Friday, 7 November 2014
'Only human.' We use it as an excuse for less than stellar behaviour, or perceived weakness in a character. It's a Get Out Of Jail Free card that doesn't really work but maybe gets you a cell with a window. Probably not a widow though, which is what I typed first.
I'm a sucker for dwelling on my own weaknesses. There has never been anyone who is as critical of me as I am. Perhaps I do it to avoid being surprised by how low the opinions of others can be: 'You think I'm 40 feet down? HA! I laugh in the face of your 40 feet assessment, for I know myself to be at least 70 feet down. Therefore, your opinion of me, Sir, is relatively high and I am safe from hurt. I win the Scorn Olympics.'
Thanks to some masterful training from my parents and then the first man I fell in love with, I lived the first 35 years of my life thinking I was pretty damn crap. At everything. Except being with dogs; I was always bloody good at that. Oh, and tap-dancing. The rest? Not so much. In fact, not even a tiny bit.
I started to recognise that perhaps this wasn't serving anyone very well, least of all me, and that maybe if I looked I'd find some redeeming qualities. But I was even crap at not being crap. I was convinced that it was a simple black/white thing. One is either crap, or perfect. So I always failed. 'And she's got the GOLD!'
Fast forward 15 or so years and I've come a long way. There is much about me that makes me proud. It may not always resonate with other people's standards but that's their issue. I still want, some days, to feel that I am not ever, ever crap. When faced with the fact that sometimes I just am, I can still feel crumbly. I try to accept that I, along with Everyone Else Ever, is wonderfully, magnificently human. There's no 'only' about it. Being human is not an explanation for failure, but rather a reason for being a bright, pulsing, vibrating, hot/cold, good/bad animal. <irony> How utterly perfect. </irony>
My daughter is a perfectionist too. This may be part of her character, a reflected part of mine or even - as is common with children who share her story - the need to be so damn good that no one will ever abandon you again. Fear around that is certainly visceral for her no matter what.
As ever, the teacher is also the student and helping her to recognise and move if not 'past', then 'above' these feelings has been good for me too. And recently I adopted a technique outlined by runner Tim Van Orden. He described how he has started to help himself through negative feelings by literally talking to himself. Out loud, in a gentle, soothing voice. The way you would to a small child. 'It's okay, you're feeling [insert emotion] and I'm not surprised. I understand. But you'll be fine. You're safe. I'm here and I promise it'll all be alright. I love you.' He was so passionate about this that I decided to try it, despite feeling a bit of a fool and bloody hell if it didn't work a treat! Like a dream! So yeah I'm doing it all the time now. Except in public.
Another thing I do a few times a year is ye olde full moone releasing rituale. I'm a big fan of reading up on how others do this and then making your own version, in line with your own truth. I'm doing mine tonight on this second night of the Taurus full moon. Evie - who has participated before - was keen to take part too so we've both made our bundles and will burn one, offer another, this evening. She loves these little ceremonies and I love to share them with her.
Whatever the full moon brought you, have a good weekend.