Sometimes you need to observe someone else struggling in order to see your own. I have written before about my struggle with control. From seemingly insignificant things like the way a book is going to end or searching for spoilers to see if I want to see a movie to the feelings I experienced after a relationship ending, I was able to recognize that I struggle with control issues. There have been two recent situations that led to this blog post.
The first one involves someone else. I have become more aware of things as I travel on my own journey and that occasionally makes it easier to identify patterns other people have. It is easier to see people who are chasing perfection, it is easier to see people who are doing everything in their power to portray their lives in a way that is just not possible to sustain. We all have amazing productive days, we all have moments of brilliance, we also have as many if not more moments of not so amazing, completely unproductive days. There is nothing wrong with trying to stay positive but when you spend all of your energy showcasing perfect, what I now see is fear.
The second situation hits much closer to home. There have been a lot of news stories lately about situations happening on college campuses. Well, this week it happened at the college my girl child attends. Thankfully, in the end, false alarm, but there were a few hours where my emotions were nothing close to fine. I am aware that my daughter is starting her own life, being responsible, and that the perceived control I felt I had when she was under my roof, although probably a little delusional, still allowed me a certain measure of peace. This week, I had to face the reality that I do not have any control over my childs safety. All I felt was fear.
These two situations are only connected because they unfolded in an overlapping manner in my life. Sometimes, seemingly unconnected events come together to show you, to offer you a lesson, to provide clarity.
We are generally smart people, I like to think I am a pretty smart person, but I think we often (me) tend to focus on identifying, supporting and helping others. It is so much easier to do that then to turn the focus inside and return to the work of helping ourselves.
The first situation reminded me of how many years of my life I played small (another blog post), deep down I knew that I had no connection with myself, I truly didn’t know who I was. It took a long time to find the courage to figure that out (and like everything, is a work in progress), but I lived my life in fear and didn’t even know it. Although I never chased perfect, staying small is just the other side of that coin. When I made that connection, instead of being annoyed, the emotion morphed into empathy because now I just see the fear.
The second situation of feeling helpless reminded me that no matter how hard we try to have control, we don’t. This fear felt different, but in the end, I was terrified something might happen to my child & I had no way to protect her or stop it.
So, now I realize that when I feel that desire for control, there is some big fear going on. After my relationship ended, every insecurity resurfaced. No matter how much work I had done on myself, they don’t just disappear & when they found an opportunity, they came flooding back. I’m not good enough, they believe their life will be better without me in it, I’m not enough. If only….
I have said this before and it’s a safe bet I will say it again, it is about the recognition. The ability to recognize feelings, behaviors, negative thoughts about yourself, is vitally important. We are imperfect creatures and I don’t believe that anyone currently breathing is always, peaceful, positive, enlightened, (perfect).
I have made a conscious effort to be more positive and grateful. I pray and I believe in positive affirmations. I also get frustrated, cranky, feel put-upon, can be super lazy, judge other people & have issues with road rage.
So, I am trying to look beneath the surface more, and working to identify the fears. I have worked so hard to uncover and discover who I am, what I believe, who I want to be, and the type of people I want to surround myself with. These events appeared in my life to remind me that although fear doesn’t go away, if you stop paying attention, it takes you longer to realize you have been letting it win.
So, game on fear