Friday, September 16, 2005

That Old Familiar Feeling

For the past two days or so I've experienced feelings I haven't felt for months: self-doubt, fear, and an anxiousness to please those around me to the point of worrying that what I say will make them react angrily. I used to think being criticized and making someone angry were the worst things in the world and so I would strive to avoid them at all costs. When they inevitably did happen, I had no way to cope, and so I would chalk it up to me being a ridiculous, worthless person who couldn't do anything right much less make those around me happy, much less be worthy of love. I was insufferable. Even to myself.

I have made enormous progress in therapy in so many important, ground-breaking ways: I've come into my own as an individual by speaking up for myself without fear that doing so would alienate those that I love; I put more thought into what I say so I can stand by it later on; I have confidence in myself; I now recognize I am just as important as anyone else, and have learned to expect respect from others as I give respect to them. It's not a one-way street where I give and give yet deserve nothing in return. I have gone from constant self-loathing to actually liking myself, and I have never, ever before in my life honestly liked myself. It goes without saying that self-loathing is a pretty difficult feeling to manage. You can't get away from yourself so if you don't like yourself, you're pretty much stuck in hell.

Why are these feelings revisiting me now? It's awful! I worked so hard to overcome this self-destructive thinking so it is scary to have it come back with such force. I don't know if this is stress, or just a normal regression after a dramatic change, or what. I want to believe it's a normal regression to a way of life that I practiced for 31 years, which I'll refer to as the 'old way of living' (read = that self-loathing, people-pleasing doormat I used to be). The new way of living (read = my confident, happy self) has only been in practice for 4 months. Looking at those numbers alone, it would seem to follow that the new way of living hasn't had much of a chance to take hold and completely replace the old way of living, so one could draw from that that this would be normal. I should give it a chance, don't be too hard on myself, let it go, breathe, relax, and be grateful for all that is good. There is a lot of good.

That's the thing: it's easy to be grateful for a feast, but harder to be grateful when you're hungry. In other words, it's hard to see past the hurts and injustices even if there are plenty of good things around you to be grateful for because we so easily notice that which upsets our world. I often let the bad things completely overshadow the good, and that causes me to get melodramatic on everyone's asses, to lose hope, and act tragic. It's completely within my control to stop thinking this way, and turn it around and be grateful.

I'll ask myself the following: What is bothering me? What can I do about it? I realize I am not in control of life, only in how I react. I will work hard to not be so hard on myself, to concentrate on all the good, and then those feelings will slip off of my psyche and leave me alone.

There's NO WAY in hell I will revert to that sad human being who thought so little of herself. I have a daughter to raise, a man to marry, and I simply don't have time for that shit.

1 comment:

5th Muse said...

Wow, that's am impressive and inspiring change you've gone through. You certainly seem to have it figured out ... I guess lives just require maintenance, though, don't they?