Being honest with myself is one of the hardest things in the world. Admitting every “flaw,” every “failure” and being truly honest about where I’m at emotionally, mentally and physically is the tallest order I can imagine. This is in part because I’m not quite sure what my definitions of flaws and failures are. I am sure there are inherited and assumed definitions of those things floating around inside my brain, sneakily giving me bad feelings about the things I do or don’t do. So then I have to identify first that I have some bad feelings. Then I have to figure out what they are about. Then I have to figure out if they are relevant or just those old expectations hanging on. That’s very, very hard for me, not because the process of determining relevance is difficult, but because accepting that I may have allowed myself to experience irrelevant feelings of guilt, shame, obligation and the like seems like a flaw in and of itself and therefore makes me feel guilt and shame.
You’d think I’d be thrilled that I can dump those irrelevant, inherited feelings in the trash and get on with my self-evaluation. Instead, I perceive experiencing irrelevant feelings of guilt, shame, obligation and the like as a flaw in and of itself. The irony is not lost on me. The cycle is vicious.
So, currently, I’m trying to be kind to myself. To accept that the world is full of cultural, societal, religious, political and many more types of expectations and norms. Of course it’s hard for me to tune them out and hone in on what matters to me! And I’ve formed habits around the expectations of others, I’ve allowed the expectations of others to become my own and to define my habits. And you know what? I did that when I was kid. We all did! Why am I ashamed over what was really me just trying to be a good kid? I don’t know, but I’m trying to let go of shame. I’m trying to let go of guilt. I’m trying to untie these anchors that are attached to me, but gosh darn it if I don’t sit down and have a good cry over the fact that I tied these knots in the first place. Moving forward, instead of being mad and having an angry cry, I’m going to try to show some compassion. Relax my standards. Breathe. Move forward without judging the past. Having a ton of compassion for the little girl who wanted to be good, and having compassion for the adult me that inherited her flawed ways of thinking. There’s nothing to feel bad about. There’s just some important work toward self-honesty and self-care to be done.
And so, like many others out there, I’ll do the work.