Return of the thoughts

 

no more coffeee

Not that my thoughts ever left. I mean, whose can? Nonetheless, I’ve come to realize that I must work with them instead of against them. My battles are long and hard and bloody and end in roses and tears. Every thought I have makes a stand against rationality. My egoic mind rushes in to save the day, the hour and the minute, constantly releasing stress into my aging body. The body I practice, sometimes, taking care of. I can’t pretend that I’m perfect however I can say with confidence that my eating habits are decent at worst. That makes up a lot of the battle in this modern society. But mind health, where do I fall on the spectrum? Can I claim mental health? Bah! No way. I’m a basket case a lot of the time even though externally some have said they thought I had it all together. People really have said that to me after I open up about anxiety and depression. I’m like, dang, guess I was doing a good job faking it. And in that moment I’ve felt like a fraud, a liar, an imposter. But let’s step back a bit, perhaps that is a win. Being able to hold it together enough to sustain a level of normalcy to others. My accomplishments cannot be denied despite my self loathing tendencies. I have a successful career, take care of my financial responsibilities, am kind to others, practice healthy living, continue to practice recovery… I mean, come on Universe! Things are good. Too bad the Universe is not in charge of my thoughts. Sure, she supports me in my efforts for growth but when it comes down to which file I choose to open, which detail I extract from my past and which outlandish idea I imagine for the future she just stands back and witnesses the struggle. The fact that no matter what I do she will be there is soothing, there seems to be no judgement. But going back to the thoughts, can we harness their power? Can we invent new ways of coping on the fly and in crisis? I don’t believe I can and there lies the problem. I know it is true. As soon as I believe I will most likely not need to anymore. Life is that ironic. And today I feel forlorn and optimistic, excited and anxious, betrayed and invited. I once thought that ONE defining emotion was the driving factor for my life at any given time. Most recently I discovered what I call the emotion wheel, and this wheel encompasses all emotions all the time. So while my thoughts seem to dictate my emotions I still have the choice in any given moment, which emotion I focus on. Let’s say someone’s comment induced a negative thought in me which resulted in sadness, I could also choose to feel empathy for the pain the other must be in to treat another in that way. Or I could choose to have compassion for myself and recognize that I have some work to do with self-love. The options are there, choices all around us. The emotion wheel is extensive and ever changing. The wheel incites play to me and I picture it very colorful. I beginning to be curious about this wheel and possibilities it holds. Like pendulum swinging back and forth, my emotions switch the light. However unstable I feel I know the ground is solid. If my confidence is wavering I have my breath to focus on. Rational mind sees the path, emotional mind really seems to enjoy the messy roads. Like driving down a dirt road with some bumps and ruts and washboard texture, it’s more exciting than driving straight on the perfectly paved asphalt. Less risky sure, but wheres the blood pumping excitement. I’m drawn to the drama. And believe me I used to claim others were, not me. But I see it now, my body lives on the adrenaline. I get it. Now it’s a game of finding new, healthier, less destructive ways to get that adrenaline. Like hugs, hiking, off-roading, bicycling, reading a racy story, practicing cartwheels and handstands, or playing with the dogs. Can life be that simple and still be fulfilling? I haven’t figured that out.

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The perfect failure

FrozenInFear2

My search for the perfect job is off to a bad start. First of all I’m not actively looking, more so just thinking about it. Secondly I have no idea what the perfect job for me is. And so there lies the ever troublesome fear that I always succumb to. FEAR stands in my way most every day. And if I had to rate it’s success I would give it an A. See, I’ve come to realize that I could be categorized as a perfectionist. But, like my quest for that perfect job, I’m the type of perfectionist that only talks about the perfect things they want. But never actually tries to obtain them for FEAR of imperfection. Are you following me?

Let’s dig deeper, really tear me apart.

I want to be a free spirit. One might call it a hippie (I do.) I envy those who go with the flow and embrace natures way. They don’t worry about details or outcomes. They live in the moment and fully enjoy the present. At least that is my interpretation. This type of free thinking does not mix well with my need for perfection. How could I let me hair down and enjoy the moment if I’m worried about what is going to happen after the moment? Will it meet my expectations? Will it be perceived by others as a failure?

FAILURE: Now that is the root of my perfectionism. FEAR of FAILURE! I know I am going to fail (by my own standards because I don’t give myself any chance of not failing), the fear is so great, I don’t even try. I lose out on so many life experiences because my FEAR paralyzes me into thinking I cannot do it.

Fortunately I am a functioning FEAR of FAILURE sufferer. What I mean by that is that I realize some individuals suffer far greater than I. I have a full time job, a husband, 3 lovely dogs and a handful of people I can call friends. My appreciation for those things should be more than it is. My negative self image diminishes the idea that I am worthy of any of it. A perfect person deserves to have those things and I am far from perfect.

Let me try to explain how I feel in words.

When someone gives me a compliment, let’s say they told me I am doing a great job at work, I completely freeze up. My face flushes and I get hot and uncomfortable. If I’m already having an emotional day sometimes my eyes well up. And you might think, good, you feel proud. But no, I feel ashamed. I feel unworthy. I feel like I somehow pulled the wool over their eyes and fooled them into thinking I deserved such a compliment. My inner self does not let me forget that I am not good enough. That I am less than everyone else.

My rational side tries hard to fight this ugly monster. Tries it’s hardest to point out the facts and bring me to the other, positive side. But majority of the time that battle is lost. And I might be able to hold myself together for appearances but you better believe that on the inside there are casualties as far as the imagination can reach. Even as I write this post I know how ridiculous it sounds.

I’ve discovered over the years, through many different counselors, that this is only just a bad habit. With practice and self awareness I can retrain my thought process to take a different route. And I do believe that to be true. Because I have made great strides in acknowledging my bad habits and redirecting some of them. But this battle has proven to be harder than I can handle. My struggles are evident to the ones closest to me. They suffer the greatest from my inability to move forward and for that I am very sorry. But I am still optimistic that I will keep improving. That the FEAR of FAILURE perfectionist inside me will lose power and the free spirit that has been trapped inside since childhood will find her voice.

She has to. I need her now more than ever.