Day 18 Question 18:
What is the latest epiphany you have experienced?
I just stood in my bathroom blow drying my hair and started thinking about sending the last guy I was dating an email…just a friendly hello. We haven’t spoke in a few months. We didn’t part on bad terms-our lives were just in totally different places and he had some serious baggage he needed to get rid of. As I stood there I thought about all of the things I would tell him: how I have been doing yoga, how I am feeling happier than I have in quite some time, how I am going to take the Transcendental Meditation course that we talked about this month…I was going to talk about how far I have come since we parted. I was going to tell him that he was a big part of this. He told me he believed I was onto something big and he was right, I was onto finding my own strength. By the time I came back into my bedroom and sat down and put my computer in my lap I knew I couldn’t write the email. I HAD to test my own strength. I am not going to be the one to always put forth the effort. I do not hate him. Hate is something I just can’t carry inside of me. I do however have a lot of mixed feelings about him and the feelings that I never expressed were anger and hurt…not feelings I ever expressed out loud. I have ignored these feelings and it took me until now to realize how I always put myself second in all romantic involvements I have ever been in (actually in a lot of relationships I have been in). My insecurities made me push myself into people’s lives because I always believed that no one would ever try really hard or want to win my love or my attention. It is kind of embarrassing to admit that but it is just the truth. I can see so much goodness in myself and I know what I have to offer but for some reason I am not always able to believe the things I know about myself. I am unsure why I never quite felt good enough or always believed I was second best. I had/have always been striving to be something better than I am and I am finally learning that I have to accept myself for me because if I don’t I will always be striving for that something better that does not exist. It is like reaching for the unobtainable.
So much in this life does not make sense to me. My world is full of nonsense and comedy and every emotion possible and even those we don’t have names for. I am sure you have learned this by reading my blogs. My brain is always 25 steps ahead of me and it seems almost impossible to slow it down. Sometimes this can be really bothersome and overwhelming. It makes me question why me? Over and over again. Other times it feels like a gift. I do feel like I am a unique individual that just wants to share so much with the world but isn’t sure quite what outlet to use. The world is my muse. Life is my muse. I am learning everyday who I am and I am learning to accept this person but there are things I still want to change and that is requiring me to step out of my comfort zone in a big way. Even in this blog I have censored myself to a degree in order to avoid offending anyone. Let me give you an example of how my head works sometimes…ok a lot of the time. I have been working on this blog now for 19 days. I have been very honest but in some instances there is more that I feel like I could have said-things that are more blunt and to the point-potentially insulting or offensive to some but they are my thoughts. Also, I have readers that I do not know-I have never met these people yet I am still worried about offending these people and getting some sort of backlash from these people. So here is the dialogue that takes place in my head:
“Well this is what I am thinking but if I write that someone may be offended (I could have someone in particular in mind). I am, however, being honest but they might say something to me and then how will I respond/react? Should I say it? Should I not? Is it wrong for me to say it? Will people be mad at me if I say it? I really should say it if it is what I am feeling in the moment. But is this what I really feel? Am I being lead by my head or my heart? ” This is the battle that goes on over and over again in my mind. I am extremely uncomfortable with confrontation which has made me lead a life of hardly standing up for what I believe in or backing up my beliefs. I am terrified of losing people I really care about by offending them or by judge being honest. I don’t want to be viewed as a bitch. I am working on accepting and moving forward but it is not always easy. The one thing that is hardest for me to accept is that not everyone is going to like me. Obviously, I don’t expect everyone that I encounter to like me, but I don’t want to be disliked based on snap judgments. There are many topics/questions I have thought about writing about that I have a lot of strong feelings about and then I think about the people I know and who I could potentially offend. I know that I need to stop worrying about that though because I am entitled to my own thoughts and opinions. It has just never been an easy thing for me to do but I am DETERMINED to jump far outside of my comfort zone. I know the person that I am is sincerely kind and caring. I know that I would jump through fire to help those that I love. I may make snap judgments and may make insensitive jokes but I also know that deep inside I regret doing that right after I do. I don’t always say these things but I know when I am wrong. In the same I am a clown sometimes and I do enjoy crude humor. I am not always politically correct but I am also compassionate and empathetic and in a minute I would do for someone else before doing for myself because I feel that is the right thing to do. I really do believe even though I sometimes feel like a crazy person, that I am the right balance of person because I don’t just lean one way or another. I don’t try to be prim and proper day in and out but I also do not act rude and obnoxious. I find that middle ground because I understand the concepts of discretion and respect. Through the nervousness, anxiety, self-questioning, fear and doubt, as hard as it is to admit and to believe sometimes-I know who I am. I am a beautiful soul that wants to be a mentor and a role model. I want to have several mentors and role models in my life. Vocal expression is not easy for me. I can be loud-mouthed and outgoing but I am still usually very nervous (even though most people would never guess that).
