I've had the most amazing discovery these past few days...and have to say it was just in time for many reasons. One of which is this: up until now in my healing process I've been quiet the sponge; however, I think I have reached a point of saturation, of my sponge being about as full as it can be for the moment. I think I am finally at a point where now I get to take all that I have learned about myself, about reality and adulthood that is in this sponge of mine, and get to put it to practice - wringing out the excess that helped me to get full but won't be needed going forward so that eventually I will be able to soak up more. (Okay, does that analogy work? Can't quite tell...)
First, I have to publicly thank a friend who has helped me to get to this point - you know who you are...and as I told you earlier - I seriously think you need to change careers! You could make a killing taking credit for helping people to have their own self-discovery, ah-ha moments.
Let's see, where to start. Oh, yes - I think my "rewind/erase" moment will be best. Needless-to-say, this post made me start to realize - at least on a very low level of consciousness - how I was stuck in old thought patterns. I knew deep down that these embarrassing moments were only embarrassing for me and how I kept them alive in my own mind by thinking about how and what these other people must be thinking about me. In reality I have come to learn that, as I said last time, people don't spend nearly as much time thinking about me as I would think they do - because in reality they are spending time thinking about themselves just as I am thinking about myself. Besides, I've heard some pretty funny embarrassing moments lately so I am pretty sure I'm not the only one that does silly things - even as an adult. If I can't get a good laugh at the things I do - then I am living life way too seriously, right?
After a weekend of unrest in different avenues in my life coupled with the feeling of change in the air, my nerves were a little on edge - putting me into a heightened state where sleep was less likely than laying in bed thinking. A few years ago, this would have sent me over the edge into insomnia - but I am happy to share that instead I was able to use my emotions as a spring board to investigate what I was thinking... which is now leading me to do that very important step I like to call "rephrasing" which is definitely leading me to Practice Joy.
To begin with - I think doing the series on singleness and becoming the right person was one of those wake-up calls to myself. As I finished putting the post together last night, I realized that I had been living those steps to a great extent in the past few days...really taking my own suggestions to heart and seeing some marvelous results.
As I was sharing with my friend about my so-called embarrassment, as I was asking myself some of those questions about what was I really feeling and and what was I really thinking behind those feelings - it started to dawn on me that I was seeing a pattern in my thinking and behavior...one that I had never realized before. No big deal right? Well, until I realized that this old pattern was possibly going to keep me from doing something I really want to do going forward. I also started to realize this whole thing was not so much about my embarrassment but about some very confused feelings and a very critical self evaluation.
Gosh, do I share this pattern? I am tempted because I think so many of us probably fall suit to my ways without us even being aware of it. Okay, here it goes.
Basically I have uncovered that many times in my life I fall prey to thinking I liked or wanted something, some dream or some relationship in my life because - well simply because that is what happens in life, right? I had bought into defining myself as a girl who either has to be liking some guy, or in a relationship of some kind in order to find my self-identity and self-worth. For others, maybe you have bought into the lie that your fulfillment could be the high-powered corporate job, or the home with the picket white fence and 2.5 kids, or maybe even looking good by being very generous and self-sufficient.
Whatever it was, I had unknowingly bought into these wants by telling myself I should. "I should want this relationship, or I should like that person over there, or I should want that job because it makes sense for me or I should...." You get the picture.
The thing is, I am realizing that I never stopped to actually ask myself, "Yes, that thing I want is a good thing, but is it really what I, I personally want for my life? Do I really like that?" Seems simple enough, right?
This simple stopping to think for myself whether or not I actually wanted what I was thinking I wanted has done wonders for me. I've realized that in giving myself permission to stop and ask myself these questions - that 9 out of 10 times, I actually don't like that dream for myself - at least not right now. Asking myself these questions has helped me to un-confuse my feelings about some certain things, some certain patterns in my thinking over many areas in my life. This pausing to think for myself has made me realize that a lot of times I end up "liking" some dream just because society tells me I should - but in reality I have no idea if I do or not because I haven't discovered it for myself!
