Can I just admit

After reading yesterday’s post, some friends reminded me that I’m being hard on myself again — and I am. I read my own words, and remember that I have said nearly the exact same thing before, elsewhere, at least once, probably more. It’s true that I want to be able to do good and worthy things in life, maybe even great things, but the truth underneath that want is something bent. I don’t want to take on great things for their own sakes, but because I feel like unless I accomplish something, I’m not worthy of acceptance and love, and the bigger the accomplishment, maybe the more worthy I am — and the terrible other side of the lie, that if I don’t accomplish anything, then I am thoroughly unworthy of being loved. This dark lie has lurked in my emotional underlayers for my entire life, and it has affected nearly every part of that life, because it is part of the foundational reality I believe in, that I understand the world through. It steals my strength and makes my footing in life unsure, it keeps me still and static, because I can never tell when the next step might give way under me. It is a complete, utter and disastrous lie, and I haven’t stopped believing in it yet.

Can I just admit out loud that I want for the lie not to be true — even if I can’t really believe it all the way to the bottom of me yet? Can I say out loud that I want to be loved for myself, not for my accomplishments; that I want to be appreciated for who I am, not what I do? That I want to be able to do good in the world just for the sake of doing good? That I wish badly to be loved and hugged and held and kissed and appreciated and deeply close to another human being? That I want to be secure enough in my friendships not to doubt them, without constant affirmation that yes, my friends actually like me? Can I admit out loud that I want to see the world as a place with arms open, smiling in welcome, rather than arms crossed, skeptical eyebrow raised, waiting for me to earn my own place in it? Can I say that I wish I could be content and happy, regardless of circumstances? Can I say that I want love, to be given and to give away? Can I really just say that and own it?

Even if I can’t stop believing in the lie yet, can I at least admit that I wish it wasn’t true?

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7 comments so far

  1. sarah on

    Cris, as you say – you’ve said the bad stuff before, here and elsewhere. Take heart: I think that the fact that you can say it means you’re beginning to see it, to believe that you can change that warped perception of love and acceptance based on performance.

    What we see, what the world sees is a lovable, loving, caring, talented Cris. Open your eyes and see yourself for what you are, not what that dark lie tells you to be. Live life as you wish to live, not as it forces you to live.

  2. Barbara on

    The fact that you are self supporting and are taking personal responsibility for yourself negates the idea that you have accomplished nothing. That in itself is a major accomplishment. You have started studying Tai Chi another accomplishment in the making.
    I think because we can’t see the internal dialogue in other peoples heads we think them to be confident in their worth and abilities, but I have found over time that most people feel like they under achieve and that they are less secure in their value than we believe.
    I have felt the way you have over the years, but have not articulated them as clearly as you have and I still struggle with feelings of inadequacy. I have lived long enough to know that I need to let those feelings fall by the wayside and get done at least some of what needs to be done.
    I am pushing myself to maintain contact with what friends I have as I know the value of friendships in long term health.
    You have a good size number of admirers here on Ravelry and I think we would all welcome your RL friendship if it was geographically possible. The fact that you are going out of your comfort zone to go to some fiber festivals and meet up with fellow Ravelers is an accomplishment that benefits you and the ones you’ll be seeing.

  3. Mardi on

    What Barbara said. Plus- we are never aware of the eternal internal conversations going on all around us of selves with selves. I can think of at least one person, possibly more, who you sincerely admire who should/could have written this post, but is not self-aware enough to do so. You should be proud that you are, that you have the courage to examine yourself as honestly as you do. But we can all take that too far, into the Black Zone where all is guilt and self-hatred. That isn’t honesty, I’m not sure what it is, but for me it is perhaps a weird form of self-indulgence and RL avoidance. I am trying to at least spend less time there.

    I wish you could see and hear the wisdom and love that you dispense to others and give just a fraction of that to yourself.

