On a cold November morning...
... while still dressed in my pajamas, I went outside to grab something from my car. There was a woman walking by, and an ever so slight amount of snow was starting to fall.
I called out “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”
She smiled, and in that moment I felt the goodness of a simple connection: we had shared and enjoyed each other.
That feeling was a change.
For about an hour, I’d been feeling despair, depression, and dread.
My internal B.S. Committee had taken a small piece of evidence, put it under a microscope, and magnified it exponentially so that it was all I could see. This perspective reinforced and amplified the negative feelings of self-blame and shame and tied right into the "You're nothing!" lie. Thus, I felt even more unclear about what I was doing, how I was doing it, and what I should be doing in my life.
Introversion is great, until it's not
I'm one of those folks who has a natural tendency to introversion, and I'm a very studied extrovert. That means that I love my alone time - it's where I refresh, recharge and find comfort. I can find doing extroversion, in the form of too much social time and large group interaction, quite draining and exhausting.
The studied part, is that I've learned how to "do" extroversion so that I don't usually feel as awkward, anxious, or overwhelmed by it now as I did in the past. I still have my limits on the amount of extroversion I can do - but I'm better at managing myself when I am doing extroversion.
I've also learned that doing too much introversion can get me in trouble - in ways very similar to what I've outlined above.
That's where a healthy dose of interaction with someone else can help me turn the tables on what I refer to as "introversion sickness".
The good part of this...
... was that I could see myself doing it.
I could see how I was participating in creating and maintaining a “this is right / this is wrong (therefore *I* must be wrong)” conflict inside myself.
That’s a B.S. equation, where just because "something isn’t right" about a situation = *I* must be wrong.
In any situation, I may have made a mistake. A problem could have developed without me seeing it, or knowing how to resolve it early enough or properly.
That could be true. Good enough.
I trust my friends, family and other loving folks to bring those mistakes to my attention. For any part I play in a mistake, I’m happy to own my errors. That gives me the freedom to correct them, and continue to improve.
Tools for Freedom
On seeing this part clearly, and owning it, I was able to free myself from how I was doing this particular flavor of self-persecution. Until I did these things, I was bound to be caught in - and victim of - my pity-pot / poor me habits.
I'm aware I have an old habit of participating in creating and escalating a downward despair spiral in myself. Knowing that I do this habitual pattern is now a tool for freedom from it. Not necessarily absolute freedom, where I never do it. It's more of an "I don't do it today the same way I did it yesterday, or last week / month / year" kind of freedom.
This freedom is more gradual. Sometimes I'm not so quickly aware of when or how I go into the habit. Almost always, there is an "Ahh... I'm doing THAT - again!" moment. That leads me to my (now well established) habit of positive actions, using my healthy self-care skills.
In this instance, I freed myself from the self-imposed sense of shame and failure which led to powerlessness and inaction. I took a small positive action, which led me to other positives, and voila! I’m moving up, gaining momentum, and reconnecting with vitality, clarity, and my connection with true power.
"Center yourself first in wholeness"
“Center yourself first in wholeness” is a tag line I use in my coaching and training practice.
But it's much more than just a tag line.
It's a life changing set of skills.
Not like winning a lottery can change your life in big ways - that's luck and outside of direct influence (other than buying a ticket, of course).
These life changing skills create changes that fall into the category of "the difference that makes a difference".
They're such an important pivot point for helping me “come home” whenever I find I have lost myself.