on…becoming whole

I started writing this post just over a week ago, when I felt like I was finally getting myself into a good place. I felt I was finally feeling happy with myself, and understanding not only who I am, but how I fit into and work in this world.

Over the last week or so, a few things have happened which have rather knocked the wind out of my sails. I’ve had some set-backs at work which have left me bruised and anxious. I’ve also allowed self-doubt, worry and self-loathing build to levels which have left me questioning my purpose and paranoid to the point of panic attacks.

It’s interesting then to re-visit this and share it with you. What was going to be my recipe for how I finally figured out how to fix myself, has become a reflection on another set of disappointments.

It is still a recipe, but one that I must now try to follow.

Again.


Stretching and fragmenting yourself never happens in one definable moment. It is a slow, insidious creeping effect, the result of every failed choice, every ill-considered action.

You don’t start out trying to become undone. You don’t actively seek to damage yourself and those around you. You don’t deliberately give voice to all your inner doubts, allowing them to grow in strength, creating a cacophony of conflicting personas, suffocating your mind.

When you stretch too far, you fragment too many times and break yourself into pieces.

When you lay there broken (shattered), wondering how on earth you’re ever going to put yourself back together, just look to two things:

  • the pieces;
  • the glue.

the pieces

We over-stretch ourselves trying to:

  • do too much:
    Success at work, being creative, taking on hobbies, varied interests, seeing the “must-see” movies, reading the “must-read” novels , being the cook, host and entertainer.
  • be all things to ourselves:
    Being kind, being thoughtful, being wiser, being calmer, being happier, being in control.
  • be all things to everyone:
    A better son/brother/partner/lover/friend/confidante/mentor.
  • keep all our options open, all the time:
    The constant feeling that we must be adaptable, that we must be able to always be all 950,000 different versions of ourselves, and call on that version at moment’s notice.
  • cling onto a past that no longer influences or guides our future.

“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.”
– Anatole France

It’s easy to see how quickly we splinter ourselves into too many parts.

Instead, from this fractured state, we can pick up the pieces of ourselves that we require. The core pieces that make us, well… us. We are able to discard and leave behind the accumulated baggage of our past, the unrealistic expectations of our present and the anxieties of our future. We can strip ourselves to our essential components and identify the key elements of us as healthy, rounded balanced people.

My essential components (July 4th 2010):

  • Quick-wit and sense of humour
  • Great cook
  • Generous host
  • Caring friend
  • Gifted artist
  • Fab personal stylist
  • Lover of fashion and glamour ;o)
  • Open mind
  • Contentment in the little things
  • Sensitive (too sensitive!!) soul

Some of these things you’ll recognise in me. Some have been buried for so long, I forgot I had them myself!

the glue

The glue binds these pieces together. It may not be as hard and unyielding as a glue, it may be more fluid, more organic – weaving the pieces of ourself (our self) back into a cohesive, functioning whole.

I think of my glue as being:

  • My relationships, my loved ones, friends and families:
    My relationships are the most important thing to me, in ways and meanings that I can never adequately articulate, or convey in any action or gesture.
  • My role and the joy or value I bring to others:
    I’ve written before about the value I bring to others, questioning why the people in my life want anything to do with me.
    But deep down, I think I know that I offer something (perhaps more than one thing!) to each and every one of my relationships.
  • My own sense of being, the pride and joy I can take from what I bring to myself:
    I am of many parts, and for years I have allowed those parts to compete internally, to become points of self-doubt, to generate feelings of worthlessness, failure – even disgust and shame. I realise increasingly, that is the very unique combination of these aspects of myself, that make me special. I have a blend of characteristics, experiences and values that is not only unique, it is me. I cannot remove or close parts of myself, without changing what it is to be me. Sure, on a given day of the week I’ll be more one aspect of me than another, but that is good. That is how I choose to live.

the whole

The whole then, is greater than the sum of its parts. So long as the parts are not too many or fragmented, then simply being whole is an exceptional gift, and requires no greater effort than accepting yourself for who you are.

“Because he believes in himself,
he doesn’t try to convince others.
Because he is content with himself,
he doesn’t need others’ approval.
Because he accepts himself,
the whole world accepts him.”
~ Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu

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One response to this post.

  1. […] previous post ‘on…becoming whole‘ is the last entry I’m going to write for a […]

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