They say that in order to walk the warrior’s path, one must first surrender.
What is the war we’ve waged upon ourselves? Does it live in our brains? Our hearts? What kind of warriors are we aiming to be? What is the battle? And why, in order to achieve our accomplishments, must we first surrender?
Those are deep questions. And I’m still looking to be able to throw a white flag. But I don’t know if I’m there just yet.
Let’s step back for a second, back onto solid ground and away from my hyper-extended metaphor.
This week’s session was difficult for me. Much less invigorating than the previous ones because we got to a pretty deep place when talking about interpersonal relationships. And the trouble I’ve been having with them recently. It made me realize all the ways I’ve been having trouble my whole life.
The holidays are a hard time. Especially if you’re away from family. Especially when everyone is busy doing their own things. The weather is colder, the days are shorter, and people tend to get depressed around this time.
That usually isn’t the case for me, but I stayed in town instead of going home. So I felt extra lonely. I’ve been in a year-long transition and keep trying to find my balance. Usually, the way I am used to coping is by spending time with other people. Busying myself until I can busy myself no longer and can finally sit quietly with myself and my thoughts. It’s a constant feeling of homesickness that I am trying to quell with meaningful conversation and time spent.
To me, it’s no big deal. Because I pride myself on giving of myself to other people. I am happy to do it and rarely ever say no to others. I like being a good friend. This is what Megan and I examined this week. It’s not that simple. She asked me three very pointed questions in regard to these things:
· What am I getting from my giving?
· Is my giving based in fear?
· Am I giving without expectation of return?
What am I getting from my giving? Before being asked this, I didn’t think anything. I thought I was just being nice. But I am getting something from being a good friend – the feeling of being a good friend and on some level: validation. Yes, Sara. Thank you. You ARE awesome.
Is my giving based in fear? It certainly has been in the past, in regard to dating relationships. In most of my past relationships, I was knocked off balance by inconsistency and my trying to regain it was in an unhealthy way: by giving as much of myself as possible to show the person how much I cared and hoping that they would start to reciprocate again. Spoiler alert: it’s never worked. And I ended up at a much lower point because I gave so much of myself away without practicing any self-care.
Am I giving without expectation of return? Again, before I was asked this, I didn’t think I was expecting anything from other people. And I would say that a good 75% of the time, I’m still not. But this ties back to the first question: yes, on some level I am expecting something back. If not in the moment, then as kindness down the line eventually. But with expectations come disappointments. And feeling uncared for, etc.
Megan suggested meditation. I couldn’t even concentrate on the one we did before delving into our session. Instead, I reached out to my lovely friend The Internet and came across this quote by Danielle Koepke on Tumblr a few hours later:
It’s easy to feel uncared for when people aren’t able to communicate and connect with you in the way you need. And it’s so hard not to internalize that silence as a reflection on your worth. But the truth is that the way other people operate is not about you. Most people are so caught up in their own responsibilities, struggles, and anxiety that the thought of asking someone else how they’re doing doesn’t even cross their mind. They aren’t inherently bad or uncaring — they’re just busy and self-focused. And that’s okay. It’s not evidence of some fundamental failing on your part. It doesn’t make you unloveable or invisible. It just means that those people aren’t very good at looking beyond their own world. But the fact that you are — that despite the darkness you feel, you have the ability to share your love and light with others — is a strength. Your work isn’t to change who you are; it’s to find people who are able to give you the connection you need. Because despite what you feel, you are not too much. You are not too sensitive or too needy. You are thoughtful and empathetic. You are compassionate and kind. And with or without anyone’s acknowledgment or affection, you are enough.
It’s so hard to remember that in the moments you need to. Different people are different and part of the whole self-awareness finding-self process is finding that other people aren’t always going to be able to communicate the way they care in the way you need it at that very moment. It doesn’t mean they don’t care. But it’s also not their job to take care of you.
That’s something I need to remind myself of from time to time. Maybe more often. That, and to just breathe. Meditation works, otherwise people wouldn’t do it. Back to the trenches, and in the meantime I hope you will join me in Copia’s 30 day New Year’s challenge! The team has come up with 30 days of inspirational challenges for us to share on social media. Head over to their Facebook for more details!