Written Tuesday, June 5th, 2018.
I love positivity and I love perspective and I love counting my blessings. I am acutely aware of how lucky I am on so many levels. To live a life filled with abundance; food in my fridge, a flexible schedule, a supportive group of friends and family, freedom of speech and movement, and the blessing to follow my dreams with great gusto. These are the things that frequent my gratitude list, the blessings I count weekly. But alongside this acknowledgement is a trait of mine I battle with a lot: thinking that these blessings should protect me from feeling human feelings that are uncomfortable and can appear like negativity. It’s not negativity, it’s authenticity. It’s human experience. And sure, there’s also an element of wanting to “have it all together” and be perpetually positive because, in my mind, positivity is more attractive and easier than negativity or feeling the hard things and letting them show.
See I thought I was doing myself some good. When I vent about things, big or little, I like to finish it off with “but that’s life” or “it is what it is” or my very favourite, the one that comes up the most: “there are worse things in this World.” Because, sure, those statements are all true and can be applied to some scenarios where you have a big moan about someone stealing your park or cutting you off in traffic or something as equally as frustrating yet small and non-deserving of your energy. But do you know what I am quickly realising? By tacking those comments on the end of real moments of truth, of the bigger things that do hurt and do make feel, I am doing no one any favours. Least of all, myself. Perspective is invaluable but acknowledging the presence and the authenticity of my pain, my uncertainty and my unease when it’s there, is crucial too.
I am realising that you can only go so long, only go so far, masking these feelings, trying to cover them up with perspective before your own body, and your own mind start to show you that the concealing and the bargaining don’t work. The saying, “there’s no way out but through” rings loud and clear. Sometimes, perspective has to sit pretty on the sidelines. Sometimes, pain asks to be held for a moment; it summons your attention and calls for your recognition. It asks to be understood so growth can begin.
Last week was a week of that. A week of loosening my grip on resisting. A week of tears over the kitchen sink, in the car, in the driveway at a friend’s place, at yoga, and outside my local coffee shop. I’m not a public crier. And I’m not really a friend crier. I’m a crier in the car, by myself. Or my room, by myself. See the common theme? My composure has always been solid and my resilience thick, but there’s really no pride in that. Sure it makes me really great at running a business, because I can get the heck on with it no matter what’s happening but at the core and in the end, it’s nothing that warrants an award or recognition. Who cares if you are a public crier when it hurts. Who cares if your uncertainty makes you feel weak and vulnerable sometimes. Holding onto tears, holding onto what hurts is not strong. Strength, I believe, is what you choose to do with the pain and how you choose to make a difference with your pain.
When I am connecting with the people I love in my life, I value authenticity. I value honesty. I never listen to their true, real struggles and ask them to seek perspective. Or to count their blessings instead. I feel their pain as if it were my own. I worry for them as if they are my worries too. I cherish them for their truthfulness; for their candidness. Relationships develop more meaning when walls are broken down and when understanding is shared. I can’t ask for that from others if I don’t give that out myself. One sided things never function properly.
So my intention is to foster that in myself. To let my walls fall slowly, when needed. To value that fall. To see the truth in what I am feeling and to remind myself that it is okay to feel the things you shy away from feeling. You are doing yourself no favours. Come to realise this. Feel your way through it, learn your way through it, grow your way through it to come to the other side with an extra petal in your flower.