I have been struggling with this entry, wanting to write about what is stirring inside me, but finding that so far my efforts to express things come across as negative and maybe even a little bit whiny. Which is frustrating, because the way I feel is anything but that...
I will try to take a step by step approach...
I have been struggling with certain relationships in my life, and many of these struggles have existed in no small part because of my own fears - fears about loss, abandonment, betrayal. I recognize that these fears are not necessarily rational but they exist for very real reasons, having grown from the roots of experiences where I have, in fact, been abandoned and been betrayed.
Thanks to a fortuitous swirling of events, conversations and revelations over the past many days, I have been able to wipe the muck off a window that is giving me the perspective I needed most - the one that has shown me how much freedom and power I have to stay centered in my own strength even in the midst of these relationship struggles.
The keys: to rise above fears - my own and anyone else's - as much as I can and to avoid taking things personally.
In one relationship in particular, I have learned that our biggest problems have not been based on anything real, but were instead created and nurtured by a laundry list of fears. Fears that each of us carried with us and fears that others in our vicinity were able to throw into the mix because we allowed it. It is as if we had all shared the same belief that we each exist in a tiny, dark room apart from one another, but the truth is that we are all sitting in a wide open field of lavender and gold, where we all want - and can have - exactly what we desire, and these desires are the same for all of us. We all want to be close. We all want to feel safe. We all want to be connected.
And we are all afraid.
And we will probably always have to deal with these fears, and those fears will most likely continue to get in our way from time to time.
But as much as I can, my commitment now is to have compassion for those fears rather than disdain, to recognize that they are soft spots in our hearts rather than walls around them. They are places that have the greatest capacity for growth, because if we can help one another move beyond these fears and replace them with greater levels of trust, we are truly moving to a sacred existence where love is the strongest guiding force.
As far as not taking things personally - a mantra I learned from The Four Agreements - I have come to realize how terribly quickly I often allow myself to get wrapped up in the fears, struggles, happiness and unhappiness of those around me, and that somewhere along the line I also decided that my accomplishments, passions, successes and joys weren't real unless certain people acknowledged, appreciated and celebrated them. As if I was holding a beautiful bouquet of flowers that I had grown and I loved, but because they weren't seen by certain people I suddenly believed they were actually wilted and smelly. I write that and cringe, seeing so clearly how much of my power I was giving away all too willingly. (Why? Fear.)
The worth of what I do with my life - my friends, my creative work, my travel, my passions, desires, dreams and values - should not be dependent upon the approval of anyone. I do not serve myself or the rest of the world by allowing someone else's stamp of validation to determine whether or not I am living a positive, inspiring, meaningful life. That should only come from within, and the more I allow my self-worth to hinge upon specific reactions and acknowledgements of others, the more I risk losing myself.
I do not live in a vacuum and I obviously put my work, my beliefs and my efforts out in the world in the hopes of making a positive difference, and it only makes sense that the more positive reinforcement I receive, the more I am motivated to continue making the efforts I'm making. Of course I want what I do to be acknowledged, appreciated and celebrated, especially by those I love, admire and respect the most. But sometimes - for reasons that have nothing to do with me - people can't always express what I want them to express or give me what I long for in terms of acknowledgement, and it is in those moments when they just might be too consumed with their own struggles and questions to notice who I am and what I do that I have to be able to turn to my own source of strength and self-worth, a source that must exist solely within me.
These are delicate areas through which to maneuver, to be certain, but I feel the wings on my back expanding as I allow for the greatest possible vision for myself and the relationships I care about most. The more I believe in my own self-worth, the more love and energy I have to give to others; the more compassion I have for my own fears the more I can offer to those I love. The more I trust in that wide open field where we can all have exactly what we want, the farther I can fly, the higher I can rise above all these little problems that will only pull me to the ground if I let them.