Thursday, December 22, 2011

Conquering my Fear.....

Tonight I asked a friend if there was any one thing she thinks I should write about, what would it be? Her answer surprised me. I expected her to suggest things like write about perspective, or courage, or maybe even something humerous. I didn't expect her to suggest that I write about my inner self, my tender heart, the part of me that I keep well hidden safely behind a wall of independence and self-sufficiency, that part of me that few people get to see.

My first reaction of course, was to reject the idea because it would mean exposing myself to prying eyes, being vulnerable, opening myself up to attacks and derision. I felt like it would seem too much like I'm saying "look at me!" and would be too self-aggrandizing for my taste.

But mostly, the idea scared me.

But upon further reflection I asked myself "What if I wrote about that?" What would I say? What if I stripped away the layers of self-protective armor acquired from a lifetime spent in the school of hard knocks and spoke my innermost truth?

And now, here I sit. Staring at my computor monitor, struggling to find words that would accurately convey my innermost self. As I search my mind I hear the voice of my daughter saying "Use your words, Mom." and chuckle to myself while at the same time missing her very much....and that one thought brings to mind how that tends to be how I live my life......My outside laughs while my inside cries.

That same daughter, the one I've always called "my little Buddha child" once described me to a friend in this way: she said, "My Mom is like a roasted marshmallow: all burnt and hard on the outside, but warm and gooey on the inside". She was 7 at the time.

She's not wrong.

And I think that's why tonight my friend thought I should share that part of myself because I've allowed her to see that part of me and I have admitted to her that I wish more people knew that about me because maybe then they wouldn't be so quick to disregard my feelings because they're under the impression I don't have any.

But it's difficult. Every word I've typed so far has been a struggle. Because I don't want to share that part of me....anymore. Too many times I've opened myself up, trusting the wrong people....and been hurt.

I know I'm not special. Everybody hurts sometimes. Everyone has their stories of betrayal and angst. And I don't want to give the impression that I think I'm the only one, because I know I'm not. Which is why I am always quick to offer a helping hand, a comforting hug, a shoulder to lean on, a listening ear. Because I know what it's like to be hurting inside and have no one offer any of those things. I know how it is to feel like my heart has been mortally wounded and only receive a collective cold shoulder from others, as if they believe I "got what I deserved and therefore I am unworthy of empathy, compassion, or forgiveness."  I want to be the person who offers what everyone needs at those most difficult times of their life.....because in doing so, I can turn the most horrible times of my life into something good; because it made me a better person.

I know that sometimes people are confused by the way I respond to things. A person can snub me and I will smile and wave. Or another can say something cruel and I will pretend I thought it was a joke and just laugh. I am faced with all the same social situations as others, but it's no secret that I don't always respond in the ways people expect, the ways that are considered acceptable or appropriate....or normal. There are reasons for that.....

Sometimes it's simply because I recognize a situation as a "trigger" for deep emotional pain within myself so I am consciously choosing to diffuse it by choosing my response instead of just reacting.

There are times that I just plain "see things differently" than what people assume. The person who snubs me for example: Most people would respond to a snub by being offended or hurt. I see a snub as a reflection of who that person is on the inside and feel compassion for them because in my mind....a person must be feeling really yucky on the inside to believe that snubbing another is their best choice, the right thing to do, justified. In my mind, they get to be who they are and I get to be who I am, and who I am is someone who doesn't believe in "an eye for an eye", so instead of reacting to the snub with anger....I respond to the snub with kindness. I smile and wave, and send them thoughts of healing.

Other times it's because I am making a sincere effort to live what I believe to be spiritual truth by asking myself "What would Love do now?" and then responding accordingly. That one question has literally changed my life. It's inspired me to really dig deep and look closely at what love really is and what actions are truly loving. I've spoken of this in past blogs, and I mention it again now because I feel it's an important aspect of my inner self.  Like a compass, that one question has guided more of my life choices than any other thought. And I haven't always found the correct answer....but I keep trying.

Like it's own little journey, learning what love WOULD really do has been enlightening. Like the discovery that whatever choice I make must be as loving to myself as it is to others...otherwise it morphs into resentment and frustration...and ceases to be love. Or how what love would do is sometimes in opposition to what society considers to be "good manners". It was also enlightening to realize that "what love would do" can never have strings attached or it isn't love...it's manipulation. Therefore, doing something nice for another isn't what love would do if we do it with expectations about how the other will respond. It's only love if we can give something to another without expectations of return or hope for some kind of "pay-off". Giving only comes from a place of Love when it has no strings attached.

But back to my inner self, I can see I'm getting side-tracked......

My inner self is a hodge-podge of silly humor, intellectual ponderings, a sincere desire to be a good, kind, and loving person, and a deep sense of soul-ripping sadness.....because I have so much I want to share but no one seems to want to receive it. I know that sounds like "poor me", but I don't intend it that way. It is simply a statement of fact, an observation about my reality.

I spend my days seeking a balance between "doing what needs to be done to survive and get along in society" and "seeking inner peace". I am constantly learning new things because I find joy in discovery. And the more I learn and discover, the more I realize the key to happiness is simplicity. So I have created a simple life for myself, void of grand ambitions and lofty goals.

I know it puzzles others that someone with a busy brain such as mine isn't out there earning Doctorates and changing the world. But perhaps I choose to change the world in a different way......by sharing what I've learned with the people who come into my life on a more personal basis by just trying to be a good friend. Big houses, fancy cars and fat bank accounts don't interest me. They never have. My needs are simple and my wants are few. And my innermost self dreams only of having someone to share with. That's all.