  4. Cousin Anne on

    I’ve felt this way a lot. But what I realized is that it’s near impossible to “achieve” something when you A) aren’t even sure what it is you’re supposed to aim for, and B) aren’t even sure it’s going to make you happy once you get it. So therefore, what might feel like a lack of discipline is actually just the lack of motivation. “I’m not even sure that’s what I want, why am I going to expend so much time and energy for something I might not even want once I get it?”…I guess that seems like a perfectly logical question to me, or at least explains why we might shy away from the selves we sometimes wish we could become.

    This might not be the same feelings you’re having right now though, but I know when I’ve felt similarly, like I really should amount to more, that this is what I keep coming back to.

  5. Torrilin on

    Part of the problem is the lie you’re fighting is a seductive one. “I should be better!”

    I mean really, who doesn’t want to be a better person? Mostly, people who are nutcases. The trick is the difference between want and should. If you truly want something… you fight for it and work on it and sometimes have to be dragged away from the fight by those who love you. The should tho… that’s all full of guilty burdens rather than burninating passion. It kills the urge to work and fight.

    So if you WANT to be better… I’ll cheer you on all the way. It’s hard. It hurts. Sometimes you claw at those you love as you work and fight to be better. But it’s a really active thing, even when the better is small and seemingly passive. (I mean, it’s not like learning the painstaking coping skills that let me actually remember two digits of a number looked all that active…)

    The should? The should needs to stop. It’s a dreadful habit that keeps you from the fights and hurts that you NEED. The should is stifling you.

  6. brother on

    I have the unique perspective of knowing you at every point of your life. I have seen what has planted and nurtured this lie that you believe. You OVER-achieved all your life, at pretty much everything you set your mind to doing, and some things that you where just naturally talented at doing and didn’t put much really hard, hard work into. You worked at being the Valedictorian of a very bright class of high school kids, you are a master at any small needlework, knitting, crochet, spinning, weaving, etc. you try, anything musical you understand and excel at from the first down beat. YOU WERE READING THE READERS DIGEST IN KINDERGARDEN. You do not have to over-achieve to be successful and worthy. I can’t remember anything that you just failed at doing, and as your Brother, I wouldn’t let you forget it if I found something. Now that’s success in my book.

  7. kim desko on

    First of all, I think you did – admit it out loud, that is. :)

    Shortly before Carl died, he told me that he wished he had done more to help people than he had. What he couldn’t see through his own filter & blinders was the gifts he gave the people around him every day just by being himself. If I needed evidence of this all I would have to do is read some of the posts left on his wall on Facebook or any one of the numerous cards I received from complete strangers that knew him and their stories of how he helped, often with no more than a kind word or smile. The tragedy isn’t that Carl didn’t make a difference in his life – the tragedy is that he couldn’t see it in himself.

    Cris, it’s not the grand gestures or accomplishments that make the biggest difference in most people’s lives, it’s the little things – like your hugpiles :)
    Like all the people on Ravelry that sent good wishes and prayers and thought of us throughout the many days, most of whom I will never meet in real life. May I suggest that you get out of your own head and notice the reactions of the people around you. When that little, very persistent, insidious voice inside starts in with that lie, tell it “Thank you for sharing, now shut the fuck up – you’re not helping.” If nothing else, you will become more present and aware of exactly how insidious that little voice is and the damage it is causing. Awareness is the first step to changing it.

    WE create our experience of our lives in how WE choose to language it and that is powerful. I didn’t get as much time with Carl as either of us wanted – and I can spend a LOT of time wallowing in what I will never have or being angry at the universe for taking him away from me (and some wallowing & fury is appropriate, or so I’ve been told) – or I can pause, take a really deep breath and be grateful for every minute that we DID have together because they were glorious. I don’t mean to minimize your feelings – what I just described is REALLY HARD to do – but when I am able to accomplish it, choosing to change my experience of the moment, everything shifts and I am there in that moment, alive and present and that insidious voice in my head is not.


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