It is important to recognize (as I obliquely alluded to in the previous post, #137), that when you are “working on self-improvement” in whatever way you are, even “failure” isn’t failure. I truly mean that, not as some cliché but as a deeply-felt truth.
Because “working on self-improvement”, even when it “fails”, keeps you open, keeps hope alive; possibly in your darkest moments it keeps you from completely falling through the cracks and being swallowed by the abyss. And hey, if one outcome of “trying to self-improve” is simply to keep you alive, then that is no small thing.
Keeping an open mind & heart is one of the most fundamental necessities of a healthy life, and of wisdom in general. It seems terribly difficult for people, especially some people, to do this, to accept the uncertainty of opening to new ways of thinking, or to appreciate values, lifestyles, beliefs, that are different from their own.
But there is true, existential Value in keeping yourself open to the New. A learning-orientation, embracing the New for the possibilities it brings, keeps you focused on the future, on POTENTIAL. New avenues do not need to feel threatening. They could even be exciting!
It all depends on one’s inner orientation. Are you aimed at “security” or “discovery”? Because the solution to the threat of the unknown, is to approach it with curiousity.
The solution to fear, in general, is love. This is true for how we could best approach our own shadow-parts, and it is true for how we could best approach the fear-based reactions out there in the world.
Love is the only solution.
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Falling, and Getting Up
When you’re struggling, it can be so easy to feel like a failure,
like you are fundamentally and holistically broken.
You feel that YOU are “Wrong”, your existence, your essence, is “Wrong”.
And you try, for as long as you can.
And then…. You. Just. Fucking. Can’t….
But when you hit bottom for the umpteenth time (it doesn’t matter how many), if/when you do eventually get back up, and try again, you are a Big Damn Hero. And I really mean that.
Even if you don’t get up right away. Even if it takes years. Because real life does not (usually) happen like the movies. The Hero doesn’t have their Grand Epiphany and then go through a kick-ass ninja training montage and turn themselves into a Warrior for Good, in like, a week.
Sure, that’d be super-cool, and sure, that is basically what my own, unhealthy, “Radical Self Improvement Fantasy” has always looked like.
I’ve been waiting for my “training montage” to happen forever. But real life, at least my real life, isn’t like that. When you have a Grand Epiphany, it usually fades and amounts to nothing. When you fall, you don’t always get back up right away. Sometimes you lay there for a long time. Sometimes you give up for a time, and life gets…dark.
But if you get up eventually, EVENTUALLY, it doesn’t matter when, then I’ll say it again – you are a Big Damn Hero.
So I do take credit for my healing. Partial credit anyway. Because I worked my ass off to get in touch with myself, to work through childhood shit and, you know, ‘all that stuff’. It feels good, I admit, to see my own Big Damn Heroism, in this sense. And it feels good to be honest about that.
I spent a lot of time knocked down. And I got back up.
* * * * *
To whoever is reading this; if you are near the end of your own rope, I hope that something connects you to that spark inside, that part of you that still wishes, still hopes, still loves, still appreciates moments of humour or beauty, still hangs on for some reason. Your inner fire is still burning, because you are still alive, and there is, I absolutely guarantee this, a lovely person ‘in there somewhere’. You have wonderful things to offer the world, and the world in return, has wonderful things to offer to you.
Just keep rolling those Wisdom saving throws. A “20” comes up eventually.
Much love. 💖