Right now the only relationship I can be in is with myself. And this is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s kind of what a big part of me has wanted. To be able to explore myself, my truest and most authentic wants, needs, and desires and have the freedom to make choices as I please.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still suffering from heartbreak but that’s something every human most go through. It’s not unique to me, it’s not unique to those with depression or BPD, it’s just part of the human condition. This time though, I’m not giving in and letting myself go backwards. Yes, I need time to grieve, but I think you can grieve and still move forward in your journey. That’s what I propose to do and that’s what you will see in this blog. Me learning to be the me I’m supposed to be, but doing it in healthy (read: safe, non-destructive ways).
I’ve also been thinking a lot about my business and all about the dreams I have to help people who have been through/are going through things that I’ve also suffered with. I’m trying to create things that I have tried and tested and that have been EFFECTIVE for me in my recovery so that I can share them with the world. A lot of me, most of me even, is COMPLETELY terrified of rejection, of people saying, “Your work is stupid” and “Find a real job.” I’m terrified that deep down, I have nothing to offer. Then again, fear is just a feeling and our brains fire off these types of feelings/thoughts that we don’t think we should have, but I really have very little power over what my brain decides to do. I do have the power to choose what to do with it though.
Fear has the tendency to paralyze me. It makes my inner child curl up in a ball inside me and rock back and forth, muttering “I’m not bad, I’m not bad, I’m not bad.”
Just “ignoring” or “letting go” of fear is hard to do, but I know sometimes it’s necessary. I know that I have to find some way to push beyond what is holding me back so that I can at least try to have the life I really want, the business I really want, and healthy relationships that I crave. There’s never a guarantee of success, but at least there is trying.
One of my biggest fears is that I’m a bad person because I have BPD, because I have mood swings, because I get angry sometimes.
I’m afraid no one will love me.
I’m afraid that I’ll never love myself.
I’m afraid that people think I’m stupid, weird, and an outcast.
I’m afraid of not being successful, however I choose to define success.
I’m afraid of constantly needing approval from others in order to feel good about myself.
And I’m afraid that if I am my true self, if I continue to be myself on this blog, to be honest and vulnerable, that people are going to think “I don’t want advice from her.”
A lot of times we forget that fears are just thoughts in our brains. Yes, they may have some basis in reality like, “If I don’t pay my rent I might be evicted,” but many of our other fears are based on our own insecurities, our upbringings, traumas, abuse, bullying, mean things that people have told us over and over.
In one of my trauma groups, the doctor running it kept saying
It’s not what’s wrong with YOU, it’s what’s wrong with what happened TO YOU!!!
Does this apply to every situation in life other than trauma/abuse? No, I don’t think it always does. I think it means that we take responsibility for our actions and behaviors, but that we don’t need to take responsibility for what others have done. We might have said something or done something that pushed a button of their’s, but THEY CHOOSE how to respond. Just like we CHOOSE OUR ACTIONS.
Sometimes, things get in the way of this. Like for example, if you have a mental illness. (By the way, I know most if not many people wouldn’t dare call themselves mentally ill or borderline or whatever. Why do I choose to do this? For me it’s validation that I’m not making this up, that I’m not attention-seeking. MI is a part of me, not everything, but a part that influences how I think and act, and I’m trying to work on how it impacts my behavior).
It’s a blurry line though: is someone responsible for what they say/do when they are manic? Or depressed? Or are having difficulty regulating their emotions because they have a disorder?
Do we blame the behavior or the disorder?
Do we blame the person or the disorder?
Do we blame all of the above?
These are difficult questions. They impact everything from daily lives of innocent people to trials of mass murderers. Things get fuzzy. They become difficult to discern.
I just ordered a book off of amazon called Self-Compassion by Dr. Kristin Neff, and I’m only a few pages in but it’s about cultivating self-compassion instead of self-esteem, which tells us that we must be the prettiest, smartest, wealthiest, best-dressed, thinnest person in order to feel good about ourselves. This is the way our culture views self-esteem. When we are compassionate towards ourselves, we are able to see both the positive and negative behaviors and mistakes we make and take care of ourselves, instead of beating ourselves up over our mistakes.
My biggest fear though is the belief that people don’t think I’m worthy to give advice because I still have my struggles.
I see blogs that started after mine and have 50 comments per post.
I see that most of these bloggers are runners.
I see that the popular blogs all have to do with food and exercise.
I’m not that type of blogger.
I talk about feelings and emotions and how to better myself. I talk about my struggles, my insecurities, my fears, my breakups, my vulnerabilities. I’m not perfect but it’s not about being perfect.
PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION!!!
I believe I still have things to offer the world, just like everyone else does. I’m no better and I am no worse. I’m not good and I’m not bad. I am.
In some of my philosophy classes we talked about not labeling things; not judging things, not even separating words because everything is one. All there is is oneness. Maybe I need to let go and be part of that oneness. I need to stop criticizing myself for every little thing I do and when I fuck up big time, I apologize if necessary, and I learn from it. Because we all fuck up, that’s just what humans do. We can’t be perfect all the time. We can’t never make mistakes. This is the human condition.
This picture was me on my way to Santorini. This picture was taken at about 6 am. I had not slept a wink the night before. I was up writing my own philosophical thoughts, mourning the loss of a relationship that never had a chance to be a real relationship, and I was about to embark on a trip of a lifetime with a roommate of mine, who to put it nicely, was not the nicest. (Side note: Going to Santorini without a lover is the most depressing thing..but it was still unbelievable). I want adventure. I need adventure. I need to acknowledge my fear and do things anyway, no matter how hard they might be.
Fear is a feeling and an important one. Like I’ve mentioned, it can keep us safe or it can keep us so protected that we don’t grow. The difficulty is discerning when to listen to it and obey it and when to acknowledge it and move forward anyway.
When we bring in self-compassion, we are able to tell ourselves that our mistakes and imperfections and even failures do not define us (Hello DBT!). But it’s true. No one in this world has not made a mistake. Absolutely no one. What needs to happen is a cultural shift (and although that is the ideal, perhaps an individual shift is more realistic) where self-esteem is not only reserved for those who are “the best” at any given time. The “best” always changes and this can make us feel insecure, lower our self-esteem, and have less compassion towards ourselves.
I’m going to be practicing lots of self-compassion this week. I plan to spend the day running a few errands, buying groceries, working on some freebie goodies for you all (so please check back!) and taking care of myself.
Wishing you all a rejuvenating weekend!