The pitter-patter of the rain on my roof woke me earlier than usual. I turned up the thermostat, climbed back into bed and prayed I’d fall back asleep.
Thoughts that came to me before that slumber arrived had to do with my normal pattern of experiencing myself left out—it’s the holiday season, after all, and being a person without family close by, well, it’s part of my schpiel.
Every podcast and blog, at this time of the year, reminds us that we are supposed to be grateful, generous, loving, kind, and forgiving of others. Sometimes I just can’t get there. Sometimes, I slide back into whiny, lonely, disappointed, pathetic poopy-head!
Practicing Something Different
A number of months ago when I wanted to forgive someone in my life who I believed had harmed me in one way or another, I just couldn’t bring myself to doing that—forgiving. So I asked myself the question: What do you get by choosing to remain unforgiving?
The answer came pretty quickly. In a nutshell, by choosing to remain unforgiving I get to stay righteous and resentful—I love being immersed in the attitude of “I Know Better.”I think we all do. Then I asked myself: Is this really the way I want to live—in righteous resentment? Of course the answer was no. So I began disconnecting myself from my attachment to righteous resentment.
So today, hearing myself once again grumble, I stopped myself in midstream. I heard that, though I want to be what I want to be—grateful, generous, loving, kind and forgiving, I, in this moment, realized that I can’t get there from here. Why? Because my belief that I’m separate, disconnected, alone and lonely requires me to create strategies that help me feel invulnerable to further loss, grief and disappointment. That makes sense, right?
So, I practiced the technique that I used with forgiveness, and asked myself: What do I get by choosing to remain unkind? What do I get by choosing to remain ungrateful? What do I get by choosing to remain unloving? And, what do I get by choosing to remain ungenerous?
What I get by remaining unkind: I get to feel entitled to being mean-spirited, vengeful, righteous. For ungrateful, I get to remain bitter, angry, resentful. For ungenerous: I get to remain stingy, selfish, withholding. For unloving, I get to remain invulnerable and withholding.
In everyone of these, I empower myself to choose to remain disconnected and invulnerable by holding on to feelings that don’t serve me, personally—aside from keeping me feeling mad, sad and bad, which have been a normal M.O. for the majority of my life. It’s the M.O. of most of us to believe we are disempowered when we are in a poopy-head state of mind. Truth is we always empower ourself to choose to think the thoughts and feel the feelings we feel. We are always empowered to choose to disempower ourselves. Fun, right?
To me, its fascinating that when I relate to others or even just perceive myself relating to others, I often empower myself to act in ways that disconnect me—because I don’t feel safe or trust that I’m safe, thus being in such a way that allows me to feel invulnerable. However, choosing to remain in that disconnected relationship to others, if only in my head, I’m actually denying myself to be anything but resentful, withholding, invulnerable and alone, for myself. Isn’t that a kick in the head?
Inquiring Minds Want to Know
By asking myself what I get by choosing to remain unkind, or any of the other qualities I truly wish to be, I see that it’s a form of self-empowerment and self-protection. And, if I can empower myself to choose from my belief that I need to separate and protect myself, I can empower myself to choose to consider whether that’s really the way I want to live—protected and afraid, in essence.
Truth is, I become a much better person to myself when I understood the source of my choices. And, rather than living in resentful, bitter, disappointed, lonely me, I now can choose—only if I want to, to be a little kinder, a little more generous to myself by not choosing THAT!
I’m a Work in Progress
Even though there is a part of me that would love to be a Mother Theresa, there is a part of me that isn’t ready to give up all of my attachments to mad, sad and bad—she’s just not ready.
I’ve come to appreciate that it takes the time it takes to deconstruct the habits of living as if I’m a poopy-head. It takes patience and a dedication to being more connected to me, and choosing to bring more good feelings into myself. And, it takes compassion for that part of myself that isn’t yet ready to give up her well-honed strategies that support feeling invulnerable and safe. She needs all the love, kindness and forgiveness I can allow. Maybe next lifetime!! I would love to hear your comments, questions and feedback.
If you’d like more of Dr. Rosie, check out her website: www.theparadigmshifts.com.
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