Man, I sure can be! It seems that with particular setbacks, which of course we all have, at times I can descend into total self-pity. And we all know where that leads!
Not everything works out. Now I know, that’s not a news flash. But when you’re in the arena, you’re gonna have wins and losses. Again, no news flash there. So why is it that when the losses come, sometimes I question everything. I mean, every blessed thing. Including self-worth. Which is just insane. And that stinking why question always has the same result: I am depressed.
The worst part of course is that descending into self-pity brings a vicious cycle where all you see is the negative. And that breeds more negativity. Which brings more opportunities to experience bad stuff. And then you beat yourself up for dumping more crap down onto your head.
Now, that’s a recipe for insanity. And in some cases, disaster!
But of course I, anyway, have to go through it to get through it. Once I’m down in the hole, I have to dig until I finally realize step one to getting out is to stop digging. Duh. But, real.
I read and listen to spiritual masters who say that eventually, you can see the lesson in some awful trauma while you’re in it, rather than in hindsight. And while I ‘get’ that intellectually, and aspire to it, I’m not there. And I don’t know these people personally, so can only take their word that they can actually do this. I suspect, however, that they, too, are true flesh-and-blood humans, who descend into despair like the rest of us. Only we don’t see them do it. And I know so many men, anyway, who once the anger or sadness or whatever is finished, gloss it over as if it never happened. But that’s a different story!
And, not the point. The point is that they do come out of it. Battered and bloody, perhaps, but wiser and ready to go onward nonetheless.
Self-love isn’t about being perfect. None of us but Jesus and Buddha reached perfection, and they’re mythical figures at this point. And even they had lapses of humanity . . .
But they held the line. After the anger or sorrow, they let grace—whatever they experienced that to be—lift them back up. And I can too.
I do sometimes learn from others, although usually I have to experience insanity for myself. I’m actually fairly accomplished at this (just ask my friends!) But even those folks who decide not to enter the field of play don’t get a pass. Because real life will get ya now and then anyway. What an odd incarnation this can be!
But after getting knocked down, being bruised and even feeling broken, humans stand up again. To ‘carry on’ is in our DNA. And I am getting better at stopping the self-flagellation for my choices, learning from them, and taking that next step.
I’m so fond of the Teddy Roosevelt quote: “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”
Gotta love that Teddy. He truly experienced boatloads of both. And so have I, as so have you.
So, how do you go from being your own enemy to instead being your advocate and friend?