I mentioned previously that I had been in a funk. A couple weeks ago someone asked me an innocent question that immediately had me throwing up a ‘wall’. We all have them. You know, the metaphorical ‘wall’ that sets off your internal alarms, shuts down conversation and you hide behind it. You may also recall that my mantra for 2020 is to not hide…to face my fears. Therefore, I was presented with a choice. I could choose to carry on with the status quo (ie. keep the ‘wall’ in tact) or I could take a sledge hammer to it, see what it was made of and what was on the other side. I knew immediately what I had to do. With much trepidation, I decided I had to get down to the core of it and dive deep into myself to destroy the ‘wall’. Here’s some theme music for the journey: https://youtu.be/0-7IHOXkiV8.
“The heart of a man is very much like the sea. It has it’s storms. It has it’s tides and in it’s depths it has it’s pearls too.” ~ Vincent Van Gogh
The first rule of warfare-know your enemy. I needed to know what I was facing, so I needed to know the ‘wall’. It was letting people close, but not too close, keeping them at a safe distance. I began asking myself why I had the wall. The answer I found was fear, fear of; heartache and pain; being abandoned; loss; and judgement. Now that I knew what I was fearful of, I started asking myself why was I afraid of these things. I had to get to the core of it, so I dug into my past and tried to recall the very first time or most painful memory I had of feeling heartache, abandonment, loss and judgement. It felt like a scene from the movie Inception, here’s the trailer: https://binged.it/36qpjSc. I’m not going to sugar coat this by any stretch of the imagination. Traumatic is an accurate description. It was awful. I felt all the same feelings now as when I had initially felt them.
It was almost surreal that I in present day, having felt like I had overcome so much was so easily drawn back in, to where I started from. This time though, I did it to myself, knowingly. I choose to go down there. There was more than a moment of panic, thinking I was stuck there. There was no way out of it. Where the heck was the eject button? Why in the world didn’t I think of an exit strategy before I started the journey to the center of me? What the heck was I thinking doing this on my own, I’m no expert! PANIC!!! While all of this inner monologue was going on, externally I’m certain I looked a wreck. I was again going through the motions of daily life, catatonic. My eyelids were swollen from all the tears I shed. My nose was red and raw. I felt physically ill, my body hurt, I was tired, exhausted really. Alright, I’ll say it-I was depressed. Deep breath.
“You’ve always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.” ~ The Wizard of Oz
Then I remembered what I had done before. I had to stop wallowing in the space of self pity and asking “why”. That is where I had been stuck for so many years. Sometimes there is no understanding to be found, it isn’t what matters and ultimately it is the wrong question to ask. Moving forward meant that I needed to remember the past from an objective viewpoint. It helped me to replay the scenario and see it as if I was observing it (eg. fly on the wall). Then I was able to objectively determine who was responsible and for what. It is easy to blame someone else and make them the ‘bad guy’, certainly those exist. It is harder to see the ‘bad guy’ from a neutral perspective, especially when you’ve been hurt or wronged by them. Maybe you can find it in yourself to forgive them, maybe not. The truth is, although ‘bad guys’ exist, not everyone is one and putting the ‘wall’ up not only keeps the ‘bad guys’ out, it keeps the good from getting in.
The forgiveness that matters is for yourself and it is the hardest to give. It’s true that hindsight is 20/20. What they don’t tell you about hindsight is that it also gives you information you didn’t have at the time when you were making the choices you did. Stop punishing yourself for decisions you made with good intentions. You can’t tell the future and neither can I. So why in the world would you blame yourself for not knowing something you had no way of knowing? I had to accept that I made decisions, based on the limited information I had at the time, that I thought were the right ones. They didn’t work out the way I hoped, but guess what, I had no control over that. I couldn’t change the past. The only thing I could control, was what I did right now. There, right there, that’s where the forgiveness is. The tears came in a flood, much harder than before. They slammed into the ‘wall’ like a raging typhoon enveloping all of the pain and heartache. I felt the cleansing waters of forgiveness and peace wrap their arms around me, surrounding me in love. I watched the ‘wall’ come crashing down.
“Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.” ~ Jim Morrison
The enemy wasn’t who I thought it was, it was me, all along. I found peace in the heartache and pain I had been so fearful of before. I knew that having felt those, also meant that I had loved deeply and doing so wasn’t a bad thing. Loving someone so deeply wasn’t something I wanted to shut myself off from. My fear of being abandoned, also meant that I was fully capable of surviving on my own. Do I want to be alone, no, but could I do it, sure. The fear of loosing someone meant that I had people in my life that I loved and cherished. It made me value the present and the time I do have with them even more. The judgement I was terrified of, didn’t matter any longer because those that would judge me, aren’t the ones that matter. The people that love me, would continue to love me regardless of any mistakes I made. More importantly, I had forgiven and was at peace with myself.