This folks - while it seems simple enough - is basically what I know I am going through at the moment. I am realizing that I have to back way up, even to the way I like to eat my eggs (which I actually know how I like those, but you get the point) and start doing what a kid would do at this point - explore my world, explore those inborn likes and dislikes that God has put in me and figure out what fits.
In the process, this has showed me one other important piece of the puzzle - of where I need to put my childish thinking away: Instead of looking towards someone else or some group of others to tell me who I am or how I am doing - I am finding that what I really need is to listen to my own voice and ask myself if I like what I am doing. If I like how I am behaving or if I like the idea of this for me.
To make this clear, this is not a vocal conversation that goes on. I am pretty sure, if you stop to think for a moment - and hopefully it is not just me and my own self talk - that you might just realize as you go about your day you are thinking, "I wonder if so and so would like what I am doing? I wonder if they would approve of me at this moment? I wonder if they would like me more if I do A or if I do B?"
Instead, I am now consciously rephrasing those questions to ask myself: "Do I like what I am doing? Do I approve of me at this moment? Do I like myself more, do I feel more like myself if I do A or B?"
This - to me - was the switch that I so desperately needed in order to unhook the childish ways of behaving, of unhooking an old pattern that I kept seeing myself repeating yet not knowing I was repeating it until I was way into the pattern - damaging myself and possibly others along the way.
First I realized that I can give myself permission to ask what I like and don't like, and in doing so give myself permission to try things out and see what fits. Next, I needed to find my own inner voice to answer those questions. Now I know when someone else shows up in my thinking that I need to stop and consciously change that self-dialoge, to change that someone else into myself.
The thing is, I can look back at my journey and see that I have been doing this little by little over the past few months and years. I realized that I don't like to stand in line, that I personally don't fit the complementary line of Christian thinking, that I am an athlete, that I do want to go with God even if none go with me, that I am not a male hater, and so on. I think the difference is now, instead of having that nagging feeling of someone watching over me while I was trying all these different things on - instead of hearing that nagging little voice say, "You know what so and so will think of you if you say this, if you do that,"...I am finally breaking free, finally throwing off the chains of that voice and finally sitting in knowing that I am okay just as I am. That I am okay watching over myself, that I am okay trusting in myself and in my choices for myself. That I don't need an outside person or the voice of that person telling me how to make my choices or how to feel or how to think...that I can be that voice for myself.
I know the last piece of this puzzle for now was discovering Love & Logic through Janada Clark, who conducted a class I happened to make a good choice in taking. Bottom line, L&L is a philosophy and tool box full of great tools on how to have a more loving, respectful relationship between parents and kids. It has literally given me the ability to not only find my love of being a mom again....but has given me the insight into myself that has helped me make this leap from being childish to being an adult in this area.
Basically, as I learn to help my kids own their choices and the good or bad outcomes of those choices - I am learning that this is helping them to learn to tune into and develop their own voice - their own consciousness if you will. By allowing them to discover what is good for them by allowing them to suffer through their bad choices - they are becoming more self-confident and reliant that they can live successfully in their world.
Besides giving me more energy and more passion for my kids, I am learning some very important lessons I never learned at their age - right along with them. That I too can learn from my poor choices, that I can learn to make better choices. That I can learn to trust myself and my own consciousness, that I can set safe boundaries for myself and be confident in who I am becoming.
Gosh, it is so humbling to think I am right in line with very young children in my emotional development...but at least it is better late than never - right?
In short, I am learning about another paradox of life.
I am learning that in order to grow up, I need to first become a child again and discover what I like and don't like in myself and in others and in my world. At the same time, I need to put away childish thoughts that inhibit me from growing up...and in this case it is the old patterns of being concerned with others' thoughts.
Time to put childish ways to rest
and enjoy the freedom to practice adulthood.
and enjoy the freedom to practice adulthood.