Knock knock, my therapist said. You need to check in and see how you're feeling inside.
Hrmph. I said. I don't often know how I feel until much later.
Well that's why you need to check in.
It seemed kind of like a chicken egg situation.
Hey self how do I feel?
I don't know come back later.
Oh ok bye.
It sounded almost like a new agey zen BS question when she asked it, and I probably would have considered it as such... had I actually been able to answer the question in the first place.
How do you feel about it, she asked again.
I started to get frustrated. I told her so. At which point she told me that frustration was just a fancy word for anger, and anger was simply the gap between our expectations and our reality.
As much I hated to admit it, she was right.
But I still didn't know how I felt.
How could I get better at it, at paying attention to myself? To what was going on inside me? How could I not even know something as basic as that?
I felt juvenile.
At that time in my life, though not that long ago, I was wrestling wiht slightly different issues than I am currently. But one thing remains the same. And I think it's true for most of us. Whether or not the things you're dealing with are big or small, one of the hardest challenges of being ourselves is figuring out how we feel about certain things and how to live our lives in accordance with those feelings.
Now, this isn't something that's a challenge for everybody.
I know plenty of people who say exactly how they feel in the moment and act accordingly. Whether or not that comes from a place of true comfort and enligthenment or its a defense mechanism to avoid dealing with discomfort, I don't really know. And frankly even though I am curious, I have a hard enough time figuring out my own motivations to try and decipher somebody else's.
I think today, more than any other time in history, it's harder to figure out your true beliefs on things. Becuase of the world we live in, and the rate at which information is shared, we spend way more time receiving that we do perceiving.
The word that comes to mind is bombarded.
How is it possible to sit still long enough, quiet enough, to formulate thoughts on something that you believe because you believe it, and not just because the idea has reached a critical mass in the zeitgeist?
I have a lot of questions.
And questions for me don't necessarily bring about answers. I don't know that I ever have answers. I rarely have that supreme definitive confidence that what I'm doing is right or correct. I have opinions, I have experience by which to make my decisions, but I don't usually feel like I have answers.
The things that made sense 5 years ago, seem to have been grounded in faulty logic. And the things that made sense 30 years ago, well, those rules no longer apply.
So what are the new rules? What is the standard by which we can base ourselves?
As mentioned before, I don't have answers. But here's what I will say:
I think there is no more standard. I think that life has become so unique and ubiquitous for everybody at the same time that the only way to handle any of it, is to figure out what works for you.
The scary thing is that's the easy part. Living with that decision publicly (whatever it may be) is the hard thing since everything we do is now subject to so much more scrutiny.
No matter what the choice nobody is going to believe in it as much as you do. And frankly thats a very hard pill to swallow for some.
It seems I am constantly waiting for the decision that will make everybody stand up in agreement cheering and raising their glasses saying "here here" and toasting me.
That's never going to happen.
So what then? Do we just toe the line, play it safe, and make the decisions we think we are supposed to?
God I hope not.
I think that is my biggest fear: That I will never really figure out how I feel about anything and that I will refuse to act without the guarantee of that knowledge and find myself in a place I don't like living a life I don't agree with.
That is the awesome "frustration" of my generation. We have been so fortunate and lucky and absolutely blessed with all of the wonderful basics in life that we have the ability to turn our attention inside.
My hierarchy of needs is at a much higher order than Maslow could have ever imagined. In fact if he read this post... he'd probably slap me.
I'm aware of that.
And I'm also aware that spending all your time thinking about something doesn't necessarily make it easier to do.
Confidence is not a house you buy. It seems more like a weekend cabin that you should be lucky enough to visit every so often. I think if we give up that fact that we will never feel 100 percent about anything, and stop; anticipating that we will, we can all operate from a much more honest place.
And even though I say that now, and I write it here, the though part is going to be maintaining that belief.
And drawing it from within the next time I try to check in.