Happy Monday! 🙂 (Hope your day& mine is pain-free)
I’ve been thinking a lot about my tendency towards silence. Actually, let’s back that up, I’ve been thinking a lot about why I am as I am and how to change some core self-beliefs. Seriously, ask yourself right now, Why am I me?
Some of us tell ourselves that we are too busy to think about such nonsense. Some of us know that it would be better for us to think about it, but are afraid of what we might learn. Some of us have asked the question, but have no answers. Some of us chuck ourselves into therapy, but with no intention finding answers, etc., etc.
You get the idea. It’s not an easy question either to consider or answer. Still, this is a question that I believe that we should try to answer throughout our lives. This brings me back to my original statement about being silent.
Just over a week ago, I moved into the place where I’ll be staying until I leave Rome on the 21st. My landlord is an amazing science fiction author, who reminds me of a cross between Bukowski and a much slimmer Santa Claus. Yesterday, he said to me, “So, is everything okay with you? I’ve not seen you for the past 10 days.” Mind you, I’ve been at home. Still, he was right. He hadn’t seen me. I had made sure of that. It wasn’t because I wanted to avoid him, but because disappearing, hiding, remaining unseen is second nature to me. I erase my presence, even when actively in the lives of others, which may be related to my object permanence issues. That, however, started way before the memories I can access.
What I do know is that growing up, my silence and lack of presence was something that was valued in my household. I did not stir the proverbial pot. When I did try to express myself, I was often shutdown and compared with others who I understood had undesirable qualities.
In other words, I was encouraged not to share my thoughts, express my feelings, interact with the world around me, have friends, and generally be a socially-adapted member of society. I’m lucky that I decided to become a therapist because I learned many of the interpersonal skills that I ought to have when I was younger.
Yet still, I have yet to unlearn that core household rule, which has become an unsettling self-belief: I must erase my presence.
And why must I erase my presence? The answer is rather simple, because the statement comes from my childhood thought: I should not speak or my family will hate me even more and I will have no home.
So, how do you undo the belief that being “present” in the lives of others means that you will lose whatever place you have? Well, I have no definitive answer, but I’ll let you in on what I am doing. 😉
What I am doing is actively giving myself permission to:
- Exist – I have the right to take up space on this planet, even if it means that others may be discomforted by that.
- Speak – I have the right to speak my personal truth, even if it dispells the myths of others.
- Love – I have the right to love and be loved just because I exist. My loving or being loved is not synonymous with my forfeiting my identity and goals in life.
- Dream – I have the right to create goals for myself separate from the desires of others. I can dream as big or as small as I want to about my life.
- Feel – I have the right to my physical and emotional experiences, even if they counter the needs of other people. If I think the sun is freaking hot today, then it’s hot. If I am sad, then I am sad. It’s that simple. No one can dictate my feelings to me.
- Be – I have the right to be whatever I am and whatever I am not. It is my choice.
I could go on for a bit longer with the list, but there you have it. This is my first step.
Perhaps this may be helpful for someone else, especially if you grew up in a highly narcissistic family environment, or what I might call a house of non-self mirrors.
Take a look at yourself today. Smile at who you are, love who you are, acknowledge you are here and no matter what you have the right to be.
Until next time,