yinshubackup: (dharma bum)
[personal profile] yinshubackup

I'd been trying to think of how to respond to your post all day yesterday- because it so resonates with me that... I don't know how to give you any useful advice on rising above it. Then I started writing last night but it became a terrible ramble. So I'mma try one more time.

I don't think I've a right to try and tell you you're wrong in any of these perceptions- people ARE asshats and people ARE careless and selfish and nobody ever does take as good care of your soul as you can, once you realize its worth. Sure lovers and good friends will be there for you often, but only you can put up with/accept/love/loathe/manage/pep talk/ yourself every waking and dreaming millisecond. I feel like...to ask another Soul to care and bear the full weight of my own soul is a burden I don't have the right to ask, because we're all here to learn our own lessons inside our own skin-- I guess that's the curse of being physically human, is that we have to be aware of our separateness all our human lives.
I guess maybe our concept of "soulmates" comes the closest to being another entity you could trust with the weight of your own Self-- because they initiate the burden sharing, i.e., you didn't have to ask what you didn't have the right to ask, because their support is a gift. Of course, then you have to trust them enough/swallow your pride enough to let down your walls and accept that gift.
And then, if you're anything like me, your doubts still niggle at the back of your mind until you find yourself itching to play little games to make them prove their promise at regular intervals. And we're back to square one, distrust.

I know myself well enough now to put the brakes on whenever I realize my insecurity is about to make me do something needlessly stupid or attention whoring, but sometimes it's hard enough to realize I'm even going there, let alone to tell my anxious inner 6 year old to 'just wait patiently; they're really not going to let me down this time' when I have to admit I'm not really as sure as I'm trying to feel.
And I still hang back from calling people, or trying to invite them to do anything with me or inviting myself to do anything with them, unless I have a good "reason".
I figure I'm weird/eccentric, I'm not as desirable company as some others who will enable childish or stupid "party" behavior, I'm not that attractive, I'm not as interesting as they are, we disagree on politics, no one is really going to take a break from caring about themselves so much to really caring about what I think is fun or interesting to do, so why would I want to spoil their fun....whatever. The list goes on and on.
And the evidence in my life bears it out- people often come to me with serious problems, but they don't usually just invite me to random stuff or think of me when they're just "hanging out". So I figure they don't want to be bothered, so why put myself out there when I'm not wanted? Not pity-partying, just being realistic. I'd rather keep to myself and amuse myself- it's easier than worrying about whether I'm good enough for them the whole time.
I'm trying to get better about initiating contact- it always surprises me when I plan something and invite people and they say yes! But I don't always think about it, and I usually operate on the assumption that if they wanted to do something with me, they'd call. I know that's not always fair, cause it works both ways- they're probably thinking that if I wanted to do something with them, I'd call. I just need to jump in there and not care so much where the chips fall. I need to call people, or invite people to do stuff more, and just start my rampant assumptions at the point in the mental chain that says, I'll offer first, and if they DON'T want to hang out with me, they'd say no, or make up some excuse to get off the phone, or whatever.
And then I gotta be prepared to take some rejections, and keep on ticking. But that's the rub- I know it's inevitable I will get some rejections, so sometimes the fear of that makes it easier for me to stay insular and say to myself, "I'll wait for them to reach out to *me*, that way I know they actually want me around." And that's just... from years of social learning.

So... my point is, I think your distrust is understandable and acceptable, because a lot of us learn from an early age not to touch hot stoves the hard way, and unless we grew up in an extremely copasetic cult-like peaceful community, all of us eventually get our hearts broken and our trust burned by some fool or another, or several of them in succession, and hopefully instead of wallowing in the moment for years, we learn to apply better judgement and foresight in a pre-emptive style of self-defense.
This strategic social maneuvering is the curse of the self-aware (don't call, they don't want to be bothered. Don't stick out weirdly. Don't wear out your welcome. Don't be the safety monkey. Don't trust them, whatever you do- they'll just burn you. Remember last time?) but as you've pointed out, it's based on empirical evidence and borne out to be a viable survival strategy over time. Many of us have this same perception, if the replies to your post are any indication.

So I don't think there's anything particularly wrong with self-defensive coping mechanisms- they are learned behaviors based on the sum of our experiences, and since humans are flawed, it's rare for a human to experience a perfectly smooth life- why wouldn't we get some weird ideas on how to Deal With It All along the way?

But this is all my jaded perception, and I'm sure your therapist might cringe at my enabling of your general distrust of humanity. So I apologize.
And now I will offer the other side of the coin, the only thing that keeps me going at times- the knowledge that Love & Fear are, to me, Universal opposites.

I know, when I distrust a person, that I am coming from a place of fear. Fear that they'll burn me. Fear that they'll do what they did last time, or what every other person did last time, or that again, I'll be the odd (wo)man out, and nobody's fault but my own, 'cause I should have known better.

