“As soon as people decide to confront a problem, they realize that they are far more capable than they thought they were.” -Paulo Coelho
I suppose that if you live long enough and/or do enough inner work, or if the factors-that-be fall into alignment, there comes a time when you no longer can hide from yourself. You lay down your shield of excuses, blame, delusion, etc. because you realize the opponents you thought existed outside of yourself were never the problem to begin with. The problem is inside, and you begin to see that ever so clearly. You recognize your patterns, without fumbling for explanations that justify them. You sit with yourself and admit, “I obviously have a problem with this.” And as you take a few deep breaths, and the fierce sting of shame subsides to some degree, a deeper knowing arises: That you now have an opportunity to stop repeating what has been holding you back for so long. You have a golden opportunity to get off the carousel and transform your life into something greater. It is not too late.
You realize there is no job, relationship, or other external condition that will provide abiding fulfillment. For a long time, perhaps, it has been easy to find fault and blame others for letting you down. People and situations disappoint you, again and again. Why? Because you were reaching into outer space for a star to fill you with light instead of opening to the magnificent light shining at your very core! There is no need to look outside of yourself – for you need to make peace with yourself. You need to muster up the courage to open the closet door, turn on the light, and see what’s been hiding in there. And ultimately, you realize you are so much bigger and more powerful than those gremlins you’ve been afraid to face all your life. Those creatures you’ve shoved into the closet in an attempt to convince yourself and others that they aren’t there.
Guess what? Everyone has (or has had) a closet like that. Shame has never served you.
You realize you cannot look anywhere outside of yourself for happiness, satisfaction, contentment, fulfillment, etc. It was your own responsibility all along, and any time you handed it over to another person, situation, or quick fix, you were only disempowering yourself. You were fooling yourself all along and putting far too much responsibility on other people and conditions. And that’s not fair to anyone, including yourself.
You realize the problem is not that you were overlooked, misunderstood, mistreated, or rejected by others. It was that your own sense of unworthiness was running the show and grabbing whatever disguises it could in order not to be noticed for what it really was. It pointed fingers outside so as to avoid attention and certain death (which it faces now that it has been exposed).
You realize your habit of competing against and/or comparing yourself to others has been counterproductive all along, and instead of helping you to improve yourself, it has been feeding your Inner Critic that has become the biggest, most ruthless bully you’ll ever face. A bully who employs allies to reinforce its belittling agenda and succeed in brainwashing you.
And then it becomes clear why you have agreed to so many compromises through the years: Because you don’t believe (or haven’t believed until now) that you are worthy of more.
Where did that message come from in the first place? Again, you’re tempted to look outside of yourself and make up stories. You become one helluva storyteller and believe in the reality of the fiction that you, yourself authored. You can get stuck in blame if you are not mindful.
You feel completely naked and vulnerable, like a hermit crab that has outgrown his old shell and slips out of it but has yet to find a larger, more suitable shell to inhabit. From the outside, it might look like you have lost your way, even lost your mind. But releasing yourself from a truth or a lifestyle that has become too small and confining is a step in the right direction, especially if you leave it lovingly and with plenty of compassion for all involved, including yourself.
You simply cannot find in “outer space” what you need to awaken to and cultivate inside your own skin. And you know what? Even though the shame of it all might sting and burn and make you question why you are even alive in the first place, beneath all that melodrama (in which the ego is fighting for its life) you realize you have arrived at the place where true freedom and empowerment begins. You are only feeling so much pain because you have gained awareness. You are experiencing growth pains!
You realize your tendency to compete with or compare yourself to others is unhealthy, and your neuroses and/or addictions (and yes, you do have some) are not your friends. They are the starving little gremlins in that dark closet that compel you to feed them or else. Or else what? Or else they will convince you that you are not enough and therefore are unworthy of true happiness and success. They have been brainwashing you into believing that what you want or need is outside, so run off and get it! (The starving gremlins need to be fed!) Go out and buy whatever costume you can find to impress others and focus their attention on the outer appearance that covers your inherent sense of unworthiness.
No, thank you. This delusion will no longer suffice. It is absurd.
So what does this all mean? Quite simply, in this moment, you have a choice: To continue beating yourself up or to inhale deeply a fresh, new, higher truth. When you finally realize what you are doing – the harm you are causing to yourself and others that you used to blame on factors outside of yourself – it becomes less possible to continue allowing it. Rather than wish for a savior, you resolve to take matters into your own hands and stop repeating self-destructive patterns. You resolve to adopt healthier habits, beginning with your own thoughts and self-talk, and when you notice yourself applying an emotional charge to a thought that arises, you look it square in the eyes and nip it in the bud – pull it up, roots and all.
From here forward, the only viable option is to tell yourself a new, more hopeful and less dramatic story and to seize the courage to live in alignment with your Higher Self – for that voice becomes stronger every day and finally overpowers the discordant howl of your lower nature.
You begin to trust that kinder, gentler voice and to have faith in the process. To unclench your life and be patient.
To be your own knight in shining armor.
© 2016 Susan Meyer. All rights reserved. To use any or all of this blog post, include this exactly: Susan Meyer (SusanTaraMeyer.com) is a photographer, writer, clutter coach, feng shui consultant, and mindfulness mentor whose work is infused with a deep interest in the nature of mind and appreciation of the natural world. She lives on the Hudson River in Upstate New York.