make our way through the static haze of the mass media and feel fulfilled? My children are enrolled in a Montessori school which teaches a peace curriculum and it is so encouraging to see them embrace peace within themselves as a neccessary part of being human, I hope they will always carry it with them and their own self talk will benefit from it.

    I found working with teens in pain has been a huge sense of humble accomplishment which keeps me grounded in what is important and hopefully, I am showing my children when you focus on helping people, a lot of the other "stuff" gets thrown out the window. And, it's because to build relationships you have to slow down and take in the other person, little by little, at least that's the best way I know how. Hope is a huge part of it as well. I'm hoping to raise a generation more intuitive than mine!

    Above all, my faith leads me down peaceful paths, sometimes kicking and screaming but, once I surrender to it, all is well...until the next crisis!

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  5. Maybe it is an almost 40 thing. That was the year I tried very hard to figure out why I behave the way I do, and eventually realized it didn't matter and I just needed to figure out which parts of who I am I was willing to accept and which parts needed to change. This post of your is a fabulous reflection and provides comfort in knowing that we are not alone in looking around at some gloomy stuff, and not alone in trying to feel better within ourselves.

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  6. This is beautiful my friend. YOU are beautiful. Searching inside ourselves is the perfect place to start. Love, love, love it and LOVE you.

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  7. This is amazing. You are so right in that we must start with ourselves in order to see the good in everyone. Love this, love YOU.

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  8. This this this. I get this completely, momma. I'm getting so caught up in this inertia of self defeat and feel like I'm drowning in it. We have to turn it around for ourselves don't we...because no one else will do that FOR us. I love you and this post. <3

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  9. DG, The first part of Love is to Love yourself , thus freeing you up to Love others with the same passion. Regardless that they may be one of those latter people that show unkindness etc. Sometimes it only takes a kind word, a selfless gesture, a helping hand, or even just a smile to bring even the meanest person to a different way of thinking and help them on the road on their way to learn to love themselves as well. Its not that we start out to be that way as we grow into adulthood , we are shaped by many things in our environment and some people are never taught the value of self worth. never heard anything encouraging but your stupid growing up over and over again having it drummed into their head or learned by watching others and followed in their footsteps. Others who act this way are using this behavior to hide behind it. Its when I recognize why this person exhibits this behavior to me.Is when I look for a way of breaking through to the real person who has not yet come into their own .We cant be responsible for everyone .But I think we can be there for some as we come across them one by one.

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  10. OMG! You have me totally in tears! I just posted on facebook one day this week that I am my own worst enemy and I must stop that. I don't know how but all I can do is try a little at a time...I have to try. This is beautiful, lady, really! <3 Devan

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  11. I've noticed the same lately, that there seems to be so much chaos. I always try to make life more simpler when things get that way. I tend to gather my kids up and take things more slowly. I probably don't do enough to be kind to myself though. Thanks for the reminder.

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