That Self-Compassion crap, and pizza.
There is a discipline in looking for the good in others, isn't there? That wouldn't be so bad if we didn't have to look for the good in ourselves too.
This is tip-toeing on the verge of saying the word "journey" or "namaste" without irony. Stay with me. We'll get through this monologue together.
It's really hard to talk about things when we're emotionally invested. We especially don't talk about the ubiquitous experiences in our day. That feeling of waking up overwhelmed, or the sensation of tunnel vision when we're mad. That feeling of not being super happy, and that there's no reason why because you "have it all". That twitchy feeling of checking Insta-g one more time just to make sure that guy saw that we're super deep...we posted a picture of that C.S. Lewis book and used #allthefilters...
Well, gather 'round. Auntie Air is gonna tell you a little about patterns and addiction. <this comes full circle to self compassion, I promise>
Yo. We're super judgmental of addiction y'all. We just don't get it, even when we have it. It just does not make sense that we can't be above a mind game. How could someone cause harm to themselves with drugs or alcohol?
Because those are addictions, right? The only addictions. Drugs and alcohol.
I haven't been #blessed with a traditional addiction. I'm more of a "take the edge off-aholic" as Brene Brown puts it. Sometimes it takes literally everything in me just to get to the end of the day, and usually that's with a nap in my car at noon. If I'm then asked to be anything than The Girl in the Man Pajamas after work, I don't know what to do with my hands other than have a drink in them.
I was lucky enough to have something scare the absolute bejesus out of me to get me to see that what I'm addicted to is my patterns. Yaheard. I said I'm lucky. I find myself, at least once in a day, thanking God that I got mowed down by an anxiety train. It was clearly the only way I'd start making lasting change. (emphasis on *start*...tis a process).
Whatever our pattern is - anger, obsession, lust, compulsive eating, checking texts or facebook for affirmation, the over giving of yourself, and yeah, drugs and alcohol - it gives us a few moments of that sexy endorphin release with the relief of scratching that impulse itch. We're just super blind to the reality that we're addicted to our pattern. Hell, we don't even know we have patterns.
We become dependent on that pattern of the urgent impulse, literally. Our brains are changed to become dependent on the firing of adrenaline, or conversely, endorphins. We become taken over by our bodies response, and before we know it, the phone is in our hands and we're texting that guy again. Or buying more shoes. Or watching porn. Or eating that pizza so fast we didn't even taste it, even though you know it was delicious because it was DeFazio's. Or if drugs are your pattern, there you are, trying to figure out how to hide the puke on the bathroom floor this time.
My patterns are *the best*, because like many, they seem to be in reaction to other people's behavior. When someone does or says something (or doesn't do/say the thing I want them to), the impulse is "this is unacceptable" or "why don't they love me" or "it's because I didn't do enough. I should text again."
Woof. Those thoughts come in such a way that they are undeniable. They are urgent, and we must act on them! Right? It's like one thought piles on another. They just keep taking the baton and running with it!
Ok wait. If my thoughts are like a relay chain, can't I just take out one of those little dominos?
[Mmm. Dominos. God I want pizza.]
Ok. Different analogy. I just got out of a serious Kimmy Schmidt bender. Like, I couldn't turn it off. Later, I laughed and went and read for a while. Is that all it is? Is my mind just a TV without a remote? When I'm stuck in an emotion like anger or anxiety or sadness, do I even know that there are other shows playing on other channels? Or that I can do something else entirely? I mean, I can know that there's a scary horror show playing on channel 30, but I don't have to watch it. Duh.
Change the channel.
Back to compassion (told you). I grew up with the phrase "tough love" as a family motto. Too bad. I think we just know better now, don't we? "Tough Love", as in the program, doesn't work. You can't shame or isolate someone into changing behavior. More than that, we can't change anyone's behavior at all...not that I won't try...
Instead of tough love, I've recently heard the phrase Fierce Compassion. I love that. There's empathy and love, without indulging the other person's destructive behavior. When our reactions come from compassion, the bite of hatred or vindictiveness are taken out. That softening can be felt by the other person! What if we had Fierce Compassion with ourselves? "Yo girl. You meditated this morning, and had a healthy lunch, then ate a tall stack of pancakes at 8pm because it's Friday and raining and you have no food in the house. Two outta three ain't bad. Let's get excited to make even better choices tomorrow! Plus, DeFazio's has a table at the farmer's market..."
We all know how I feel about Brene Brown. I would actually move to Vermont with her and open a B&B, where we have a specialty line of jams in mason jars with a logo and call them E&B's B&B jams. We'd be a power couple, and probably have a couple of chocolate labs that love to roll in the mud, and we just laugh, because we have matching rain boots with bumble bees on them, and we love to see the dogs so happy.
Anyway, compassion. So in her book Daring Greatly, Dr. Brown has this awesome analogy for how to shine the beacon of vulnerability, without making it the spotlight of desperation (read: over sharing on social media). And it got me thinking. We think deer are really stupid for freezing in headlights, right? What if they're just doing what they're little amygdala tells them to do? They're just doing their best with what they have, and trying not to be physically vulnerable. When someone shines a spotlight on the thing we perceive as a weakness, can that feeling of shame can make us freeze in our patterns? I would argue a resounding yes! (give me a break, it's late)
What I'm trying to do with this silly blog is soften the spotlight, and shine it a little more on myself, so we can all see that it's safe to cross the road. Also, I love the spotlight. I have these dancer's gams [as said in a 1940's dramatic voice].
I know there's a way to use the energy it takes to be angry, or self critical or act with urgency to do that thing that is super unhelpful. There is a way, and I'm going to figure it the F out. Meanwhile, give yourself a break, go talk to someone, be weird and real, and do one thing tomorrow to slow the dominos from falling.