Monday, December 22, 2014
The last forty-eight hours have reminded me of an important goal I want to focus on in 2015. I intend to purge my life of a pattern in which I make time for people who ultimately do not reciprocate and make a commensurate amount of time for me. This pattern has been a part of my life for far too long.
I became really aware of this imbalance very early in the process of my therapeutic journey (which began some eighteen months ago). My father’s inability to be present to me in a meaningful way in the summer of 2013 (a time in which I was both physically ill as well as weighed down by an incredible amount of grief) precipitated my deepening realization that there was a serious imbalance that would often manifest in my relationships. And yet my awareness of my tendency to create imbalanced relationships wasn’t sufficient in and of itself to end the pattern. No, I needed the force of my will as well. Awareness is only the first step.
Throughout these last eighteen months I have come to a deeper understanding of the immense power of human denial. I have appreciated how determined some people are to refrain from confronting the deep issues of their own lives that haunt them and manifest in any number of behaviors.
I have seen the horror of alcoholism in a number of places. I witnessed the toll alcoholism takes on the lives of Native Americans while living and working on a Lakota reservation in 1997. I have seen people who are virtual fixtures in bars who use alcohol as a means of self-medicating.
In my opinion the scourge of violence is another symptom of dysfunctional ways too many people seek to address problems. Whether the violence neatly falls into the category of domestic violence or is instead associated with crime or other issues is, in one sense, irrelevant. Americans have a penchant for ‘solving’ problems with violence.
Avoidance and pretense are another classic means of addressing problems in a dysfunctional way. In this scenario problems are perhaps acknowledged as being real but are nonetheless not addressed. People may justify avoidance of addressing a problem by professing ignorance as to how to solve it. Or rather than claim ignorance some might proclaim themselves to be helpless to do anything to change it. And yet ignorance and helplessness are immature ways of addressing problems. Change is indeed possible. But to change you have to be willing to learn as well as acknowledge the power you have to change your life and the immediate world around you.
We seem to have become a nation comprised of many individuals who don’t know how to talk to one another in constructive ways. It seems people would rather arm themselves, look at their smart phones, watch Fox ‘News’ and just hope all the problems will go away. Unfortunately I do not see such infantile responses to the world as likely being successful in addressing the serious issues of the world today.
In the future I intend to continue to spend my time in a more thoughtful way. I will make people a priority who make me a priority. I will no longer waste my own precious resources of time, money and energy on people and situations that do not fulfill my own needs. To do so is to live a life less than what I am capable of enjoying.
Yesterday was not an easy day. My mood was off the entire day. I felt very sad that yet again I had spent my precious time and energy trying to cultivate some sort of relationship with an individual who apparently never had much interest in reciprocating my attention. I worked a full day at Macys and tried my best to be personable with my customers. It wasn’t easy. By the end of my shift I was eager to go home. There were moments when I felt that I could have easily spontaneously burst into tears.
I feel the presence of a lot of tears within me still. But I can’t get myself to cry. Perhaps that will come later. I keep telling myself that my life can be and will be what I want it to be one day. But when will that happen?