I’d been suffering for so long that I’d gotten used to it. All the work that I’ve been doing in the last 3.5 years finally got me to the point where I was able to start letting go of this pain. And it changed my perspective on people and life quite drastically.
For the longest time I cultivated a belief that I didn’t deserve to be happy. I wrote a story in my mind that went something like this:
I don’t deserve to be happy because there are people on this planet who are suffering, and so I will just give all of mine away so that others can have some.
Empathy gone wrong, without boundaries for self. This was further cemented by parents who didn’t have the capacity to care for deeply sensitive, intelligent, and empathic kids. In other words, I wasn’t really in the habit of taking care of all of myself (only certain parts).
Let’s say I give one unit of energy to another when I have just one. Then I end up with none and they end up with one. This math doesn’t work in my favor. Instead, if I gave it to me, then I could have cultivated five, and then I can keep one and give them four.
So giving to self is a great way to actually give more overall.
Sadly this (giving to self and then cultivating more to give to others) usually doesn’t happen, because most of us do not give to ourselves and we end up with scarcity in our circles. Sometimes we can give something ourselves and we can get 10x return, and sometimes we only get 2x and other times we only get 1x. It all depends on knowing what we truly need and then that determines the rate of return on that investment (to self).
But I couldn’t work this math in my favor, since I was so busy feeling my own pain. And when I started letting go of this pain, my eyes and ears were opened to the world:
I could finally feel my emotions without reacting to them, and be able to simply observe them.
I had space in my being to hold space for other people, and I could see them, as they wanted to be seen, and not thru the lens of my pain or my reaction to whatever emotion they were invoking in me.
It’s amazing what I saw when I was actually able to see. I felt empathy in a way that I’d not felt before and gained a deeper understanding of people’s struggles in a way that I’d never been able to internalize before. And I learned a few things about myself.
I have to give myself what I need everyday, in order that I might find some peace and get some happiness. And all this starts with acknowledging that I have needs, and they deserve to be met. And it’s a daily practice to do this. Right now this is yoga, walking, eating good food, and coding.
I love relationship (the significant other kind). It gives me a reason to fight for more than just me. And without this, I become less ambitious and find less meaning and purpose in life. Relationship is a platform that gives me strength and allows me to tackle big things in life.
In a (significant other) relationship, I deserve to have my needs met, and my partner deserves to have her needs met. And if we can compromise to get to a win-win by giving as much as we can (without comparing how much each is giving, and expecting each to give the same amount) then it’s a beautiful thing. And it’s not acceptable to defer my needs to hers, or her needs to mine. It’s about being on a journey where we make each other better people by being honest with each other and be willing to put in the work to grow, heal, and evolve.
I need a network of chosen family, mentors, and friends who can guide me and support me thru life, and who I can support and guide thru life as well. I’d made the mistake in the past of overloading one person (my significant other) with all the duties in the world that should have been distributed among a network of people. And this network gives me strength and stability that allows me to stay afloat during tough times, and I do the same for them. And we enjoy life with each other as well, when times are going well.
At the start of my reset 3.5 years ago, I knew that I couldn’t get out the mess that was my life alone. And I’ve been on a quest to better understand myself and other people. And it’s taken me this long to see past my pain and actually find a place of peace from which I can take steps moving forwards. I realized that even though I was moving in the right direction, when driven by the wrong intentions, it would never end well.
I’d tried so many times in the past to make positive changes, but I ended up coming at it from the wrong place — a place of suffering, pain, and fear (and not love). Instead of trying to let go of pain, I was just running away from it towards something less painful.
So I just ended up attracting more people who were in the same place I was, and I couldn’t escape the gravity of this pain. And I just remained stuck in so many patterns, strengthened by the people around me.
I had to lose everything on order for me to try different approaches than those that weren’t really giving me different results, which got me far enough, so that I could let go of my pain and then start attracting more of the right people into my life, and on and on, which is a virtuous cycle.
It’s difficult to heal, as the process of healing requires all the scar tissue that has formed in the past (to protect us in the short term) to be torn down, so that things can heal again in the correct alignment and patterns. And that process to untangle the mess is painful and brings up so many terrible feelings. But without going thru this process, it’s not possible to remove all the emotional debt that we accrue over time. This can be applied to both physical and emotional injury. But this is short term pain, and not chronic or long term pain (aka suffering).
I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by so many amazing people in my life as I heal thru various relationships. I do not go it alone anymore (as I once thought that I had to). My friends and mentors and supporters have all come together to give me the support that I need to get to this place of not feeling alone and being connected, and being authentic. It’s never easy to be authentic as we might fear being rejected by others, and we might have beliefs that tell us to defer our needs, or not to have needs. However, as my new trajectory in life gets me towards this place of peace and letting go of pain, more and more of the right people just show up in my life. This is a great kind of magic!
I am grateful for my health. For being able to let go of pain. For having empathy for people. For having needs and having them met. For moving in the right direction and approach life with curiosity and wonder, knowing that there are many things wrong with this world. I am grateful for being able to take pain and suffering and turn it into light, and continue being the ball of light that I am and become more of what I’m supposed to be.
And when I’m tired and weak, the broken bits that still remain can ache and ask for a lot of my attention. However, this creates an opportunity to take a hard look at them, so that they can be addressed, and healing can happen, and then strength built (by creating constructive behavioral habits).
In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. I think it's impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves. And then, in that very moment when I love them.... I destroy them."
When the broken bits show up, I pay attention to them. I work towards understanding where they came from, what brought them into existence, and what habits persist them there. Then when I can understand them from the inside out, I am finally able to destroy them. Evolution is a process of continual birth and death. Much like the many cells in our bodies that die, so that new ones can replace them.
One of the key things after healing the pain is to build strength. And this comes by exercising discipline and creating constructive habits (rather than repeating pre-existing destructive subconscious behaviors). I know not to feed the wrong wolf and instead feed the right one.
The circumstances and mistakes that got me here don't define me. It’s what I choose to do with them that does. And I choose to aim for hope in the face of reality 😀. And look at life as possibility and opportunity, rather than regret and loss.
In an existence where everything is impermanent, including life itself, it’s important to develop a framework of resilience and malleability, to be able to process what life throws at us.
It is so easy to fall into the trap of feeding the wrong wolf. Without being blinded by my own pain, I can see so many other people who are in pain around me. And so many who are not. And many of the most amazing people that I know are ones who have been thru incredible pain and ended suffering in order to get to this place of awesomeness.
Fruits don’t taste very good unless they are stressed and shocked while they’re growing (but not to the point where they die). And if they survive they taste so good!
To fighting the good fight. And to being authentic. To ending suffering and going thru pain. And to constantly seeking out and facing the truth that is hidden in all of us. And to being peaceful warriors. And to being legendary!