27 February 2017

ego, paired with a dose of regret & hints of shame...

Many a teacher has said that our yoga practice is a reflection of our life - that our mat is a mirror inwards. This week, that has become even more apparent. I realize that my own insecurity in my practice and in my heart are what holds me back. After extended reflection, I can see more clearly that my ego often makes me afraid to try and from that, stems regret. Sometimes I have to sit with something a while until it makes sense to me - which has been the case with even this post, taking me close to a week to organize my thoughts.

At the studio, I often shy away from classes that I think are beyond me. However, this past week I took a Flow Fly class for the first time in an attempt to push myself out of my comfort zone. My therapist has asked me to make good on the "do something that makes me uncomfortable" intention on that darned "40 before 40" list. Sarah's intention in class was for us not to tell ourselves that we are "weak" in moments where we struggle with something, but rather to take that as an opportunity to find strength. There were a lot of poses that I couldn't get and I heard the familiar voice inside me say "you can't do this - you're not strong enough, you're not good enough." But with each breath, I could also hear Sarah say "this is where you grow," and I was determined to keep trying. This is where yoga makes me stronger - it makes me recognize my insecurities and accept them rather than hide from them. I do realize that yes I could continue my regular practice but how amazing could it be if I could, in fact, learn to fly?

Thinking back to NYE I was not expecting the kind of revelation that I received. From it, a lot of things became clearer and I recognized that I've hidden from some things long enough. Maybe it's because this is the first time I've loved again post-divorce, but this heartbreak is long to heal and I think this week I've finally realized why. First I just don't want to give up on it yet and maybe it is because I am full of regret and I don't know how to resolve that. Yet. I feel like I didn't give it a real chance because I held back. Because of my own insecurities, words I wrote were taken incorrectly and have hurt someone I love. I don't know if I can ever clear that up and that, more than anything, hurts my heart knowing that I hurt his.

Ego & regret play such a role in many areas of our life and sometimes, without reflection, we are blind to it. Our egos get in the way of us pushing past our limits. They often hold us back from doing what scares us because we are so darn afraid of failure. In life. On our mat. There is a constant struggle of holding on and letting go. It's often why we are so scared to tell others how we feel because we fear lack of reciprocation. But we shouldn't care for others only because we want it in return. We feel what we feel because it is ours to feel. I am quite free with sharing when I care with others, but I do so well aware that those sentiments may not be returned and without expectation. I will say I am happy or I love you when I feel it because I have felt the regret of missing that chance with others in my life.

Regret is not a feeling I enjoy living with. I realize that I've been quick to assign the "disconnect" in our relationship to him, yet through reflection (and a bit of external professional guidance) I realize and accept that I am equally a part of that blame. As much as he may have kept his heart guarded, I am just as guilty of holding back. My ego kept me from fully allowing him to see me and though I was sharing parts of myself, I was guarded. My battered ego brought out the feeling of judgement - self-judgement - on not being "enough". Not at all because he made me feel this way, but because I was in such a place that I didn't feel as though I deserved someone like him.
I remember writing in my journal sometime mid-summer that I wished I could just talk with him all day and all night. I wished that I could tell him everything and I wished I could listen to all of his stories, his thoughts, his memories. Thinking that we had forever, I felt no need to rush - I assumed that I had so much time to tell him. I regret taking that time for granted.

I find strength in written words, however I often hid behind them. I am sometimes hesitant to verbalize what I feel or what I am thinking because I know that I can't do so without breaking down or remaining stoic. I'm learning more of why that is, of why I have this constant need to be perceived as strong and that is a story for another day. If I had the chance to say them, my apology would be something like this...

I don't know how to put into words the feeling of absolute shame and foolishness that one feels when they have been cheated on, over and over again, seeing the signs and being naive to the excuses. It's like you never want to look someone in the eye again because you wonder if they are judging you. Obviously I was not a good enough wife or a good enough girlfriend because I was cheated on. How did someone I love, someone I pledged my life to, play me for a fool? A decade of lies with one man. Then the few others post divorce treated me just as badly. However, there truly was not ever a moment where I doubted JC - never. For the absolute first time in my adult life I completely trusted someone again. And that was something I never thought I would feel. Before him, I resigned myself to never wanting to ever marry someone again because I was sure that I never feel that trust again but there he was... And for the first time in a very long time I believed. But in the moments where I felt insecure, I held back rather than just sharing that with him. My insecurity was my demon. I don't know if it would have changed anything but I would have asked more questions which I think would have put myself at ease. I tried to keep the serious conversations to a minimum out of respect of his request to go slow.

