Letting Love In

 

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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.

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Boston: Chapter Two

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It has been about five months since I started this blog, just six days after I took a one-way flight to Boston.  Prior to coming here I had no idea what my plan was- after over two years in New York City, a failed attempt at trying out Chicago (just not for me), and finally taking a much-needed month long reset in Mississippi, I followed my intuition and spiritual guides… and found myself back on the East Coast.  It feels wonderful to be on the water, where I belong… where I feel at peace.

Over the years I have had a lot of shame in telling my story, but now I finally feel ready to free myself of this.  People often look at me strangely when I explain the past decade of my life.  Somehow, for some reason, it’s unfathomable for a 20-something year old from the Midwest to have lived in various cities across the US.  They can’t wrap their heads around the fact that I’ve tried different types of jobs, been in several different relationships, and lived in the North, South, East and West.  Most of society seems to enjoy consistency and stability.  Personally, I like to challenge myself- and what better time to learn who you are than when you’re young and unattached?  I am always searching, always seeking a deeper purpose or meaning.  That’s just me.

Back in November, I had no idea what I would find in Boston.  I didn’t know where I would work, where I would live, who I would be friends with or how I would fill my spare time, but I knew it would work.  This time it just had to.

I absolutely love it here.  While it has taken me some time to get comfortable with my surroundings and develop a community, I am finally feeling more at home.  Recently I realized that despite my wonderful surroundings, I still have a lot of work to do on myself- and I am just figuring out the root of my issue.

I need to love myself more- for you can’t truly love something else until you love yourself.

This next chapter of my life isn’t so much about working on what’s happening on the outside, but focusing on the inside.  Once I am comfortable in my own home- within myself- I know that my mind will be much more at ease, and I’ll be able to give more to others.  We all have a purpose, and my current mission is to “clean house” and get rid of the negative self-talk, cognitive distortions and my warped self-esteem that holds me back.  I must let go of my fears- whether it is abandonment, shame or pride, and learn to finally believe in myself the way the ones I love do.

Here’s to the next chapter and a clean house- both physically and mentally.

“Peace comes from within. Don’t seek it without.” -Buddha

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Quieting Your Inner Critic

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Happy Monday!  It was a beautiful weekend in Boston (after Saturday’s April showers) to enjoy the park, meditate by the water and enjoy coffee with friends.  After a 12 mile walk through Arlington, Cambridge and Beacon Hill, I finally settled in for a relaxing evening with no signs of the “Sunday Scaries.”  You know, that uneasy feeling in your gut as the weekend is coming to an end and thoughts of the work week creep over you.

This Monday morning was different than Mondays in the past.  After practicing a new morning mantra and changing up my routine a bit, I didn’t experience my usual anxious, fearful feeling.  Instead, I reached a moment of clarity:

Whatever will be will be… and I can handle it.

So, I got up at 5:30, got in the shower and meditated before I headed out to meet a group of ladies over coffee.  It was wonderful to share where we’re at today and to learn a little bit from each experience- part of my newfound attitude adjustment is thanks to finally learning to participate instead of going to my default setting: isolation.  Listening and learning from others has been both helpful and grounding- taking the focus off myself by having compassion for others has also been extremely rewarding and makes life so much more meaningful.  After having such a great time, I wondered, “why do I isolate?” I came to a very harsh and true conclusion: I question my worth or value to others.  What do I bring to the table?

Why would anyone self sabotage on purpose?

That brings me to a spiritual experience I had over the weekend.  After a lovely day of exploring in nature, I spent some time at the library- a safe, happy place for me.  I love walking in with an intention and stumbling on exactly what I didn’t know I was looking for. I have been trying to be easier on myself, so this book by Mark Coleman was the perfect find.

What I haven’t realized is that in order to move forward, I need freedom from my worst critic- myself.  My brain is what continues to tell me I am not capable or not enough.  My brain questions my actions, my worth and my capabilities.

It’s time to quiet that inner critic!

While I am not 100% satisfied with certain aspects of my life, every day gets better- and it isn’t due to circumstances, it’s due to my perspective.  I’ve stopped looking outward for happiness and validation and am finally focusing on what’s inside- and that includes being kinder to myself.  I also have to realize that I have only been in Boston for shy of five months- it takes time to get settled.  Magic doesn’t happen overnight- but with hard work each day, miracles show themselves over time.

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