Staying motivated in work, relationships, or personal lives can be hard. I’ve had days when doing nothing felt more inviting than being productive, when withdrawing from others was easier than…
When I was a kid growing up in Philly, one of the phrases I frequently heard was, “are you talking to yourself?” like it was some kind of real problem that only insane people had. I might have even heard, “what are you babbling about?” when I was speaking under my breath surreptitiously hiding my true thoughts. You see, in my household, I was taught that children should be seen and not heard so having a discussion with myself, or sadly, initiating one with anyone else, was…a…no-no!
Whew! I’m glad that’s over with I now say to myself, and I am glad that I’m able to express myself appropriately no matter whose company I’m in, especially my own!
Though I am grateful not to be any worse for the wear, it wasn’t always fun having three-ways with me, myself and I. In fact, some of the internal confrontations were downright pitiful. When my ego connected with the results of my circumstances I was an easy target, and when those two elements got together in my brain there usually was…no mercy! I can remember speaking so poorly of myself I wanted to run away. Then I would say, “where ya gonna go?” Whenever I wanted to run from myself I would remember the phrase “wherever you go, there you are.” (Confucius) I couldn’t even run from myself.
I would really like to say that I handled growing up maturely, but I would be lying to you…and to myself. There were times when I would say anything to get the attention I thought I deserved. Heck, any attention at all would have been okay. Instead, I ultimately heard myself saying things I could not believe, statements that were in opposition to my values and what I knew was right for me, but it didn’t matter. What I wanted was to be seen and heard because that was a way for me to mask the pain of the neglect I felt.
This way of speaking to others and more importantly, to myself was damaging and harmful to everyone. I find it amazing now, when I look back, that I was able to fool myself into believing that the impact of this behavior would have little to no effect on me and others. WRONG! It did…and it was often devastating. One small, seemingly insignificant self-deception, gone unnoticed, can grow into a pattern that may eventually destroy everything one really does value. I know, I lost everything…twice! Because I was unable, to be honest with myself, I could not be honest, open or authentic with anyone else.
At one time I thought, “how many times can I start over before I just don’t have the energy to start over anymore?” I was at the end, the bottom, a place of no return and I was either going to have a “come to Jesus meeting” with myself or I would end it.
I am so grateful for the healing that took place when the conversation I had with me began to produce fruit; sweet, succulent, life-giving and life-affirming fruit. When I began to tell myself the truth, a truth which connected me to my soul in a way I had never experienced before, I began to remember who I really was/am. I was becoming present and joyful by seeing that what I am, right now, is all I have to be, to be at peace with my world.
Realizing that I was living someone else’s dream was, in fact, a nightmare for me. Surviving in someone else’s view of life was dying one lie at a time. It wasn’t easy to make this shift in perspective at the time. It was like quitting smoking or getting off sugar. It was gut-wrenchingly difficult, but oh, was it worth it.
I now want to live each moment and I am convinced that every moment of past internal and external struggle has contributed to the satisfaction of my current state of being. Is life perfect? No! It is easy? No! Are my circumstances really very different? No! But I am content with what is in my heart. The current path on which I’m traveling helps me breathe fulness into my life because I am living my own dreams. The self-talk I have with myself today is growing free of condemnation, doubt and the need for an outcome that pleases anyone but me. Selfish? Maybe, but I don’t see anyone else desiring to take over the helm of this ship! AND, I am practicing a peace I have never known before.
What brought me to the place of clarity? I asked myself:
What I remembered after my conversation with myself is that the answers I am looking for are not “out there,” but within. There are those who know this concept intellectually…and those who possess the freedom and wisdom to practice it!
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