Today’s blog is intensely personal, but worth sharing. When I am struggling with understanding something and I ask for help, I always get my answer. Sometimes a situation presents itself, not to be solved, but to show us something about ourselves that once we recognize, will shift our entire perception, and our ‘problems’ will suddenly melt away. You will encounter the same ‘problems’ over and over until you learn the lesson. Here’s how it was shown to me.
A few years ago, while living in Texas, I was faced with a situation that had me feeling very fearful and unsteady. My (now ex) husband had permanent physical damage from an accident that left him in constant pain. I can remember going to doctor after doctor with him, trying to understand the nature of the pain, and how to improve it. We tried several chirpractors as well. Because money was an issue, we were not able to go the alternative route, as insurance would not cover 99% of the treatments or office visits. He was fighting his own body and miserable. In order to keep his sanity he was working out regularly at the gym, pushing himself as far as he could, trying to gain some control over his body. What happened as a result? He ended up injuring his knee. I believe he had a torn ligament. You can only imagine his frustration when he could no longer work out the way he wanted to, and his cardio routine – running- would have come to a complete hault. In his eyes, it was yet one more limitation he had to live with. From my perspective I can tell you, living with someone in pain is difficult in and of itself, but throw in a defeatist attitude and my maximum tolerance was being stretched.
He didn’t express it in words so much as he did in actions, but he was feeling utterly hopeless. Being a fairly verbose individual, I was blind to a lot of the ways he did express himself, but I could tell he was getting more and more depressed based on his habits, which seemed to be more and more unhealthy, and self-punishing over time. He’d overeat, drink more than usual, and stay awake all night watching movies. More than once, I’d be sitting in our living room, and he’d come over to me, kneel down and wrap his arms around my waist, his face buried in my chest, and just sit there. My early reactions were of panic. How could this 6’4″ tall, big, strong man who is older than I am, lived all over the country, and lived through a very rough childhood be sitting here, asking me to be his Mommy? My thoughts raced- ” I can’t do that! I can’t take on the responsibility of being someone’s caretaker- I can’t even take care of myself!” I mean, here I was, I had moved 2,000 miles from home and anything I knew, got laid off from my job, working hourly as a massage therapist (and a poorly paid one at that), and was consciously holding onto my seams daily so I wouldn’t fall apart. This is where the lesson comes in.
The problem here wasn’t the actual problem. On the surface it looks as if the circumstances and our inability to overcome them was the core issue. It wasn’t. It was our judgements of the circumstances, and ourselves. We weren’t being defeated by life. We were being defeated by our programming.
As human beings, it is natural for each of us to look to one another for acceptance, reassurance, and love. I can see now, that I judged him as being weak, and I judged myself as being even more weak and helpless on top of that. I see now that as I held him in a loose embrace, giving him an awkward pat on his back, I was not giving him what he needed. Because I was judging him as being needy, and unable to handle himself, I was reinforcing his own fears. At the same time, I was judging and denying my nurturing, loving side (that I now like to call ‘Mommy’) as somehow giving in to a weakness. Let me make this clear. There is nothing wrong with needing love, and there is nothing wrong with giving love. I was making judgements based on what both of our actions meant, completely blinded by the obvious. I did not see the strength it took for him to show me that he was human and vulnerable. I did not appreciate the wall being let down. I did not understand that what I considered to be MY greatest weakness- my soft heart and sensitivity- were to be my greatest strength in this moment. I had judged him, and myself, and as a result both of us were sitting on the very resources we needed to get through the storm, but unwilling to see them as such.
A reassuring, strong embrace. A gentle stroke of the hair. The simple phrase, “it’s okay,” when someone is sure it is absolutely not okay. These things can move mountains on an emotional level. Every human being fears rejection of who they truly are. Every person out there knows what it’s like to feel they need to hide their emotions from the world. Even if this is essential to our survival at times, behind closed doors with the ones we love, those walls need to come down! Everyone deserves at least one person in life that sees past what others consider to be flaws, and accepts him or her in their entirety. This is what is called unconditional love. It’s not, “I will love and treat you well as long as you live up to my expectations.” That’s the complete opposite of love. Love isn’t logical. Love doesn’t keep score. Love isn’t selective about which of our qualities it will accept and which it will ignore or reject. Love always says, ‘yes.’ Love isn’t a judgement. Love isn’t disposable. Love should not be confined by our convenient little definitions. Without it, we would survive, but we would not live.
In all of our pain and rejection, there are lessons to be learned, if we can quiet our minds, allow our emotions to flow and connect to our inner selves. That is where our truth lives. To continually deny this to our selves is to live a life of misery, and it is not necessary!
I see now that although I judged my situation then, and even my divorce as defeat, they were great teachers. I cannot regret my journey. I do not wish to go back. Neither of those things make a difference in whether or not I learned something valuable. We are constantly learning. We only need to be aware of it.
Let go of your want to be in control and you will let go of your judgement. Let go of your judgement and you will see things in a new light. When you see things in a new light, new solutions will come to the surface and things will begin to make sense in a way you could not see before.
Namaste, and thank you for reading.