Some people are afraid of what they might find if they try to analyze themselves too much, but you have to crawl into your wounds to discover where your fears are. Once the bleeding starts, the cleansing can begin. – Tori Amos
Introspection is a one way street for me. I either hate it or love it. But it is a necessary evil if we are meant to discover the insecurities which make us neurotic, depressed, or simply unable to handle the day.
Deepak Chopra once said, ““You must find the place inside yourself where nothing is impossible.” We are limited by our possibilities – drugs, alcohol, toxic relationships, insecurities, fears, self-sabotage etc. The list goes on. When we have failed ourselves, we question everything from our higher power to the sheets on our beds. It is a waltz that threatens to destroy us.
My biggest fear is reality – reality that I cannot change things and the inability to change the things which I loathe about myself. I know what it is like to pace about my problems and ignore them, hoping that things will go away. I have discovered two things; while we may be unable to master what life presents us, we can master our own emotions if we try hard enough. However, it is a difficult process.
Overthinking has introduced me into a self-analysis which has birthed a fear of myself in the sense that I am a flawed human being. I don’t want to be the bad person; no one does as a matter of fact. But the bitter pill that we swallow is that there are some things which we cannot change.
Everyone goes to a physician, therapist, or shrink in order to make sense of the chaos of their lives. You receive a diagnosis and suddenly you have a label that you can focus all your blame on. But, the fact of the matter is, no matter the label, we cannot escape our inner monologues perpetuating the cycle of self-blame. Self-denial is a like a candy which we suck on because we crave only the sweet side of life.
What ifs? We cling to that so many times. What if I did something else? What if I did something better? How can I change this? Imagine having an illness that will accompany you for the rest of your life. You can succumb to despair, allowing it to hollow you out and fill it with the resentments you foster for yourself and others. You can go one step further with your blame and immerse yourself in self-destruction. Self-destruction becomes an addiction, a natural panacea that anyone can use to cope with life.
It’s how many have learned to cope with the battlefield of life. The complicated process of self-anesthetizing is a drug that is more potent than opiates or stimulants. Escapism is not always a bad thing, but when utilized to the point to where one doesn’t want to deal with their problems anymore, it then becomes lethal. When things go bad in our lives, we often imagine a safer and calmer place in order to deal with trauma. The brain is a wonderful mechanism when it comes to dealing with stress.
The path of least resistance has always been the answer to many problems. But positive resistance also has its benefits.
Accept what you are, who you are, and what you will become. Surrender has always been the path towards enlightenment many say. I say become engaged. Become engaged with the path of bettering yourself. But there is no need to be overwhelmed. Sometimes it takes a setback to become something better. Adversity will always breed joy if you allow yourself to accept, but continue to engage with life. One memorable quote I will never forget from the band Garbage is “The trick is to keep breathing.” We must continue to breathe, to endeavor to find what we need. When we are able to cut away pieces of ourselves and begin to bleed can we truly see ourselves. Beneath the bleeding are our true selves and when we take the proactive step towards acceptance, then we can begin to heal. It's okay to run away from yourself for a little while, but a permanent vacation is futility. There are not enough flyer miles for which we can solve our problems. I am not advocating self-denial, but rather something that helps us deal with the miseries of life. It's okay to be still and to stop for a while. It's okay to fall apart sometimes. It's okay to be you.
View all problems as challenges. Look upon negativities that arise as opportunities to learn and to grow. Don't run from them, condemn yourself, or bury your burden in saintly silence. You have a problem? Great. More grist for the mill. Rejoice, dive in, and investigate.
- Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, Mindfulness in Plain English