I just started wondering if your thoughts are who you are. It didn’t take me long to come to the conclusion that the answer is no. I think this is part of my struggle in expressing myself sometimes. Sometimes I think things and what I feel may be different. Thoughts are there for only a mere moment and they change rapidly. This is why I don’t always state everything that I am thinking because (even though I might not always realize it at the time) I know there is no reason to stir up drama or chaos because of a fleeting thought that I had in a moment. If you think about it, your thoughts are based on your feelings. Your feelings are always changing based on your situations. Say for example, you have been working your ass off at your job and your boss comes in and screams at you for something you are not at all guilty of. You start to feel your heart beat rapidly and you are overwhelmed with a feeling of anger. Your emotions are on overdrive. So, what do you do? You have several options. You could scream back at your boss and tell him/her what an asshole they are. You could sit in silence and nod your head. There are a number of things you could do. What you express in that moment is going to be based on what you are feeling. It is important to get in touch with your feelings at a time like that because those feelings have everything to do with your reaction. Ok, think about it (yes I said think-hahaha), situations can turn into a vicious cycle. In this example if you decide to scream back at your boss you are vocalizing out of anger. After time has passed you will cool down and most likely start to feel regret. Your reaction was based on anger and you did not even consider what your boss was feeling (which would be causing his reaction directed at you-he/she may have gone through something angering right before he/she got to you). Trust me, I realize not reacting immediately in some situations can be very difficult. It sometimes almost feels natural to have an immediate response. We are always ready to put our defense up. I have just come to realize that once you are more in tune with your feelings and know which ones are beneficial and which ones are not you are able to control a lot of unneeded nonsense and hurtful words (that most likely later on you will realize that is not how you truly feel). We need to rid ourselves of the ego. Yes, I think it is important to protect ourselves in different senses, but we do not always need to be right. How many of us have said something in the heat of the moment just to hurt someone even though it is not what we truly feel about them? We just wanted to be one up on that person. We wanted to be superior. If you have a conscience though, guilt will follow and you will realize that you actually feel inferior for stooping to a level like that. I think I stay censored sometimes because unconsciously I realize that I am not my thoughts-I am way more than this. I am more in tune with the ego than I realized I was and I don’t want to be ruled by my ego. Yes, I want to be liked and I want to be a mentor but I am not looking for fame. I am not looking for people to fall all over me or praise me (yes of course it would feel nice to have that happen but it is definetly not my goal). I just want to share my messages because they might make sense to other people. Helping others does make me feel good. It would feel good to anyone. There is no such thing as a selfless good deed and I think that is ok because everyone benefits from it.
