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Let Go of the Invisible Anchors Weighing You Down
Can you? Do you want to? Who would you be without your grief and resentments?
I’m going to set you free from the neurotic trappings of your own personal mental torture machine. It starts out a little bleak, but bear with me.
You are absolutely going to die. You don’t know when. After it occurs, every nightmare thing you fear—every misrepresentation of your life and your truth and your essence—will occur.
Right now, in fact, a distortion of who you are is likely occurring, somewhere out there in the world, and it would sicken and thrill you to hear it if you could.
It’s out of your hands. All of it. Permanently and forever.
No manner of frenzied attempts to take control could prevent these grievous slights against your character, and that’s what is truly so revolutionary about realizing the sheer and total futility of trying to curate perfection.
Because: you can’t. Ever.
Related to all of this: fuck. it.
Scream it from the rooftops if you have to.
You have one job in this life. You.
The only concern you ever need to have is if you feel good about who you are and what you do and if you have done your absolute best which I’m here to promise you, I know you have.
When the dull ache of some deep almost preverbal rejection turns your stomach inside out, observe how obsessing over it serves you. Does it make you feel stronger? Does meditating on it to the point of feeling like you’re driving yourself insane seem beneficial? It doesn’t, does it?
I’d invite you to change the narrative.
And your new narrative is that all the love and validation you wish others would shower down upon you—because, honestly, don’t we all—is all within your possession already. You just need to be the one to decide you’re worthy of unlocking it. Not the husband or the dad or the ex or the boyfriend or the butcher or the baker. That joyous feeling of freedom and bliss that occurs when a wonderful thing happens to you—who do you think created that emotion within you? Do you think it was your next-door neighbor? What about your dental hygienist? Was it Biden? No, friend. It was you. You did that. You are the one with all the power, always. You could do it even right now…think about some wondrous accomplishment you’ve done (even staying alive during the pandemic) and just flood yourself with an almost-full-blast firehose of appreciation and love and awe.
You. Not someone else is doing that positive emotion and self-belief creation. That’s all you.
Do you sometimes actively lift others up in the hopes they will do the same for you even when your core instinct tells you it’s obviously not going to happen in any consistent way and so you end up feeling drained and devastated and demoralized because you keep repeating the same patterns that leave you feeling weak and enraged?
It sucks, but it’s also likely not even personal in the least, and you might even learn to eventually see the dynamic completely unemotionally. If it helps: Put yourself in the other’s shoes. A predator may see your behavior as a mark. A hunter may see a weaker animal to bat around. It’s not personal for them so stop wanting a cheetah to be a kitten. And stop collaborating with their designs. Don’t set yourself up like that. You decide if others are worthy of your vulnerability and care—not the other way around. You are the precious cargo here, and you’re the only one who can take care of it.
It’s exhilarating, isn’t it? Seeing the almost incomprehensible scope of power inherent in HAVING AGENCY?
Lift yourself up first. Lift yourself up first. It’s the hardest thing in the world to break a pattern but lift yourself up first. You don’t need to be there for others on a spec-work kind of contract. You don’t do spec work, baby! Invest all of that goodwill into yourself or into a guaranteed returner of positive regard. Break the cycle. Just break it. Fuck it. Do it. Today doesn’t have to be like yesterday. All your beautiful brilliant mistakes have led you to this new moment of grace. Grab it. Seize it. Be alive.
Use this little equation I really like to take care of yourself. Grant yourself 5 positive things to counteract the pinch of every 1 negative thing equation as a means of taking the remarkable kind of care of yourself that you wish others would do (it’s an equation derived from an old Gottman Institute interview about the sanctity of marriage on This American Life). Actively bestow yourself five kindnesses for every one hard thing you’re contending with, including a difficult person or situation. Be brutal about following through on your kindnesses, too. Humans are more like computers than we realize, I think, and we have to actually learn how to program ourselves with resilience, self-compassion and advocacy. Dealing with a vampire or a vampiric situation? That means you have to—you have to—give yourself five extreme kindnesses to support and protect your heart. Maybe it’s dancing to your favorite song. Maybe it’s writing in a diary that makes your whole self feel connected. Maybe it’s drawing a picture that represents your feelings and centers your precious sensitive heart. Maybe it’s reality shows and a treadmill. You are doing this for you.
You’ll see what I mean soon enough.
When adversity and rejection and cruelty hit, you’ll be a well-nourished and well-prepared and well-trained fighter for yourself. You’ll be so well-nourished in fact that you’ll be like that giant giant in Game of Thrones who looks at the swords and daggers thrown at him by humans, chuckles absent-mindedly at the momentary inconvenience, and flings them off as he continues on his great hero’s journey.
Stop making other people the hero.
It’s you. It’s always been you.