I know enough about myself to know that although I have a natural tendency to hold onto my fears, I don't want to be Fear-based being. And by "I", I mean, the full weight of my sentient Self, my Will, my Intent, is not to be a Fear-based being, but a Love-based being.
This is a conscious choice, and it's a choice I have to keep choosing over and over again, day after day.
I choose to be compassionate. I choose to see the good in people wherever I can. I choose to know that, yes, there is a high probability that people will hurt me, and yes, I am going to leave myself open to that- for two reasons:

1) I know it's unlikely, but with every new person, there's a chance that they won't screw me over after all. And I'm a masochistic optimist- I think Real Love is not afraid to take a gamble on the worth of experiencing shared Love with another soul- whether that's expressed as friendship or sex or soulmate-ness or whatever. Love is so sweet, so worth experiencing, that to me it's worth the potential pain just to experience it, and sow more seeds of it in this world while I still live and breathe on this rock, because- I seriously can't think of anything better to do with my time here.
Sometimes I think Humanity is a grand experiment that God(dess) is sitting up there watching, not really expecting it to work out, hearing naysaying angels and entities on all sides, but She's betting on the underdog anyway because... it makes Eternity more interesting. And wouldn't victory be sweet?
Myself, I've gambled on a lot of broken people- I'm gambling on a couple right now. And every time I've won someone over, victory is very sweet. Because now the Love is amplifed and multiplied between us. And yeah, every time I've lost someone, it hurts, but I don't let it continually eat at me because- like this old centenarian said once in an interview, "there are always more people to Love." I always have another opportunity to practice being Who I Intend To Be. I try to focus on that, rather than dwell on any personal injury I've received, because I know I'll survive: Love heals.

It's like that thing Mother Teresa wrote,
"People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway."

It may be irrational to behave this way, but I figure it's my life, and in fully owning that and making sentient decisions about who I want to be, I can be a crazy stubborn git if I want to. I can love people anyway, unconditionally. And no one can really stop me, heh.

2) This is my zen reason, and I realize it's going to sound a little weird, but: Behind my "desire to Love", an even deeper truth is that... I don't exist. I am an illusion, and in the end, the consciousness I retain, the ego that keeps me in existence from moment to moment, will tire, and accept that I'm just part of the Universal Whole, and I will return to the source- 'achieve Nirvana' or 'jump back into the cosmic soup pot' or whatever. I'm just an ephemeral piece of the Universe retaining a singular consciousness for a short while. You can't hurt something that doesn't exist. I remind myself that my fear/distrust is from my ego, my ego which tells me I have something to be afraid about, because I have something worth "protecting". In a very Buddhist sense, I have nothing worth protecting- not because I'm unworthy, but because I'm not really there. When I am mindful of the fact that asshats hurting "me" are really just lashing out at an illusion, I regain control of how deep I want to involve my consciousness in our shared illusion- my abuser and I. Real Pain is experienced because I'm allowing myself to be "In My Body" or "In the moment", but there is documented research showing case studies of people with focused minds who can endure everything from monks melting cold snow with their naked bodies to enduring painful ritual cutting and piercing to enduring real torture (like some of the training the CIA gives operatives).
I mean, I'm not that good (yet?), but I know there's an obvious internal difference between someone who screams like a girl when they get a paper cut, and someone who can endure amputating their own leg on a battlefield, and that difference is- mental awareness and direction of focus. It's how martyrs have died with compassionate words on their lips. I'm not saying "blaming the victim" is okay, but I am saying... I know we humans are stronger and more resilient than we often think we are, and the difference is a conscious choice to keep the mind and heart flexible and ephemeral. I try to be mindful of this. I don't always succeed, but I try.

If someone does me wrong, and I can't get over it easily, I try to meditate on it, like... first I try to explore my motives and responsibilities as far as they contributed to the situation, and then release the other person's part back to the Universe- not my problem. I trust that they will earn and receive their own Karmic fallout from their part in it eventually.
Then, whether I feel like I contributed, or was unfairly victimized, I try to glean whatever lesson I can from it. I try to figure out how this experience has changed me, or will continue to change me, and if those are changes I want to allow in myself or not, and why.
And then... I know this sounds ridiculously crazy, but- I actually try to feel gratitude for the part the other person played in helping me learn this lesson. I sort of imagine like they're handing me a Rubik's cube for me to solve, and in solving it, my soul grows stronger/wiser/more resilient. I try to imagine us beyond the veil, before we incarnated in this lifetime, making pacts to be present in each other's lives for certain "scenes". I know it's silly, because as much as I'd like to believe in reincarnation- of course we have no scientific proof of it. But the visualization seems to help anyway.
Then I try to strip away all the circumstances and visualize putting the gory details in a locked box where they can't hurt me (maybe I'll go back and have a look through the box once my wounds have scarred over, but it allows me to move on and start the initial healing process), or just... closing that chapter in the imaginary book of my life.
It doesn't always work, but that usually means I haven't finished internally processing the lesson yet.