When things ended, it came completely out of the blue to me and I wondered how I could be feeling like everything was happy and then bam it's just done. Was I completely off base? Was I a total fool for thinking that he was falling in love with me? The first question out of everyone's mouth was "what happened? is there someone else?" and my answer was easily "No, that is not him." Even when Cheryl told me about Shelley thinking that him and her were something, I easily dismissed it knowing that it was probably just his sweetness being misconstrued. But as I tried to make sense of it all my ego got in the way. My ego whispered "Don't be a fool again. If you say it first, then you won't look like an idiot. So even though 99.9% of me was certain that it was just him pulling away and not another woman, I put that guard up by saying that "maybe there was someone else he saw himself with." The catch is I never actually thought there was another person or that he was ever unfaithful but I simply felt hurt in that possibly as he got to know me more, it made him realize that he wanted someone different than I was. I can now see that it implied I thought there was someone else and I feel absolutely horrible about that. How do you let someone you love think that you questioned their integrity? Even when I asked about the girl he was visiting in China, I didn't ask because I thought that he was with her while we were together. I asked to clarify if it was the beginning of something because I was still holding on to hope of us finding our way back together. There was still such a connection between us at the time and to be honest I thought that we just needed to step back a little. I asked about her because if there was something I wanted to respect his moving on and allow myself to finally accept that we were over. He had every right to be with whomever he wanted. But instead I offended him.

Today it felt like Nena was inside of my head with her intention but it was a reminder that sometimes things are revealed to us, in moments where we least expect them and only once we've quieted our mind to allow the lessons to come. I suppose that the only thing I can take from these regrets is to recognize them as learning experiences:

1. I have to be me. I was so worried that he would look at us and see differences, that I held back. I am clumsy and silly and oddly competitive, though a really good sport. I am outgoing and introverted at the same time. I am going to want to take care of you, snuggle next to you and sing at the top of my lungs in the car. I want a partner to see me, all of me, and love that girl.

2. Stop being afraid. I need to trust in myself and my own strength. I was afraid to fall because it scared the crap out of me that I possibly wouldn't be able to get back up again. I've been kicked down a lot in life and you know what, I've gotten up every time. Sometimes slower, sometimes with caution but I have risen. I need to have faith in myself that given this track record, I'm pretty fucking resilient.

3. Cut myself a little slack. Last year was the end to a crazy decade and I need to accept that things have happened through my life that have given me these insecurities. Rather than hide from them or try to hide them from others, I need to accept them and be honest about them. They are now a part of me and no one is perfect.

4. People can leave our lives but their lessons stay. All of a sudden it seems as though there is a wall - it certainly didn't exist for the months post breakup when we still talked almost daily and stayed connected. But now there is a definite boundary and as much as I would like to continue a friendship, I don't know if that is the case for him and I suppose I just need to accept that. If I don't get to have him in my life going forward, all the wonderful things he taught me in this past year will still remain with me. I am forever thankful for this heart experience.

5. Sometimes we have to forgive ourselves too. For too long, I blamed myself for things way beyond me. My dad's father left our family = I wasn't enough. Tim was unfaithful to me = I let it happen. I. Was. A. Fool. One man I dated insisted no one could know we were together & cheated constantly = I allowed this treatment. These are not my indiscretions, I cannot accept the blame. Forgiveness of self, it's time.

6. Look forward. As someone once said, there is a reason why the rear-view mirror is small and the windshield is large, it is proportionate to the importance of future vs. past. Stay present every day and look forward at all the wonderful possibility of life ahead of us.

7. Do things that make us uncomfortable - it's how we grow into better people. Challenge ourselves, face fears and accept that we may fail. It is in the attempt - in the moment of uncomfort where we question our strength - that truly, we find the opportunity to grow.

8. Don't hold back. I feel like I need this tattooed somewhere ugh because I seem to keep forgetting. Be the amazing, wonderful human that you are - with every imperfection and with every scar. No one can choose you if you don't allow them to see you. Just be.

9. When in doubt, get on your mat. Take a moment of stillness and allow the truth to reveal itself to you.

10. Don't be afraid to make a mistake. I was so afraid after Tim to choose "wrong" again that I just never chose anyone at all. I dated men that were completely wrong for me because somewhere inside of me there was this feeling that if I knew it could never be, then it wouldn't be me making the wrong choice again.

Until JC I never imagined that I would ever want to share my life with someone again - I never thought I could ever trust another man with my heart because I thought I would always be suspect. Not once did I doubt his loyalty or his integrity. I think of all the regrets I currently have in my heart, him feeling as though I doubted him is the worst of them all. I walked out of a meeting on Friday with this feeling of contentment - of knowing that I was in the right place and that all of these choices and endings brought me to where I exactly needed to be. I felt great and happy and empowered. And then I felt sad. Sad because the first person I wanted to call and share it with was him. I miss him as my person, as my friend - that may be the hardest part to let go of. I hate that I'm not a part of his day any more, I'm barely a part of his life. I do honestly only want love and happiness for him because there is no one I've met yet in my life that I think deserves that more. Someone who deserves to be chosen. I hope that he finds whomever it is that makes his heart come alive. Eventually I will stop wishing that it was me.

I realize that everything needs to happen as it does because if it didn't, I likely wouldn't be here in the place that I am now learning even more about myself. I will keep coming to my yoga practice with the intention of taking those moments of vulnerability with the hope that I keep pushing further and allow my mat to be the mirror. To find those moments of stillness where the emotions rush out and tears cleanse the soul. To allow for the possibility of falling but all the while knowing that the same possibility for flight exists. Sometimes it is in learning to trust ourselves again, that we then can fathom trusting others in the same manner. Every moment is lesson. xo

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