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I Get to Stop Struggling!

I feel like I could talk for days right now! I have a lot to say about what’s been going on today. I did some work on myself this morning and all the learning has prompted a lot of writing and sharing! I’m so glad tomorrow is podcast day! I can fit a lot into 30 minutes of blabbing! Maybe it’ll even go over time! Oh no!

Anyway, the title of tomorrow’s podcast is going to be “Life is Not an Unsupervised Toddler” because that’s what I’ve had the pleasure of learning and understanding today. It also led to a deeper understanding of myself and my responses to my experiences in the past.

You see, I only had two options because I’d put my power away. The first was to do nothing and the second was to be a stubborn bullheaded crazy person. Stubbornness, for a long time, was the only power I had. So I was on or I was off. I had one switch. When stubbornness wasn’t appropriate I would walk away from whatever was happening because I didn’t believe I could handle it any other way.

You can imagine the chaos and pain that led to. When I was confronted by my own stuff the stubbornness would become defensiveness and a need to be right. If I decided not to be stubborn, I would victimize myself and simply give in, which often didn’t work either because I was responding in a really victimized way. There was no balance, there were only extremes.

I kept the focus off of myself as much as I could because I was always okay with other people’s stuff. It was only my own that was triggering for me. I used blame as a way of keeping the focus off of myself. I didn’t know how to heal, I didn’t know what to heal, and I didn’t feel like I had permission to heal, so I just kept bouncing from problem to problem. The only choice I ever made was to be stubborn or not. When your choices are to be stubborn or do nothing, the options are quite limited.

It caused me to walk away from some things I didn’t want to walk away from. I felt so trapped and so scared to be in my own skin, that I just shrunk back into the walls. I’d run away as quickly as I could. Those things caused a lot of pain, a lot of heartaches, but they also resulted in a lot of healing. I had to figure out how to stand on my own. I had to figure out where the other options were. There had to be a better way than what I was doing. I just didn’t know what that was.

Taking my power back has meant realizing that I can let my guard down. I don’t have to sit around and wait for the next thing to happen. I can be okay in my own skin. Even if the next thing does happen, I can handle it. It’s this understanding that I’m truly actually okay, probably for the first time in my life. I have to say, it’s the most bizarre realization I think I’ve ever had. The reason it’s bizarre is that it doesn’t require me to do anything. I don’t have to try to be okay, I just am. I’ve never had that before.

It’s funny because that brought up the fear just now. What do you mean I don’t have to try? What do you mean I don’t have to bullnose my way through life? What do you mean I don’t have to protect myself? What do you mean I can handle it? I mean I can handle it, it’s okay, there’s nothing to guard, protect, or do. I mean there is nothing to be afraid of. The boogeyman isn’t going to suddenly jump out of the closet because I put my guard down. I don’t have to struggle.

But I want to struggle because the struggle is the only thing I’ve known. I don’t know how to not struggle. How does one not struggle? How do you just allow yourself to be okay?

I can pop out of this and recognize the identification with the struggle. Do you see it? The mind immediately wonders who it is if its’ not struggling. What do I do if I don’t have problems to make up or solve? Who am I without all this? Me, without all the struggle? What a novel concept!

The mind goes looking for an identity because it doesn’t have one if it isn’t what it knows. The truth is I don’t know who I am without the struggle. I’ve never been there. That’s the leap, that’s the cliff that I found. That’s f***ing scary! (Excuse my French.) I’m in a whole new place and I don’t know what to do with myself. The advice I keep getting is just to go enjoy my work and have fun with my life. To say that I’ve struggled to do that lately is an understatement! Struggling with not struggling is the ultimate dichotomy.

Releasing the need to fix, solve, guard, protect, watch over, babysit, and just generally try to control everything has not been easy. I’ve needed the bullheaded stubbornness to get through some of the leaps lately, like the one where I called my parents and told them about my career. That’s just straight-up bullheaded determination and drive. Used the right way as I did with that, it works. It allows me to move forward mostly unencumbered. But then with life happening this week, I couldn’t just drive through it, I actually had to do some more healing work. The obvious lesson here is about what to do when and how to know the difference.

The fun part of being human is that we’re likely to learn that difference the hard way. We get to hit the rocks, see what happens, and then use that as a reflection point to determine what we to do within ourselves. So, I got to hit the rocks and that’s what allowed me to realize what I needed to heal within myself.

If I get mad at myself for those things, I just keep myself there. I don’t allow myself to heal and I stay stuck. If I show myself some compassion, allow myself to be human, and take on the reflection that’s being shown to me, then I can move on. Making choices like this is what gives us the freedom to live our lives. This is how we learn to trust ourselves. We do, we try, we screw up, we heal, we try again until we figure it out. If you do it enough times, eventually it works out.

Understanding that failure or perceived failure is part of the learning experience, is how we stop arguing with our experience. It’s how we simply allow things to be what they are without the need to wish them into being different. Ultimately, that’s how we learn to be okay in our lives. That’s how we learn to stop struggling. That’s how we get okay. It’s not an easy process that I know for sure. It is, however, worth it for those that choose to take on the challenge.

Love to all.

Laura

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