I wish I could be the sort of person who moves steadily through her life, becoming in small, consistent increments a better version of herself. But that’s not how things work for me. My life seems to be punctuated by deep periods of growth and learning, usually precipitated by some kind of crisis. Those periods of learning are followed by long stretches of oblivious coasting. And at heart, I’m a bit of a coaster. It’s easy for me to get all comfortable and complacent and not take a look at the things I’m struggling with or that I’m avoiding. But that’s where the learning is.
Early in September, crisis hit, and I realized I had some learning to do. And this time, I ended up coming face to face with the concept of acceptance. Tracing my troubles, I saw that I needed to learn to accept others (particularly romantic partners) as they are, imperfections and all. And before that, I needed to accept my own imperfections, rather than struggling so hard to control them and to hide them. And even before that, I needed to learn to accept my thoughts and feelings for what they are: just thoughts, just feelings, and not “THE TRUTH.”
Learning to accept my thoughts has been transformational. It had never occurred to me before that my thoughts and feelings weren’t the truth. I thought that if I was in a relationship and struggling with doubt or uncertainty, with irritation or judgement, that I was obviously in the wrong relationship. It never occurred to me that perhaps these thoughts were normal. It never occurred to me that perhaps these uncomfortable feelings were a way for me to create distance when things got too close. And it never occurred to me that rather than trying to control these thoughts and suppress them, it would be far more effective to accept them and just not act on them.
I’m learning now to be more mindful. I’m learning to notice the thoughts that float through my mind, to notice how fleeting they are when I don’t get attached to them. I’m learning to accept what comes up without trying to fight it. And in doing so, everything feels easier. I’m not so anxious, not so consumed by doubt. I actually feel comfortable being in a relationship.
These days I’m channeling the soft, fluid energy of water. And it’s making a difference.
What are you learning about yourself at the moment?