I've noticed lately that my blog has become all about my art and memes and classes and I want to get back to the real me occasionally. But this post seems like such a downer in some ways, that I decided to break it up with some shots of a recent photo walk on a glorious Autumn day. Believe me, I hesitated about hitting the publish button! If you don't want to get into the messy stuff, just scroll through and enjoy the photos! :)
Have you ever had a day where you couldn't do or say anything right to save your life? A day where everything you did (regardless of how well-intentioned) failed to have the effect you were hoping for? A day where everything you said just came out wrong? I experienced just such a day recently. A day punctuated by three distinct interactions that left me feeling raw and vulnerable, the shame storm in full gale, swirling violently around my head, my inner critic screaming in my ear about being stupid, thoughtless, selfish, negative, a total fraud.
|seasonal outdoor decorations|
Initially I wanted to come here to cry on the shoulders of my blog friends, to wail and whine about how unfair life can be and how misunderstood I am. But I allowed myself the entire weekend to lean into the discomfort and pain and see what I could learn from it. I tried to calm myself with the thought that I am human, flawed, I make mistakes. But my inner critic wasn't having it. She was still convinced that I was a fraud and busily
whispering screaming negative thoughts in my ear. I leaned harder. I didn't retreat to frantically cleaning
the house (my usual mode of numbing the pain of emotions I can't handle) or
eating excessive amounts of sugar-laden treats. I didn't go on a rant about not
being understood or appreciated.
In the first interaction, I was told that while I profess to be a positive and caring person, in reality I’m so NOT. That statement, coming from someone whose opinion does matter very deeply to me, cut me to the quick. It stung. I’m sure that it was intended to hurt. I wanted to rage and get self-righteously angry and deny. But at that very moment I shut up. I took it in. I shoved it back so I could deal with it later. And later came. And I found myself asking: Am I really being selfish? Am I really NOT a positive person?
|covered bridge reflected in the water|
The second interaction had me questioning my parenting and the line drawn between running to the rescue (no child was actually in any kind of crisis) and setting boundaries for my own self-care. Is it selfish to deny a child’s want (not need) in favor of meeting my own desire for some down time and a full weekend at home? Am I a bad mother?
In the final interaction, I thoughtlessly crossed a line with a friend. Something I considered harmless wasn’t. I did my best immediately to repair the damage, but once you’ve crossed a line, can it be un-crossed?
I know there are two sides to every story, two sides to this debate. I am not selfish for wanting to do something that brings me great joy. By the same token, I am self-less enough to put that very thing on the back burner and wait because that is what will make the other person happy. But I can’t help but wonder if the other person sees this in me at all???
I have come to the conclusion that SOME of the charges leveled at me had merit. I did cross a line where I might have known better had I paused a moment to think it through. And I will admit that I do complain too much. It is my default mode sometimes. I whine about little stuff. Stuff that in the overall scheme of things doesn’t matter at all. Stuff that I can’t control – like the weather. What is the point of complaining about it? It just makes me sound like a negative Nelly. I keep catching myself at it and trying to stop myself. I'm working on it.
|tall grass against the sky|
On the other hand, I know in my heart that I am generally a positive person. I try hard to see the good, the light. I do not dwell on the past or borrow trouble for the future. The charges leveled at me have not convinced me that I am truly selfish. I know I am not self-less either. I'm somewhere in between. I just need to figure out if I have the balance right.
|creek by the walking path|
Do you feel this tug in your life? How do you know when you have struck the right balance?