Friday, April 18, 2014

Impressing Myself

I've been trying to use this break from Pete as an opportunity to really improve myself. I'm trying to be more positive, more mindful, more aware. I'm trying to get better at forgiving myself if I slip up.

That's something my therapist and I talked about a lot in our last session. It's also something I'm reading about in the book, "Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change." The concept that anger is often drawn out because we either cling to it and dwell on it or we repress it. Something that should only last a few minutes can last for hours or longer. For example, if someone cuts me off I am probably going to feel annoyed. However, what I want to stop doing is holding on to that annoyance so it turns into rage and ruins my whole day.

Forgiving one's self is important in being mindful, and I often have difficulty with it. I'm so caught up in getting validations and approval from other people that I forget the only person's approval that should really matter is my own.

The first of the Buddhist vows is the, "Pratimoksha Vow". It's a commitment to doing our best to not cause harm with our actions or words or thoughts, a commitment to being good to one another. I'm really try to commit to this, but also forgive myself if/when I slip up. It takes practice, and for someone like me it can be a little harder. Because of my disorder I have to try extra hard, I have to practice more.

I am, at the core, a very good person. I am kind, compassionate, and I would never intentionally hurt someone. Even when I do it unintentionally I feel a great deal of shame and guilt. It's those times I must love and forgive myself most. If I am committing to this vow, I must also include myself. This means no putting myself down, no hating myself for making a mistake.

I was talking to a friend today, and I expressed that part of me feels the only reason I am doing so well is because I know I am going to see Pete again in a few weeks. If I didn't know when I'd see him again or if he simply cut me out of his life, would I be doing as well? I don't know because I am not in that situation. I can only speak to the one I am in now.

Here is what I realized; When he started the break I had choices. I could have said to myself, "Well, I'm going to see him in  month so I'll just spend every day doing nothing and just waiting for that day." I could have refused and spent every day calling and texting him. I could done everything I'm doing, but also updated him about everything.

The fact is I'm not. I'm doing all this stuff and I haven't called or texted him once. Do I miss him? Of course I do. Does part of me get excited to share how well I'm doing? I'm not going to lie, yes. But there is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with wanting to impress the people you love. Just as long as it's not your only reason. It's okay for me to be impressed with myself, but no one else is. What's not okay is everyone but yourself being impressed with you.

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