On the journey of self-improvement (it’s a journey not a destination), you never know what’s going to be a profoundly transformative experience. Right now, my big transformation is letting go of living up to my parents’ expectations, which ultimately is what letting go of approval seeking is all about. There’s a feeling of grief and sadness in saying goodbye to an old version of myself.
Much of self-improvement is preparation. You prepare yourself–spirit, thoughts, emotions, body–for that moment when something ignites your soul on fire. While it’s exhilarating to expand into a greater version of yourself, there must be a cooling down period in which things must reform.
We can never go back to the way things were, but sometimes we want to. When we can stop wanting to go back, then we can truly go forward. We have to want to change before it can happen.
We are all destined to realize our true self-worth, one way or the other. It’s not so much a calling as an inexorable pull. To the extent that we resist the pull of our true self, we are unhappy.
Letting go can be difficult because it can feel like a sacrifice. Sometimes we think we’re sacrificing, but we’re not. A true sacrifice usually has to do with the death of a dearly held belief, and most of us hate to be wrong.
It’s challenging to be unflinchingly honest with ourselves. There are so many ways we can be diverted from really getting to the heart of the matter. I continue to write, because this is my bastion of peace, and oasis of truth.
We can call it giving up, retreating, or letting go, but maybe resigning is a more neutral term for withdrawing our energy from a futile endeavor. The anxiety and worry I’ve felt for as long as I’ve written this blog is like a fitfully sleeping dragon. The cycle of appeasement, in which I throw hapless victims into its hungry maw, is never ending.
Standing Our Ground
It is a process of letting go, of not trying to control the dragon of anxiety and worry. The dragon is obsessive, and the compulsion is to fight or flee. But what if we just stood our ground, and prove to ourselves (once and for all) that we won’t be burned by its flames?
Making the Unfamiliar Familiar
Anxiety and worry can become a habit, and habits can become our identity. The familiar way is to find the anxiety intolerable, while the unfamiliar is to be OK with it. So I don’t think anxiety and worry helps me, but I also don’t give it the power to hurt me, either.
Today, I’m focusing on compassion, because I realize how judgmental I can be, especially toward myself, but also toward other people and circumstances. As I focus on compassion, I feel better, lighter, less burdened. There’s a freedom in being compassionate that goes beyond external conditions.
My mood used to be tied up with how things turned out, whether it’s a project I’m working on, or people I interact with. I felt limited by this, because I wanted to feel good, but many things either made me feel bad, or left me dissatisfied, or disappointed. Letting go of this futile attempt at controlling external conditions (which included my own judgmentalism) has helped me a lot.
As I go about my day, I’m compassionate toward others and myself. I trust in my life and my experiences. This is who I am.
Some people try to tell me what life is, but I already know. Life is this plant that I’m doing my best to revive. Life goes on at the shop.
There are things I enjoy every day, so I focus on what I enjoy, and let go of the rest. I don’t try to control what I can’t control. I can take care of a plant, but I can’t make it grow.
The things I’ve learned over the years have served me well. I feel like myself. All the things that weighed me down are falling away, or maybe I’m now able to let them go.
It feels good to work, and to have some paying work at the shop. After the day’s work was done, I slept for a while, then woke up and sat with Bena under a big moon. I’ve let go of the things I thought were holding me back.
It feels complicated to figure someone else out, and it feels simple to figure yourself out. I think figuring yourself out only gets complicated when you try to do it from someone else’s point of view. I’m letting go of the complicated.
I’ve let go; I’m letting go; I go.
Last night, I sent my ex-girlfriend a message that represented the closing of a chapter in my life. I know that I’ve changed, because it doesn’t bother me if she replies or not.
There are different scenarios I can imagine. One, she could reply, and we can build a new, positive relationship. Two, she could not reply, because she’s scared or angry, and that’s more harmful to her in the long run. Three, she could realize down the road that she really does have a great guy who truly loves her, and that we could have had a great friendship all along. Whatever the outcome, my love for her will remain constant.
I know that at the heart of it all is the desire for personal freedom. I did my best to have a relationship that respected our individuality. I don’t think anything that has happened needs to get in the way of loving each other. I believe we can create whatever kind of relationship we want.
Ultimately, if she’s not in love with me, then obviously we don’t need to be together. That’s been the confusing part for me; does she love me or not? Well, I’m finally finished worrying about that kind of thing. I’ll love her anyway, and allow her to be exactly as she is.
I’m in a position where I have a comfortable place to live, work, and play. I have people who love and care about me. I have my health and good food to eat. Reaching out to my ex (and to her family) was something that felt right for me to do. I think it’s just as important for them to understand what it means to forgive, forget, love, and accept each other. I’ve grown and benefited greatly from my experience with them, and I want to show my appreciation.
I know it takes time to build trust, and as long as I remain true to myself, things will always work out for me.