October 25, 2012 § Leave a comment
Today is a grey, rainy day. I’m overtired (stayed up way too late to be getting up at 5:15). I’m relatively directionless at work. There’s some unresolved drama surrounding the skids trip for Turkey Day. But I don’t feel chaotic or out of control or heavy with dread like I would normally feel. I might almost go so far as to say I feel buoyant inside.
As I’ve been walking this road of self-acceptance, it has become increasingly clear to me that how I feel about myself is equal parts generative and responsive. That is, I am responsible for feelings about myself, but those feelings are also a reaction to the things, people, feelings around me. I can’t control what other people put out there in the world but I can control what I invite to my doorstep.
It’s been a slow process, coming to this realization. I create(d) a lot of opportunity for unhealthy obstacles in my life. How can I expect to feel confident about who I am if I surround myself with things that make me feel bad about myself? I don’t mean that I shouldn’t seek out challenges, but I shouldn’t be spending my day looking at websites that makes me feel inadequate or like less of a person (looking at you, Pinterest). I shouldn’t be inviting commentary from others when I’m obviously not feeling receptive to “advice” (seriously, comments on facebook are never helpful, usable advice). I shouldn’t be staying in friendships out of obligation, rather than out of any feeling of, I don’t know, friendliness.
Over the last 6 months, not only have been working on generating positive feelings about myself and seeking out things that bring me joy, but I have also been slowly identifying and eliminating all these things that are sources of negativity for me. It hasn’t been easy. Some, like Pinterest, were simpler (bookmark–deleted!). But others, like that college friend whose life and beliefs have grown to become in complete opposition with mine…that one was much harder. It’s funny though, for as much as I agonized over the decisions, finally making the choice was like casting off a lead weight. All these things were pushing me to the ground, holding me there and forcing me to believe that I was not good enough. I wasn’t trying hard enough. I just wasn’t enough. Letting go of everything gave me some room to let all these good things in.
I’ve written about confusing personal growth with changing myself to meet others’ expectations. Part of learning the difference is deciding to eliminate the things and people in my life that only promote the latter. If I always have a million things always in my ear bringing me down, then when these bad things come along, it’s easy to start listening to those voices. By choosing to be comfortable with who I am, it’s like I’m filling all these balloons with good things, and I’m held up in the air no matter what other shit is going on.
You will find that it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason that they are heavy.