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Continually Learning My Lessons, Part II

Posted Sep 15 2009 4:38pm

Forgive yourself for everything you didn’t know in the past. Don’t waste any of your precious energy beating up yourself or anyone else. Your power to change your life is in the present, regardless of your past. ~ Dr. Christiane Northrup

I still have a lot of work to do.

I recently put myself in a situation that I knew would be difficult, based on many years of previous experience. I set some specific goals: no raised voices and no tears. I even made a pact with myself. In order to meet these goals I vowed that I would:

• avoid subjects that I know are “button pushing” subjects
• change the subject tactfully if “button pushing” topics came up
• take deep breaths and soften my eyes when feeling myself wanting to react
• remember the healthy boundaries I have set in the past, boundaries that protect
• be loving
• avoid having an agenda
• enjoy myself
• be myself

The results were mixed.

On the positive side, there were no raised voices and no tears; I avoided “button pushing,” I avoided outwardly reacting, and I banished my agenda. I am proud of myself for that because it used to be that I seemingly had no control over my emotions in this particular situation.

On the negative side, I wasn’t able to set healthy boundaries and that resulted in feeling powerless and impotent and so I reacted inwardly. I was NOT myself because previous experience shows that I need to keep my guard up. There are times when I can relax, but that can change quickly. I went from feeling mildly frustrated and annoyed to feeling burning, boiling rage. It brings me to tears just thinking about it now, days later.

I tried so hard to avoid outward conflict that I created huge amounts of it within. In hindsight, my goal should have been “create harmony” not “avoid conflict.”

I saw a quote today from someone I trust and admire ( Pat Barone ): “If you resist the hard places/difficult times, you lose the opportunity to grow to the other side.”

Light bulb moment! Here I thought I was doing a good thing by avoiding the conflict, but what I really did was resist a hard place, a difficult time, and so I lost an opportunity to grow. I lost an opportunity to be authentically me. Maybe I’m still not exactly sure what that means.

The point of writing this is to get to the next point. In my last blog post I wrote:

“Over the years I’ve had what seemed like all-consuming “issues” with various members of my family. I remember that all I wanted to do was spew spew spew to anyone who would listen. Being critical, judgmental and right is what was modeled in my family so I didn’t know any other way of being, even though I didn’t like being that way! I used to think there was something wrong with me because I hate conflict and tension and I tend not to know how to be a logical, critical (in a positive way) thinker.

Now I understand that it just doesn’t jive with who I am.

And in the process of writing this, I figured something out: in those years when I was spewing my venom, I was either afraid to be myself, or I didn’t know how. And so I punished myself with food.”

So the next piece of the puzzle is realizing that putting up and shutting up is not the opposite of spewing venom. It’s not being me. And it can have the same result: abusing myself with food. As I left that situation I stopped to get gas. I also got a bag of Cheez-Its and a bag of peanut butter M&Ms. I’m not even going to talk about being “good” and “bad” but suffice it to say that up until that moment, I had reached a very nice Zen place as it concerns food.

I knew as I was purchasing this stuff that I was doing it to both comfort and abuse myself. It wasn’t a mindless binge, something that I “woke up” from after the fact. I went into it with my eyes wide open. And I even remembered what I had written and figured “what the hell.”

And now, something that soothes:

“Details In The Fabric” by Jason Mraz

Calm down
Deep breaths
And get yourself dressed instead
Of running around
And pulling all your threads saying
Breaking yourself up

If it’s a broken part, replace it
But, if it’s a broken heart then brace it
If it’s a broken heart then face it

And hold your own
Know your name
And go your own way
Hold your own
Know your own name
And go your own way

And everything will be fine
Everything will be fine
Mmmhmm

Hang on
Help is on the way
Stay strong
I’m doing everything

Hold your own
Know your name
And go your own way
Hold your own
Know your name
And go your own way

And everything, everything will be fine
Everything

Are the details in the fabric
Are the things that make you panic
Are your thoughts results of static cling?

Are the things that make you blow
Hell, no reason, go on and scream
If you’re shocked it’s just the fault
Of faulty manufacturing.

Yeah everything will be fine
Everything in no time at all
Everything

Hold your own
And know your name
And go your own way

Are the details in the fabric (Hold your own, know your name)
Are the things that make you panic
Are your thoughts results of static cling? (Go your own way)

Are the details in the fabric (Hold your own, know your name)
Are the things that make you panic (Go your own way)
Is it Mother Nature’s sewing machine?

Are the things that make you blow (Hold your own, know your name)
Hell no reason go on and scream
If you’re shocked it’s just the fault (Go your own way)
Of faulty manufacturing

Everything will be fine
Everything in no time at all
Hearts will hold

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