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,