Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Day 51: Malleable

I had another therapy appointment this morning.

As is pretty much always the case, I told him what's been going on lately, what I've been thinking about, what's troubling me, etc.  And then he asks questions.  I answer him there, of course, but then I leave his office and I really process everything we talked about and things start to fall into place.

Unfortunately for you, I'm struggling to make today's "aha moment" coherent, which is a part of why I'm typing this post--in the hopes it will help me to sort things out.

So, this morning, among other topics, I shared with him the thought and feelings expressed in my recent post.  About being that misfit puzzle piece.

And here's what came together in my mind during my conversation with him, and as I've mulled it over in my brain since--I was wrong.  We are not puzzle pieces.

Because puzzle pieces are fixed.  They don't get to change shape, or adapt in any way.  And people aren't like that.

People are malleable.

So, there goes my metaphor.

But, that's okay.  Because the part I'm figuring out leaves more room for hope and optimism.  So, here goes:

A big part of my problem has been this issue of trying to be perfect, in part to gain acceptance and approval of everyone around me.  But, since I never gave either of those things to myself, I couldn't accept that anyone else would either.  Not if they really knew me.  So, I discounted everyone who seemed to like me and think I was great.  Which makes it easy to see why I've felt like an outsider for so long.

Then, everything blew up and I realized that I had to make total and complete changes in my life in order to find a way to live with my mental illness.

And I think I've just over-corrected my behavior.  Now, instead of needing everyone's approval, I've disconnected from everyone.  I think I feel distant from everyone because I don't know how to relate to others without seeking for their approval.  And I don't want to fall back into that mindset.

There's so much of the superficial in our day-to-day conversations.  And I'm really good at faking through all of that and pretending like I'm fine and everything is perfect.  And I'm afraid of that, too.

So, it's just easier to avoid almost everyone.  Besides a very select few who I believe to be 100% genuine.  Down to earth and honest.  People who don't make apologies or excuses for who they are and don't expect me to be anyone other than myself either.

It's been interesting to me to see how I've been drawn to these people over the past couple of weeks without being consciously aware of why at the time.  Because they aren't the people I usually gravitate to.  But, if they've been surprised, they haven't expressed it.  They've just been kind and accepting.

I'm so grateful and glad for people like that.

I hope to someday be that comfortable with who I am and with who others are that I can be that way too.

And that is the point in all of this.  I think.  Because, as I grow more comfortable with who I am--the right way--not the "trying to be perfect" way--I can also grow more comfortable with who those around me are and to give permission to myself and to them to just be.

And, I think, I won't need the external approval because having my approval and that of my Father in Heaven is enough.

I know that's all part of the process.  And that is something that most, if not all, of us are working on--mental illness or not.

And here is how we all fit together.  Not like puzzle pieces at all.  But building on and supporting one another as we go and as we grow.  These kids (and HH) took many many attempts at building this pyramid.  They had to try different strategies and strengthen weak spots, and every time they fell down, they got back up and tried again.

And you know what--they never really succeeded in getting everyone in that pyramid.  But they tried.  And they all had a good time.  And I think that even those who didn't quite make it to the top, still felt included and a part of the team (of course, they were the youngest and not really sure of what was going on... but, I don't know how to make that aspect applicable. :)).

So, it's going to take time to correct my "over-correction" and find that happy medium.  But, I will.


Nikki said...

Hi, Cheryl, this is a really insightful post. You describe grace beautifully here. Like, giving yourself grace and accepting grace. You are super intelligent and I appreciate your willingness to share that on your blogs. Hugs.

Linda said...

Another great analogy for me to learn from. I love you!