Our flaws make us human and whole. Quiet the inner critic.

For years – well into my adult life actually – I believed other peoples’ criticism of me.  Of course, this started when I was a child.  I was “too slow”, “daydreamed too much” and “not good enough”.  This from my mother.  

“You’re definitely an introvert”.  “Antisocial”.  These from classmates in high school.

“You need to be social” this from an ex-boyfriend.

“You’re high-maintenance”. “Quirky”. From another ex-boyfriend.

“So sensitive!” from a coworker.

My whole life I thought I was deeply flawed because of all these things people said to and about me.  I never felt like I fit in – I was lonely.  Turns out – after much reflection, lots of therapy, and lots of reading – I am merely an empath.  I’m deeply sensitive, I’m a dreamer, I’m an idealist, an introvert, and I was always good enough in ways that are unique and beyond the understanding of most of the human population.  I am no more flawed than the next person.

But with every human mistake, I have ever made I felt like a failure.  Because I already felt so flawed I didn’t give myself any room for mistakes.  With every break-up, error in judgment, and time I was irritable I felt worse and worse about myself.  I lived to prove other people wrong about me.  That I was enough.  That I was cool; that I was social.  I spent a lot of energy being someone I was not – and becoming stressed, resentful, impatient, irritable, and eventually suffering from General Anxiety Disorder which often resulted in panic.  Panic for days and weeks at a time.  I was trying to be the “perfect” person to everyone around me.  Eventually, this will catch up with anyone.

With the COVID-19 crisis and working in healthcare – things came to a scary point.  Working with increased work volume, with a pandemic where no one knew what was coming.  I began to feel even worse panic.  With a couple of bullying coworkers and my sliding mental and emotional state, I started seeing no way out alive.

I ended up in the Employee Health services in the middle of a panic attack.  I am now receiving counseling.  I have connected with HR representatives about the bullying culture within my department.

Through all the criticism (both externally and subsequently internally) and through all the bullying I have somehow survived.  I have turned up for work feeling like there was no way I was going to survive another day.  With my innate emotional sensitivity and everything I’ve been through at work over 13 years, I am exhausted.  But I feel hopeful for my future.  I feel that I now have room for human mistakes because there is nothing really wrong with me.  I am just a unique individual who never understood herself and how to cope with her sensitivities.

Yes – I am sensitive.  Yes – I am an introvert. And yes – I am and always was – good enough!

 I’ve learned a lot about myself through guided meditations over the last few weeks.  Still using the Calm app.  It’s uncanny how it just seems to know what will speak to me with the Daily Meditation.  It has been about 3 weeks now!

May we all be bodhisattva-warriors

When we sit in meditation is it for our own benefit? Yes. Does this seem selfish? On the surface, it may seem so.  However, when we sit in loving kindness for our own self we practice self-love.  When we start to care for our own self and acknowledge that we as individuals deserve kindness and respect, we create an outward ripple effect; a positive ripple effect.  We are all connected. An injustice to one person also has a ripple effect; a negative ripple effect.  Social media and news serve to connect us and let us know when one person is hurting.  It also serves to fuel anger, resentment, and hate.

When I woke up this morning I felt anger and sadness – residual effects from yesterday’s abysmal news of yet another death at the hands of law enforcement.  Other news stories and the current state of our divided communities here in the United States also affected my mood.  This country is a place I currently do not recognize.  I feel anger, fear, sadness, and a little hopeless that we are sinking into chaos and disunity.

I’m a new meditation practicer and with my Calm app, I usually do the daily meditation in the morning upon waking up and then another one before I go to bed in the evening.  I did not feel in the mood for it at all this morning.  And honestly, I wrestled with my mind for most of it.  Why am I sitting here trying to do this when there is so much unrest and suffering?  I learned a new term – Bodhisattva.

The bodhisattva is someone who vows to share the benefits of their meditation practice with all living beings.  The suffering of others is not really separate from our own.  We all know how one person’s rude remark can impact us – perhaps for a day – perhaps it triggers a deep-seated hurt.  In turn, this can make us cranky towards others and so on it goes – a ripple effect of negativity.  So when we choose to sit in meditation and get quiet – take a beat and sit with our emotions we may not feel the peace we desire immediately but it starts to move us there. There is an intention set in us to perhaps go out into the world again and to try and be kinder to those we come into contact with; to try and practice more patience and respect with each other.  If we can help make someone else’s day less painful then they, in turn, will not be as likely to snap at the next person.

The term bodhisattva is rooted in Buddhism and describes an individual who has reached enlightenment and serves to help others also reach enlightenment. An individual who cultivates empathy, awareness, and compassion for all living beings.