Three questions have stewed in my mind since Monday night.
What is it that makes it so hard for some of us to feel like we deserve to be happy?
How is it that we learned to be so comfortable with self-flagellation?
And more importantly, how can we stop that shit?
Monday marked my 39th trip around the sun, my first birthday as a married man.
The celebration started a week early. Annette gave me Bose Noise Canceling Headphones. A few days later she brought home my birthday cake.
I ate cake all weekend.
Monday evening, as Annette prepared a steak dinner, decorated the counter top with hand picked flower and listened to Jack Johnson on Pandora, I sat in the living room reflecting on the past few years.
So much has changed.
I’m married. We have a healthy relationship, filled with love, mutual respect and connectedness. She soothes my soul.
My income comes from writing. It’s been my dream since I ate my first crayon. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.
We live by the water. I get to paddle when I want, our dogs love the neighborhood and I rarely find a reason to leave the property. It’s my paradise.
The funny thing about this, is that in 2007, I wrote about this life on the beach in Venice, California.
I’ve been visualizing my perfect day for so long, it feels surreal that I’m living it.
At the height of my gratitude, as if on cue, Annette announced that dinner is ready.
When I walked to my seat, the gravity of the situation, and the sweetness of her gestures brought tears to my eyes.
It took a few seconds for me to articulate the meaning behind the tears; I’ve never felt so lucky and so proud of the man I’ve become over the past 11 years.
That’s when my wife dropped a bomb on me.
She could have kicked me in the teeth and stabbed me in the eye with a steak knife and it would have felt better than what it felt when she said….
“You deserve to be happy. You deserve this and so much more.”
After the tears dried, she set the camera to snap the picture, we ate our steaks and I tried to connect with the gratitude again.
But those three questions cycled through my brain.
- What is it that makes it so hard for some of us to feel like we deserve to be happy?
- How is it that we learned to be so comfortable with self-flagellation?
- And more importantly, how can we stop that shit?
To top things off, this is the week that I scheduled my first “transformational workshop.”
Tonight is day 3. The workshop ends on Sunday. It feels like a dam is about to break.
Behind that dam is a LOT of Rage, self-loathing, fear, anxiety and history. I feel like the happiest, angry man on the planet; a walking dichotomy.
And as the cracks begin to spider web, my demons begin to escape, one by one, I realize how fucking delusional I am.
It’s my story.
“You’re not good enough. You’ll never amount to shit. If people really get to know you, they’ll see that you’re a monster with a beautiful smile. You’re fake. You’re a loser. Don’t bother trying you won’t make it. Don’t bother with a social life, nobody will really like you anyhow.”
But, here’s the thing, I’m not alone.
And if you resonate with this post, if you felt or heard “wow, me too!”, know that YOU’RE NOT ALONE either.
You’re not crazy.
You’re not broken.
You’re not worthless.
You’re not a monster.
And you deserve to be happy and loved.
We all have a past.
We could have one of those “Jaws Moments,” where we roll up our pant legs and see who has the biggest scars, but that wouldn’t be useful, because these scars are emotional. Invisible. Hidden.
But, these scars permeate every aspect of our lives, trigger us into soothing behaviors, so we can find our comfort zone and they help us justify the current conditions of our lives.
We wear those scars like a badge of honor.
And that’s not a good thing…
This weekend looks pretty scary to me.
I’m really comfortable being me. I actually do love me, and the person I’ve become. I just have a problem.
It really hurts my feelings when other people see me and they like me too.
How messed up is THAT!?
All of my life, I’ve assumed that if you got to know me, you’d hate me. The funny thing is, people mistake my standoffishness as arrogance, which in turn validates “people don’t like you.” It’s a strange pattern to live, and stranger yet, when you recognize that it’s all within your control.
I wish I could finish this piece with an answer to those three questions, but I’m not there yet.
But, to be honest, the only one that needs to be answered is question number three:
How can we quit the habit of self-flagellation?
Too many of us beat our selves up with the 30 year old belts, and that needs to stop.
When I find something that works for me, I’ll share it with you.
If you felt connected to this story, please know that you are not alone in this. So many people struggle at this life thing.
Shame seems to be an epidemic.
Please reach out to someone. There are qualified professionals that can help you sort things out.
Find a modality that works for you. Get support. Dig deep and you can change the way you feel about you, the world around you and your place in it.
I’m a walking, talking (writing) example that it can be done.
You can change from the inside out. It may not be instant. It won’t be comfortable. But, it’ll be worth it.
Thanks for reading. Comment or share if you feel like it.
Love your face!