I'm not perfect. I have a lot of insecurities. I still fail, I still put up defensive walls, I still protect myself more than I would ideally want, but I am striving to be more open and compassionate, and I figure it will be a life-long process of daily choosing to be Love-based rather than Fear-based.
And I figure... that's sort of all the Universe can expect from one human being.

I dunno if this helps you at all, but it's sort of how I deal with things, so... hope it made some sense.

Date: 2008-06-24 06:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lys1022.livejournal.com
I don't know if it helped Cluegirl at all, but I needed it today.

Thank you, hon. *HUG*

Date: 2008-06-24 06:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] katjabee.livejournal.com
I second that - though your icon makes me feel all squicky! :-)

Date: 2008-06-25 12:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yinshu.livejournal.com
*lol* *hugs da katjabee* It's okay, we won't let the nasty olives get you!

Date: 2008-06-25 12:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yinshu.livejournal.com
You're welcome. *hugs you back* :) glad my eccentricity is useful to some people.

Date: 2008-06-24 07:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] olivetree.livejournal.com
Thank you, thank you, thank you, for the many reminders.


Date: 2008-06-25 12:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] olivetree.livejournal.com
Actually, would you consider unlocking this, even if only for a day? [livejournal.com profile] xfieryphoenix could really use these words today.

Date: 2008-06-25 12:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yinshu.livejournal.com
*nods* done.

Date: 2008-06-25 12:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yinshu.livejournal.com
you're welcome! *lol* uhm... welcome to mah Crazy (tm)?

Date: 2008-06-25 12:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] olivetree.livejournal.com
I think your flavor of weird is very similar to my flavor of weird. *nodnod*

Date: 2008-06-24 09:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cluegirl.livejournal.com
It does help -- mostly from the standpoint that it's yet another 'yeah, I get that too,' and that's helping to put the sense of dysfunction into perspective.

For myself, between yesterday and today nothing much has changed in my understanding of the matter I blogged about, just in my mental relationship to it, if that makes sense.

I've realized that the reason I profile people is in order to better predict them. I am, to general purposes, a social card-counter. I play in the same game, at the same table, but I've lost enough that I've managed to put together a formula that's pretty good at overcoming the odds, when used right. That formula is profiling, and I do it to everyone I meet, so I can try not to be too surprised by what they throw onto the table from hand to hand.

And sometimes I miscount, and sometimes the house still wins, but my experience has given me a far shrewder tool for navigating the sea of self-absorbed, mindlessly destructive mob of apes that is humanity, and if I paid for that at the cost of my ability to blindly trust? Well, I'd better just make good use of it, right?

Date: 2008-06-25 12:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yinshu.livejournal.com
Well... yes, in essence, you've got a survival formula, and I think that's not necessarily an unhealthy thing. The key is to keep it a versatile formula- like cooking, sometimes the recipe needs a little more of this, and a little less of that. "mob of apes that is humanity"-- so true, but at the individual level, sometimes, you find they're not so bad. But it sounds like you already know this, and tend to take stock of the individual and adjust your recipe accordingly, which is... all anyone can rightfully ask of you, y'know?

In your post you also talked about following your Path, and what sort of emotional and spiritual goals you strive for... and I think that's sort of key to your own peace about the whole issue, because really… this is one of the divergence points in life where science and psychology can only help you so far, and then you have to determine to take the rest on faith. You have to want to have faith in the first place, which you obviously do. I mean…we all have our internal demons to wrestle with, but it's our actual actions in the end that define us, after all. And you seem to consistently choose to fight the good fight, and suss out your internal workings to the point that you can grok them and parlay that knowledge into a fulfilling life.
You are the kind of person who, considering all you've been through, could easily allow yourself to stay in the shadows and shackles of your past, but you don't- you don't just survive, you thrive, even if that means you have to fight and bleed and dig up painful thoughts and weep and pray and go through constant iterations of sandpapery catharsis on the way there. You're not a stagnant person. You work on yourself, you fight for your right to LIVE, and live well. And that makes you an admirable example of a human being, even if you think you're not.


Date: 2008-06-27 02:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mistletoeelf.livejournal.com
even though I preach that we all have our own needs, and that forgiveness is a self gift,
you remind me again that you are so wise and amazing

I also have others come to me for advice, of many types, and it becomes a joke... ask the elf she will have an answer...

However as the universe has reminded me twice recently, we can only listen it is up to the "injured" party to make their own moves in their own time. They have to find their way thru their own path, and it is not my job to fix, any of them!

I really appreciate who you are as an amazing soul in my life, and count my blessings for getting to be a touch in your life.

Thanks for sharing, baring and being you.


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