I have noticed a major shift in my mindset and behaviors as of this past week. While I know it is partially due to the warmer weather, it’s also because of a sad truth I recently acknowledged:
I have a difficult time letting love in.
Throughout my life I have been fearful of rejection, scared of abandonment and nervous about what other people think of me. It’s just easier to keep people at a distance- that way I can’t get hurt. Since noticing this character defect and result of childhood trauma, I have felt a sense of relief- now I know what to focus on!
I caught myself doing this a few times recently, despite acknowledging my isolating patterns. On Easter Sunday, my roommate invited to her parent’s home in New Hampshire for dinner. Instead, I took long walks alone and felt sorry for myself. The following week, a few friends were going out to lunch after a gathering- and I slid out the door instead of joining.
Why do I punish myself? Do I not think I deserve friendship, kindness and love? Well, until maybe this past week, I didn’t. I have been shamed enough times to lose sight of my value to the world- but I know this is merely a cognitive distortion.
As a result of my isolation findings (and feeling completely goofy for avoiding human contact and friendship), I decided to push myself and begin to regularly participate. The keyword: regularly. Not for a little while, not until I feel better- I must consistently put myself out there and allow friendship and support into my life. If I don’t, I can go back to the monkey mind very quickly.
Until recently I thought I could do everything on my own, or get a “quick fix” for my problems- but that never worked. It was time to change my ways and truly learn to live. So, this past week I started meeting some friends for coffee on my way to work. Every morning, 7AM, Harvard Square. Not only has it helped start the day on the right foot, I have gained some wonderful wisdom to share.
Uncertainty doesn’t have to be scary- in fact, often times the unknown is much better than what you’ve come up with in your own mind. I loved this- “turn your anxiety into adventure.”
Today I am grateful to be willing and open to change- and instead of feeling anxious about the future, my newfound support system has helped me to believe in the joy of the journey- and this time, I don’t have to walk alone.