Scenario: When you are sitting in a room and your friends refer to your person and what you have to offer as a “butterfly cake” that is too good to be appreciated half-assed…to be clear, this is NOT a cake made out of butterflies, but more like a metaphor for two really good things put together. If you’re reading this because you wanted to know about a cake made out of butterflies, you will be disappointed.
When you are feeling down and out, it’s always good to have a few people around you to reflect your value and worth, especially when you are not capable of doing so. This was me a few nights ago, and as Thanksgiving has come and gone, I am feeling an amplified gratitude for the wonderful people that are in my life. Depression, anxiety, and BFRBs are tough to deal with on a normal day when nothing seems to be going wrong; and they are so overwhelmingly crushing when everything around you is going the wrong way. It can feel as though you will never be alright again, knowing in some part of you, that you have caused someone great pain and suffering.
It takes a great courage and a great humbling of yourself to admit that you are in the way of someone’s happiness. However, I think there is a great myth going around that tells us that we are to find happiness in other people and our circumstances. People and circumstances change which ultimately means that happiness, no matter how hard we work to ensure that it will always be there, will leave us. That doesn’t mean that it leaves forever, but it does imply that we are forever at the mercy of chance and bad luck. I, for one, am possibly the worst at following my own advice. I constantly tell myself that all things are passing and that in order to gain consistent happiness: I must be happy with myself and practice being happy everyday. Now, does this ever happen? Sometimes. Most of the time, though, I am sad and anxious, and constantly looking for validation from others. This exercise, mental and social, is exhausting and I often envy those who seem to be so happy or who effortlessly garner praise for even the smallest of tasks.
At this point in the semester, the practice of self-centered-ness has come to be one the greatest tools that I have in my little emotional survival kit. Not only do I have to learn how to be on my own, I must relearn what it means to make meaningful connections with other people and how I want to connect with them. Most of the time we are told that we should care more about others that we do ourselves, or that to have infinite compassion is the best way to be a good person. However, I think we…or I should just say I, in this case…have forgotten that incredibly critical step to having infinite compassion for others; and that is having infinite compassion and love for ourselves. What does it mean to love yourself? How do you avoid becoming arrogant or narcissistic? I don’t have the answer, but I do know that there is an eternal quest hidden in all of the books and movies and music and faiths where we seek to find happiness and love for ourselves. This is just my uneducated and totally subjective hypothesis right now: That to love your self unconditionally is allowing God (or who/whatever you may let guide you) to show you just how much love there is to have and how infinite it is in such a way that you can share that love with others by making meaningful connections.
From what part of your center do you move in this world?
Painting by: Eric Sweet