Sunday, February 17, 2019

It's Gotta Come From Me

It’ been a rough ride getting here, Invisible Audience. There have been a lot of twists and turns, ups and downs and detours to get to where I am today. For better or for worse, I’ve realized something important: all the major changes I’ve made in my life have only come after I let go of what others thought I should do. They came when I did what felt like the right thing for me.

It comes at us from all sides now, at all times: DRINK THIS AND BE THIN! DO THIS AND BE HAPPY FOREVER! CHECK YOUR FACEBOOK LIKES NOW! YOU’VE GOT MAIL! SOMEONE’S CALLING! BUY THIS! DON’T DO THAT! 

It’s exhausting sometimes trying to keep up with all the messages handed to me on a regular basis, although I have to admit it used to be a lot worse. Not all that long ago, I found it hard to discount someone’s opinion or idea if they shared it with conviction, even if it didn’t ring true for me. If they were willing to argue vehemently about their opinion, I’d simply shut down, unable to find my way to my own truth in the moment. Well, actually that part hasn’t changed, but the way I look at it is a bit different. I have learned that I’m not great at coming to terms with what I think in the moment, and especially not during an argument. I want time to mull over what I think first; I also need some time by myself to decide whether or not what I heard makes sense to me. And ultimately, when it comes to my self-care, it has to come from me or it’s just not gonna take in any kind of lasting way.

I’m not saying I don’t seek advice or find it helpful. I’m not saying I have it all figured out. But I’ve figured out that just because someone raves that something worked for them doesn’t mean it’s going to work for me, and – this is really important, Invisible Audience – that’s ok. I am not less of a person if that one diet, religion, healing modality, mindfulness practice, friend, pet, skin cream, exercise routine, sex position or whatever other possible thing does not become my thing.

I used to think I’d write a self-help book one day. In fact, I think one of the reasons I’ve found it so hard to write these past several years was because I thought I was supposed to take all the things I’ve learned and share them with others in a way that would make them feel better: that I needed to make a bulleted list of things I did and tell readers how doing those things has made my life better. Well, I finally came to terms with something, Invisible Audience: most self-help books make me feel like they can only help me if I follow them to the letter, and following anythingto the letter has never worked for me. It’s because whatever author hasn’t lived my situations, or dealt with my own personal phobias and idiosyncrasies.

I recently had a conversation with a friend who told me that there’s now some research that suggests that religious people are more likely to have religious children, and not just because they’re exposed to religion as they’re growing up. It was more that some people are better with/get more from/find solace in/enjoy the rituals related to dogma. I started to think about it.  I realized that I know a lot of people that are very dogmatic about something in their lives, even if it’s not religion. I live in a mountain town, and there are plenty of people here dogmatic about outdoor recreation. I have a lot of friends in the healing arts, and many of them are dogmatic about the healing modalities that work for them. I know several people dogmatic about their eating habits. Even though there are several things that I could probably call my own personal dogma, I’ve also realized that in general dogma is a scary thing to me. Mostly, I’ve realized that I get uneasy anytime anyonesuggests that their way is the right way, regardless of what that thing actually is, and especially if amazing results would be available to me if I could just do xyz within a certain timeframe that they’ve decided on.

It’s gotta work for me, personally, Invisible Audience, and let’s be real: most of it doesn’t. For a long time, I would use the fact that the Acme Magic Life Changer I had just tried had failed as a sign that I had failed, too. I wasn’t dedicated enough; disciplined enough; strong enough; I didn’t want it badly enough. Well, it’s not true. I am actually a pretty dedicated person; I can and have made lasting changes in my life. And when I take the idea out of it that I have to follow someone else’s rules to get there, suddenly it’s not so painful anymore. Suddenly, I can make more headway than if I were following someone else’s agenda.

Now, I treat anything new like a new piece of food someone slipped onto my plate. I get to study it; sniff it; take a taste if I’m interested. If I don’t feel like eating it, I don’t have to. If I take a bite and don’t want anymore, that’s ok too. If I gobble it down, but then feel sick, I get to make a choice on whether I ever want to eat it again. If it takes several more tries to decide either way, that’s ok, too.

Love From Me Kisses,
Morgan