I am Resilient
This morning I woke up to rain and wind at the beach, I was cold and I wanted to drink my coffee indoors with a blanket wrapped around me. But my doggy had other ideas and wanted to go for a walk. So, I put my jacket and hood on and walked him to the beach. Once I got there I saw people jogging, surfing, and doing yoga on the sand with only bathing suits on and the cold wind whipping in their faces. It made me smile. I felt recharged seeing them acting as if it was 80 degrees out. It gave me energy and filled me with happiness. And I went on a longer walk than I was going to. I came back to my home and poured myself another cup of warm coffee, fed my doggy, and started to write this blog.
Seeing these people out in the wind and rain doing their thing made me feel happier than I have felt in a while. These past couple weeks have been tough, as the uncertainty of my life and future hangs in the balance between the pandemic, the election, and my own personal growth. I have felt confused and unsure, and that is a tough place for me to be because most of the time I know what I want. But instead of forcing myself to figure things out right away as I usually do, I decided to just let myself be frustrated. Instead of using distractions to stop my uncomfortable feelings, I just let myself feel it. And it didn’t feel good.
Sitting with my feelings has always been hard for me. I have used all sorts of distractions throughout my life including alcohol, sex, and excessive exercise to avoid really dealing with negative emotions that come up for me. But I have worked hard to create a safe space for myself, to allow these feelings to come forth without judgement from others and I try really hard not to judge myself.
So, I decided just try and let these negative feelings come forward and see what happened. A terrible feeling of unworthiness filled me up as I became consumed with my own needs and how to fulfill them. I felt ugly and fat.I felt sad and alone. And I knew that this is what I have worked hard most of my life to avoid, feeling unworthy. It feels terrible.
But I know that these feelings are always in me, just simmering beneath the surface. Just because I avoid them and don’t acknowledge them it doesn’t mean they don’t exist. I just hate to admit that these feelings are in me and real. I want to say, that isn’t me, I just had a bad day. But that isn’t true. Those feelings are me, and they drive a lot of what I do in my life. They make me want to ‘prove’ myself, by proving that I am worthy of love and attention.
So, in order to appease these feelings I get in situations where what I need is just out of my reach. Because that is what I think I deserve. I know I do this to myself. And there is a kind of sick satisfaction in being in that spot. A part of me feels relieved because I have lived in that spot for most of my life. It is comfortable, and in that spot I avoid conflict because I am not protecting my boundaries.
It occurred to me these last few weeks that feeling that I am worthy of getting my needs met is not going to be comfortable to achieve. This might seem counterintuitive, but it is true. And that is because I have never been there. It is going to feel unfamiliar and my brain is going to fight it, even though in the long run it is the best thing for me and will help avoid unnecessary pain. I deserve to get my needs met, but my brain has to learn this which takes work and may cause me frustration. I have to learn a new way to be, and stop just going down the familiar path of giving without getting the same in return that has been impressed on me from years of repetition.
I have to take it slow. I have to take breaks, and let my brain and body catch up. My brain is trying to protect me. ‘Stay with what you know! It has kept you alive up until now!’ it says to me. My brain wants me to survive, it doesn’t care about my needs. And that is what I have been doing, surviving.
I thank my resilience for getting me through a childhood where no one was looking out for me, and no one cared about my needs. I needed my brain to block out my needs so that I could function and grow up. I know I am strong. But I don’t have to be that strong anymore. I don’t have to just survive anymore. I have the opportunity to change.
From the outside my struggle might seem easy to fix. Just value myself, and don’t put up with shit. Easier said than done! My whole body is hard wired for shit, and actually attracted to it. I know how to handle it. I know how to function in it. I can’t just wake up one day and say, ok I am done. It takes time. And it is scary.
Life is unpredictable. I can plan, and hope and pray for what I want. Doesn’t mean I am going to get it. Because I have realized over these past 5 years that life gives me what I need not what I want.
Life puts up roadblocks so that I grow and learn and become more empathetic to others. Once I acknowledge my own shortcomings and hardships, and work on them, I can see those same shortcomings in others. And instead of judging I can see them as a good person, going through a hard time. I can relate to them feeling unworthy and trying hard to see the beauty in themselves. I can reach out and tell them that I understand, and I that I know how hard it is. But I also know that we are resilient, we are beautiful, and we are indeed worthy.