Where to start?
I've wanted to write a post about positive thinking and how its done so blindly. I was going to call it, "The Negative of Positive Thinking."
I've done that. I would tell myself, "No matter what, I have to be positive, no matter how much hell I see around me." That way of thinking helped me through the worst of times, many times.
But I also found that sometimes, I didn't want to be effin positive. Sometimes I was just pissed off at the world and I wanted to feel it to my core!! And then I would kick my own ass for not being positive.
Surely, there was a better way.
I also wanted to write a post about how I watched a PBS special on The Buddha.
I've had an interest in Buddhism for some time but have never delved into it with as much passion as A Course in Miracles. Watching that special on the life of the Buddha definitely spurred my interest. I've been considering visiting a local Buddhist temple to see what it is like. I like the contented smile on the monks I saw on TV. I want some of that.
Mostly, what I want to understand is the Buddhist concept of compassion. Oh, I'm compassionate with others.
Where I lack compassion is for myself.
Didn't I just say how much I kick my own ass?
Then sometime today, perhaps it was when I was chatting with a friend who is leaving her husband, I realized that I had to put all of this together in one blog post.
She is absolutely wallowing in self-loathing. She is destroying herself for these feelings and is convinced that her husband and children will hate her. She is, and I recognize it oh so well, kicking her own ass too.
I spent the entire conversation trying to convince her to be more compassionate with herself. I wasn't trying to be positive. I told her in no uncertain terms that what she was feeling was perfectly normal and that she should allow herself to feel it.
The best advice that I could give, and what I recall about my own recovery after the decision to leave, was that I absolutely couldn't focus too much on the past we shared or the future that wouldn't be. No, I had to take it one moment at a time.
And when I couldn't help but be sad about the past or future, I had to cry.
Oh did I wail!
I used to put the kids to bed, go outside on the beautiful back patio of the home I was about to sell, crawl into the hot tub and literally howl at the moon. I'm sure my neighbors wondered what sorts of wild animals took up residence in the woods behind our homes. I was, quite excruciatingly, crushingly devastated.
I allowed myself to feel it.
I guess I was pretty compassionate with myself after all.
Is there a power in positive thinking?
But I don't believe positive thinking means burying my head in the sand and pretending that I'm unphased by all that life sends my way.
Mercy is much more powerful than being positive.
I'm learning to allow myself to feel whatever I feel when I go through things... if only to be able to say, "Hey, would you look at that? There's shit. I'm living in it. And hey, would you look at THAT? I'm still breathing... how in the hell?"
I know that with all that I've been through, I've questioned beliefs about myself, limitations I put on myself and fears that I've fretted over time and time again.
When I allowed myself to feel those feelings, and I didn't try to fix them or figure them out or act like they weren't there, they went away faster.
And facing all of those fears that I worried about for so long and thought I'd never survive, but I did? I think it made me stronger.
Consequently, I found it was easier to be positive. Because then I could say, "Pfft. I'm not scared. Been there. Done that. Sang I Will Survive at karaoke."
Sometimes I couldn't even recognize the positive effects of what I went through until much, much later. Only then could I be grateful.
Maybe that is the true meaning of seeing the positive?
"Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength."
~ St. Francis de Sales