“Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day.” Author unknown. I found this quote earlier today while searching for inspirational quotes that might help me put recent events in perspective.
On my journey to discover my authentic self, I’ve chosen blogging to help sort out my feelings and emotions. It’s been cathartic to write all kinds of things. It makes me happy. It helps me think. Mostly it helps me reflect.
My preference is to maintain a positive focus when writing. You know, the power of positive thinking and all that other good stuff? After all, why dwell on what isn’t, what wasn’t or what could have been? Happiness is a state of mind, an inside job. I choose happiness. Except for this week.
This week happiness is fleeting. If I speak truth to myself, I must admit that I’m tired. I haven’t smiled as much the last few days. I am not depressed, nor am I upset. I am not frustrated or angry. I am not disappointed. I experienced all of those emotions at different times over the last couple of weeks. I also experienced joy and happiness. But there was more of the former and less of the latter. And, now, in this moment, I am pensive. A long time ago, I started but never completed a book by Thomas Moore entitled, “Care of the Soul.” The one thing that sticks in my mind is his idea of us accepting the full range of our emotions; that true soul work includes feeling down or depressed at various times. It’s like the adage about not recognizing joy if you never experience sorrow. I think I may pick that book up again and finish it this time.
So, tonight I give myself permission to own my feelings, whatever they may be. Here’s what I am feeling tonight as I write. My lifelong need for approval is exhausting me! I want to hit myself every time I ask someone, “what do you think?” I want to speak my truth, whatever it may be and not fear exclusion or judgment. I want to stop waffling, telling others what I think they want to hear. I don’t want to be obstinate, stubborn, disrespectful or ignorant. I want to have the courage of my convictions.
Funny thing about when I am feeling unhappy. It’s a slippery slope to self loathing. It’s not just one thing I don’t like about myself; it’s numerous things. It becomes too much heavy lifting. I don’t know how or where to start. So I don’t pay attention to the feeling. I wait until it passes. Eventually, I convince myself it’s not a big deal and I get back to a happy state. I want to stop that way of thinking. I must stop that way of thinking.
It’s not just about approval. It’s also about self-discipline. I am not good with Scripture, but I remember a passage from Galatians (5:22-23) that I love, even though I struggle to follow its wisdom:
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
The words patience, gentleness and self-control haunt me. It’s the belief that I can enjoy the fruit of the Spirit that eludes me. It’s the struggle to believe in myself, to accept myself.
Author Gail Sheehy writes about passages. Mom died just before I turned 59. Admittedly, I struggled for months after she died. It may have been part of the reason the passage from my fifties to my sixties was difficult. I wrestle with the scary notion that I am in Act III of my life. I question my faith. I want to understand my legacy. Yet, I must give myself the benefit of hoping there are many years left to continue my self discovery.
So what was the purpose of the opening quote, cliché as it may be? It’s a reminder for me that it’s not all good and not all bad. It’s a little of everything. It’s a gentler way to let myself know that I can be happy one minute and unhappy the next. It is within my power to choose how I want to be. I just don’t have to beat myself up about it. Patience….gentleness….self-control.