Sometimes it is hard to get beyond your own self. We tend to have snap judgments about people and get annoyed at their reactions. We tend to be selfish because we know what we know and we feel what we feel and that is it. It is ok to be selfish sometimes-I mean we do walk around in this one mind with this one mind every single day. The thing is (and I am not telling you you have to do this-just a suggestion) it is important to try to step into another person’s shoes. Obviously you are never going to walk a day in their shoes but that is the point. Even through a million annoyances, you will never truly know what another person is feeling. I have a friend in my life that complains non-stop. If it is not one thing it is another. I have tried to spew out suggestions to her (positive affirmations, change of lifestyle, etc). I got to the point that I needed to distance myself because I was getting severely annoyed. I kept thinking “shit or get off the pot”. I distanced myself because I did not want to get to the point of annoyance that I would start being rude and disrespectful. I believe I chose the right way to go but I also realized that although the complaining was incessant she felt what she felt. I was not in her shoes and she was obviously overwhelmed with various aspects of her life. It was overtaking her and she was feeling an array of emotions. Yes, I do believe people should take action instead of complaining non-stop but sometimes actually following through with the action is extremely scary. It goes back to stepping outside of your comfort zone. If you are reading this, take a minute to think about what stepping outside of your comfort zone would involve? Is it scary or overwhelming? I bet it is. So, now think about where others are coming from. You have never felt what they are feeling and have never lived one day of their life. What is absurd to you might be completely normal to the next person. Unless you persistently practice this day in and day out you will still have moments of judgment and the urge to lash out but once you become aware of it you could potentially see these reactions decrease. Life comes down to certain questions: Is this really going to beneficial in the end? Will this make me happy? Will this hurt/harm others? How would I feel if someone reacted to me in this manner? When I am in difficult situations, even if it is for just a mere moment, I run questions like these through my head before I react. I am amazed in how such a short time I have felt a sense of calm by doing this. It is as if you gain a greater respect for yourself for taking the high road. You know you have done the right thing.
I am now almost 2 hours deep into this blog. Every blog that I write I am more in love because I am more in tune with myself. I love seeing who I am. I love the feeling of being re-born. This person on paper (well typed up on a computer if we are going to get knit picky) is who has been missing for awhile. I once was lost but now am found…who would have thought those words would ring so true. Right before writing this blog entry I almost made an impulse decision to send an email that right now didn’t need to be sent. If he emailed me I would be kind and respectful but I realized I cannot always be the first one to make the first move because that only ends up hurting. I took that time to think about what I was feeling. I thought about what I would feel once the email was sent. I was not and am not ready (and I do not want) to potentially feel sadness or hurt. I knew that I would be revisiting these feelings if I sent out that email and then I asked myself the question: What reaction do you want from this? BUT What reaction could you possibly get? I was not going to risk it. The anxiety and worry is not worth that. My gut feelings know me the best. As I stated before, my thoughts are always fleeting. As the writer, I ask you the reader to just think about this. I am not saying I am right (of course I think I am but I am far too respectful to shove that down someone’s throat) but just take a moment to think about what you are feeling and what you are feeling. Ask yourself how you have reacted in various situations. Were you reacting because of a moment of weakness? Were you reacting out of momentary anger? Were you reacting about something that was completely out of your control? I am sure you answered yes to all of these questions. I know I did when I reflected back. The thing is that we all are in control of our lives and our reactions-this has been my epiphany. I realized I could no longer blame outside sources for my problems and my reactions because I am in control of these things—even some of the hardest situations imaginable. I want to leave this entry with some passages from one of my favorite books-The Art of Happiness by The Dalai Lama. I have read this book twice and plan on reading it several more times throughout my life. It is not a religious rant. It is just a philosophy that is lived by many. I recommend it to everyone to at least read once. Not everyone will agree or love it the way I do but at least you will be able to say you open your mind to something different. I hope you enjoy :0)
All quotes from The Art of Happiness by The Dalai Lama
“If you can learn to develop patience and tolerance towards your enemies, then everything else becomes much easier-your compassion towards all others begins to flow naturally.”
“So, although you may not always be able to avoid difficult situations, you can modify the extent to which you suffer by how you choose to respond to the situation.”
“If we allow our regret to degenerate into excessive guilt, holding onto the memory of our past transgressions with continued self-blame and self-hatred, this serves no purpose other than to be a relentless source of self-punishment and self-induced suffering.”
“If we define our self-image in terms of what we used to look like or in terms of what we used to be able to do and can’t do now, it is a pretty safe bet that we won’t grow happier as we grow older. Sometimes, the more we try to hold on, the more grotesque and distorted life becomes.”
“The ability to shift perspective can be one of the most powerful and effective tools we have to help us cope with life’s daily problems.”
“When you are aware of your pain and suffering, it helps you to develop your capacity for empathy, the capacity that allows you to relate to other people’s feelings and suffering. This enhances your capacity for compassion towards others. So as an aid in helping us connect with others, it can be seen as having value.”