Don’t let others define you.

I just read a good post on being ourselves and bullying..

The pain of bullying can only get to us if we allow ourselves to believe others only invested in shaming and judging us know the truth about us, which they don’t and we may even threaten them on some level merely for being different… The best antidote to this is just to be ourselves shamelessly, to know who we are and to know that EVEN IF WE ARE DIFFERENT AND DON’T FIT IN THAT IS OKAY!!

I like to think I was a very happy child, full of fun and joy that got knocked out of my by a series of forces.. I had this affirmed a few months ago when an old friend who lived a few doors down from us said to me how open I was and happy as a young person. Sadly I lost my way to this as I got older and more ‘shut in”. This is something a fellow blogger friend and I were sharing about recently. This person said she is also slowly finding her way back to the joyful open self she was as a child that slowly got lost in a super serious family where she had to work hard to reshape and adapt.

I can also see how my addictions grew as I hid my true self from myself and others and felt shame over my inner self. I also got so very confused about who and what that was. My true self was always trying to burst out though.. It didn’t help either being told then I was just ‘an alcoholic’ when I ended up in recovery as a result. The truth, that I know now, is that for a long time I used alcohol and drugs but they were only ever a symptom not the cause, the true cause was my fear of being my real self as well as the hidden anger over having so much of that self killed off by those telling me what I ‘should’ be doing and who I ‘should’ be in order to be loved, approved of and found acceptable or palateable.

I remember well a talk given by the poet Robert Bly in which he said that he is always wary when, at some of his poetry readings, someone comes up and asks if they can share their opinion of his poems.. He doesn’t take kindly to it and I understand why, how we express ourselves through our art is about us, it’s not about what meaning others make of our work, about winning awards or getting the grammar and structure of the poem ‘right’, or conforming to ideals. And who is deciding those criteria anyway?

That said some would say there is ‘good’ and ‘bad’ poetry but I heard a very interesting talk on You Tube last night by the writer Wayne Muller in which he spoke of what state we now live in of being affected by a profoundly binary view of the universe we now adopt, a view predicated on the forms of zero and ones… this kind of reductionist, polarising view of things doesn’t really allow us to embrace the magic, depth, breadth or profound nuances of mystery, chaos or mess, or of people just letting it all hang out.

Truth is so many try to present an image of ‘having it all together’, this then makes those who care too much about external referencing feel they may not ‘have it together’ enough. But what if living a happy life wasn’t always about pulling everything together, but more about letting it fall apart and make something new of the shambolic pattern or reassembling it into new and ever unique forms of expression? What if all the breaking and wounding and reassembling happened so we could find out the shape we originally were was okay and we had lessons to learn about how to live that more authentically and with less fear and shame over ‘what others’ may think?.

Just some thoughts for today.. I try these days to not allow others to define my reality as much any more.. I know at the end of the day seeking someone’s approval will only rebound on me in the end, the glimmer of hope still exists, though, if I am to be brutally honest. And I need to get it that others have their own reality and way of doing things and even if they look good on the outside may still struggle on the inside. Aren’t we here now to be ourselves and make the best we can of loving others, while also understanding the part wounding and brokenness caused by old reductive points of view or social models causes?

I am learning slowly that God put me on earth to be me and to make the best fist possible of being as happy and free as I can in a world where so many forces of external approval seem to be weighing so heavily upon so many of us. For me this means being able to accept pain, loss, imperfection and suffering, as well as sadness and things ‘going wrong’ as just part of what it means to live in a Universe that is far more complex and many dimensional than purely binary, far more multi-faceted and layered than linear, single layered or polarised.

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