Yesterday I was talking to a friend. In our conversation she felt she needed to challenge me on something. She felt that while I said I understood why people might not be inclined to act on my behalf, she wasn't sure she agreed. She felt that I was angry at them, and if I was angry, then I couldn't be understanding.
For a minute, I paused. Was she right? I didn't think she was right. But I gave it a minute before I answered. What I wound up telling her was that I wasn't angry at "them." I was angry and frustrated about my situation. I was angry and frustrated that - despite everything I have done - I couldn't seem to help myself. I was angry and frustrated that I couldn't seem to convey what I wanted and needed to - not just for, and about me, but also about how what I felt really suited a much bigger picture - one that transcended me and my circumstances.
She was right that I was angry. But I was angry only at myself.
Today I have been thinking about this even more. Angry at myself. I didn't really think about it this exact, and blunt way, until that conversation yesterday. And I am not sure it even really hit me that the words I was saying translated that way.
I am angry at myself for letting people down in the past. Even total strangers. I am angry at myself for seeing people in need and feeling sorry for them, "sending love," or even ignoring them when I could have more actively engaged in helping them through their challenge. They needed help and I, a person who said she cares/cared about other people, let myself off the hook with "can't." If I couldn't, people would understand, and I would have alleviated any guilt I might have had about not doing anything of an practical, tangible nature.
I am angry at myself that I couldn't see past the veil that clouded my view. It was so much a part of who I was, I couldn't take it off. I didn't even know it was there to take it off. That means I shouldn't really be angry, I really should be more compassionate. I imagine I will get there, but for the moment I AM angry.
I even told myself I was helping, after all there were some people I tried to help. But did I actually do all that much? Maybe I tweeted a few things a few times. I also spent my time doing other things I thought would be helpful to people, so it was OK if I didn't do these other things, right?
I am sitting here, so unsettled. As I think about how people act with me, I have noticed many times in the last couple of years how they are as I once was. I kept wondering what I was supposed to get from noticing that. I think (I hope) that maybe I have finally got "it." Maybe I was supposed to see that they were me so that I could also see the anger I had built up inside about how I was in relation to others who needed help. I needed to see where my contradictions were. I needed to see this ucky mess that is sitting inside of me. I needed to get to the point of not only acknowledging the anger, but deal with it.
I am really sad right now. So many missed opportunities. I have been reading that when we hold back, we miss out on good things that come along with reaching out. How much have I deprived myself of over the years while I was holding back?
In speaking with my friend, I also realized that there are times I wish someone had come along and shook me out of where I was. I wish someone had awakened me to what I now am aware of. I see how something that might seem small, isolated, and not a big deal can translate in much bigger ways in my life. The way I looked at things in "this" regard affected so many other things. "Can't" is such an easy, and safe, cop out, and it cost me more than I may ever know.
I am now so much more aware of the idea that there is "can't," and there is "won't." And these days, I am willing to say won't. There is a power in being able to say won't. It is a conscious choice. I know something will cost me, and it is not worth the cost so I won't do it.
I am so much more aware of the fact that can't is often used, but more often than not is inaccurate. Making matters worse, most people and circumstances allow us to use this cop out. If we don't let others get away with it, then we won't get away with it either.
When you use "won't," though, you run the risk of being judged. Why won't you? It invites feelings many don't want to touch. It invites unwelcome conversations. It rocks the boat. And let's never rock the boat.
As I thought about how I wished someone could have come along and got me out of where I was, I realized that that is what I want to do desperately with other people. Maybe it is some weird way of me trying to awaken that part of me of the past. Maybe it is the part of me that wants to shake that person I once was into awareness, and tell her how damn important it is to understand these things.
I wonder if I am projecting on "you" who I once was. I found myself wondering who the hell I was to try to tell anyone anything? Do I really know better about something? Am I "right," and everyone else wrong? Was I wrong?
I certainly have made myself wrong for how I was. If I am projecting, I am likely doing the same with others, too. And if that has been the case, I am really sorry. I am sorry for taking stuff out on you that was likely really meant for me.
At the same time, I really do think that this is something that is still bigger than me, and that there is a much bigger picture that does affect others, and the world-at-large. Maybe now that I see what I do, maybe I can come at it a different way. Maybe I can be different. Say things differently. Maybe.
I don't know that we can separate out our stuff from others totally. We seem to share way too much at the core, so maybe there is something about all of this that has a greater benefit in some way.
I have often said that it is important to allow feelings, as they get released more easily that way. Well. After writing this, I feel a lot less angry, a lot less sad, and I might even dare say, optimistic about what might be able to come next.
I so often say that I am not perfect. I know I have my blind spots. But since they are blind, you don't know what they are until they hit you. I am just doing the best I can at any given moment - just like anyone else does.
It would be really nice if we could give each other the room to be without it having to become an issue unto itself. My friend said she sometimes gets hesitant to bring things up with me. I asked her why. After all, she is one of the people I think I can talk to the easiest these days. She recognizes that there are times that the things she says aren't always helpful - at least not in the moment, and explained that it was more about how she felt than my reaction to what she says.
I was concerned, as I think we often are able to talk about pretty much anything. Was I missing something? I actually thanked her for challenging me. I think she thought it was for a different reason, and there might be a different outcome. However, she took the time to understand where I was, and what I was feeling, instead of holding onto what she thought.
I was/am incredibly grateful when people are willing to hear me out. I told her that I have a harder time with those who think they know stuff about me and my situation than those who are willing to ask questions, and talk to me about things - and are willing to allow for where I am, instead of assuming I am some place else.
I can't possibly convey all of me through my blog posts. I wish I could. But I can't. None of us can convey who we are, why we are, what we are about in the many snippets of interactions we have with anyone - even those we think we know. There are things about ourselves we aren't even aware of, or understand. So I can't convey all of me, in part, because I don't even know all of me.
All we can do is continue to live, and continue to interact with life, and dance with the things that show up, and allow them - and ourselves - to morph and to grow. The minute we think we know something is the minute we stop growing. Maybe I need to stop making statements about things, and start asking more questions.
At the same time, I am still acutely aware that I need to be willing to claim how I feel in the moment, and that isn't necessarily a question. As a matter of fact, I think a question in a situation like that almost removes me from feeling whatever I am questioning.
I don't know what the "answer" is, but I feel like something may have shifted/changed. The book I am reading about "letting go" says that once we have dealt with the emotion of something, we tend to stop being aware of it. There are times I go back and read something, and I feel removed from it, even forgot I wrote it. I can see the "truth" of that statement.
I guess time will tell as I keep going forward.
Lots of Love to you.
PS I still very much need help, and would appreciate yours. If you can help, please visit Heartsgiving.com on ways you can help, thanks.