Expanding The Self
As I’ve mentioned in my last few posts, I’ve gone from being in a bit of slump to realizing that I was losing focus on my core self while also gaining a better understanding of one of my kinks. As weeks go, that’s a broad spectrum to cover, and no journey so diverse would be complete without some introspection and self-discovery. Enlightenment isn’t quite the correct term, as I still feel very much the philosophical and introspective novice, but some of my realizations have been enlightening. My goal now is to take some of these new understandings and put them into proper practice.
My biggest failing, and one for which I cannot pass any blame, is that I do not take enough initiative in communicating. I passively wait for others to reach out to me, believing that somehow they will innately know that something is on my mind or that I just feel like chatting. In trying to understand this behavior I believe I found part of the root cause; I often feel, and have felt for years, undeserving of time and attention. Mrs. AP would staunchly, strongly, even vehemently oppose me on this idea. She would tell me I am insane to think such things. I know she’s right, of course, but knowing she’s right and believing deep down to the core that such thoughts are unfounded and need to be banished are two separate things. This is something that, looking back on, I have been struggling with since earlier childhood. I have to willfully and retrain myself in two ways; to deliberately reach out and instigate conversation more often, and to both proactively and reactively change my thought processes to rid myself of this conditioning. Both will be uncomfortable processes, but I have Mrs. AP to help me and hold me when I need it.
My second failing, or if not failing at least personality flaw, is that I personalize and internalize harmless comments as directed criticism. Something seemingly innocuous, such as somebody I know going out for drinks with friends, devolves into me wondering why I wasn’t invited, which leads to me thinking I’m not good enough to be invited, which crescendos in me believing I’m unworthy or time and attention (as mentioned above). To break this, I know I need to stop personalizing and internalizing every comment and feeding the incorrect perception that somebody is talking about me all the time. I need to practice better understanding that a comment is just a comment, neither meant for nor about me unless specifically stated so.
Also, I need to practice happiness more. His Holiness The Dalai Lama says “Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” He also says “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” I draw from these two statements that to be happy, to live a happy life, I must take the focus off myself and place it on others, to work toward making them happy. In my daily life, this focus must be on Mrs. AP and our family. As we expand our social circle, thus too will expand those I seek to make happy. Now, this is not to say I will abandon myself, my needs or desires, in complete sacrifice to others. I have done that before, and such a path also leads to unhappiness. No, the balance I seek will, I believe, be found in striving to make others happy while also taking responsibility for, and communicating, my own needs and desires.
I must also take action to help ensure my needs and desires are met. This begins with communicating them, obviously, and expressing not only what I want but also why I want that thing. Beyond this communication, though, lies action. If I say I want a better job, I need to act on it. If I say I want to get in better shape, I should take the steps to do so. So when I say I need to put the focus on others, my deeds need to match those words to move forward.
I will seek out others of my kind — here in the interconnected world of bloggers, in the community websites like FetLife, et cetera — and I will begin conversation with them, if for no other reason than to force myself to expand. I will share with Mrs. AP my thoughts, my fears, my desires, and my reaction to things before she prompts me for them. I will work toward making a happy family and happy friends.
I will expand, however uncomfortably, and be better for it.
Stay SINful, friends.