I’m not the first human being during these era to wake up and truly believe that there must be more to life… amirite? For myself, I feel like I go through these cycles. Things are going great. Things are not going so great. Things need to be torched to the ground so I can start over. Things are getting better. Things are going great. Things are not going so great. And repeat.
Maybe the torch thing is a bit dramatic for a 35 year old woman.
But the cycles keep going and it’s like I’m constantly on the prowl to figure out how to stop it and witness sustained long-term progress. It’s been a favorite subject of mine in both my written (yes, still handwritten) journal and in my therapy sessions. Typically I’m searching my life for a culprit or a knight in shining armor. Every now and then, like a good little therapy attender, I look inward and start to take stock of what is really going on inside. Both looking outward and inward for a cause or a catalyst come with traps, right?
The outward-looking trap is quite obvious… no one and nothing other than yourself will propel you to that life of sustained progress. It’s not possible. The perfect mate, the amazing job, financial security, supportive family, and whatever other external factors people dump into the “if only I had this, I’d be happy” category are all nice, but they do little to affect the internal barometer of success.
The inward-looking trap isn’t quite as obvious (for me, anyway). I tend to cycle through my childhood, poor decisions, bad things that have happened to me, my failures, and all the ways I’m not measuring up to the person I believe I am. So I get stuck there analyzing segments over and over again with no resolution. I’m merely providing an avenue to give everything that’s wrong a stronger voice. In many ways, I’m allowing the universe to kick more of the same my way because that’s what I’m drawing attention to, right?
So… the outward and inward approaches aren’t working. What’s next? Let a professional handle it. I’m extremely fortunate to work with an incredible psychologist. He has a phenomenal skill set and continues to push me in the best possible ways. The issues I’m facing are deep and I’ve done everything I can to suppress my feelings and their real effects on my life. Sure, I can meditate. I can do yoga. I can say positive affirmations during the day. I can work to stop the negative chatter in my head. I can smile more. I can approach work with a confident attitude. But these are the small changes. This are mainly superficial. It’s the underlying layer that needs the real work.
What does that mean? How do I get there? And more importantly, what do I do with it when I arrive?
I don’t know. I’ve lived for many years by not showing up and certainly not taking any accountability for the path I’m on. Substance abuse allows one to hit the reset button over and over. It allowed me to reassign the blame. I passed the guilt onto alcohol. I checked out and decided that not feeling was more important that feeling anything negative. And so here I am… I feel like an infant all over again. I need to learn how to navigate the world around me but unlike an infant, I also need to learn how to navigate the past that haunts me–that underlying layer that has constructed this escape.
I’m terrified. Being terrified is a feeling though, right? I’ll start with that.