“I want peace. I want to see if somewhere there isn’t something left in life of charm and grace.” -Margaret Mitchell
Life sure is funny. Just when I was beginning to feel strong standing on my own two feet, the universe threw me a curve ball to test (and strengthen) my skills and strength.
This past weekend was challenging. Despite the joy I was experiencing, the wonderful community I have found and my own practice of self care, outside forces triggered past pain and emotions- and this scared me. Instead of self destructing as I have in the past, I took a deep breath, sat on a bench and called a friend.
Setting healthy boundaries has been a huge part of my own happiness and recovery, as I have experienced insecurities, pain and fear due to the messages I have received throughout my life. This includes family members, teachers, peers, boyfriends and even public figures. I have consistently questioned my worth, second guessed myself and backed down when I began to achieve some form of success. I had no confidence- if what I was doing wasn’t “perfect” it wasn’t worth doing. My self esteem and foundation were always a bit rocky, but old feelings of fear crept up on me when someone’s criticism and judgment set me off out of nowhere.
The defensive Kristin came back- and it was extremely uncomfortable.
I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder toward people who try to dominate me, thus acting out and being overly defensive and aggressive. I have held on tightly to this defense mechanism through the years, only to realize how awful it made me feel. I remembered traumatic experiences- bullying, sexist messages, abandonment and physical abuse. I have kept all of this inside for years. Had I been acting out for decades without realizing it? Yes, I had. It just took me thirty-some years to learn it.
After speaking with friends about traumas I suppressed (and failed to recognize as abuse- I thought it was all my fault), I am grateful for these triggers. Old feelings of shame came to the forefront, and I was able to meditate on these uneasy feelings. So, as always, I walked to the water for solace.
Water brings me such peace. It is the closest way for me to connect with my higher power, so on Sunday I meditated on a rock and prayed for the courage and grace to get through the day.
I received just that- strength and hope. I faced the day with grace, not aggression, and everything worked out just fine. I tried not to let the negative messages affect my mood, so after leaving the pond I turned my negative energy into productivity. Since art and writing has always brought me peace, I decided to stock up on art supplies to paint inspirational messages for my friends. I’ve received endless love, compassion and hope from the friends I have made in Boston, so instead of living in my one-woman pity party, I decided to give the love back to those who have helped me.
As I go about my Monday, I will remember the feeling of peace and serenity I experienced by Spy Pond. When I walk with grace, the world is a little lighter, a little freer. If you’re also experiencing some aggravation, try a meditation to bring you back to center. Remember, your true home is within you- everything outside of yourself is not in your control- but you can control how you react. Once you’re able to manage outside factors with grace, not aggression, you will feel better- I promise.