Monday, September 3, 2012

Self Love

  Here is a meditation which I wrote during the course of a few weeks.

Self Love
 Something must have happened to me from even before my first memories. This something has caused me to hate myself no matter what has happened to me since. It is that deep underlying "truth" that I hold in my heart which I must expose as a lie if I am ever going to have a chance of hoping to have a healthy life. It may possibly have something to do with my feelings that I had with the arrival of my younger sister. I don't remember.
 One of my earliest memories involves me burning my leg with chicken soup. I believe it to be one of the most important events of my life which played a huge part in the forming of my personality. One night, my parents were giving my sister and I a bath when I was perhaps three or four and she was around a year old. I finished first and dried off. My parents were microwaving some chicken soup in the kitchen. I heard the buzzer beep and went to pull out the bowl. It was too hot for me to handle so I dropped it. The boiling hot soup spilled on my left leg and the porcelain bowl shattered on the kitchen floor.
 My only thought then was how much trouble I was going to be in for breaking the bowl. My parents came out to investigate the noise and I immediately began to apologize profusely for my actions. My parents made sure I got to the hospital and assured me that I wasn't in trouble for breaking the bowl. I was well taken care of at the hospital and my parents were nothing but encouraging to me.
 What Kayla helped me to see is that this one event created an idea in my head that the only way I can get love is by hurting myself. My parents had instilled in me that in order to be a "good boy", I had to do what they say without question. That was how I can earn love from them. I had three years to have that lesson ingrained in my being. But then, despite all my efforts to earn their love, my little sister came into this world and I had to share that love. Not only that, but I saw that she didn't even have to do anything to earn it. She cried, fussed, threw food, caused them to have to feed her, change her diapers and all other manner of hard work and they just poured out their attention on her.
 No matter how hard I tried to be a good boy, I couldn't get any attention from them. Yes, I could still get in trouble, but I couldn't earn their love by my obedience. By that point, it was just expected of me without reward. So, standing in a place where I felt that I wasn't loved, but that I could only earn negative attention, I absolutely feared getting in trouble. Breaking the bowl could only end badly for me.
 Here's the kicker, not only did I not get into trouble for breaking the bowl, but I received a lot of positive attention. I finally felt as if I had "won" against my sister in this competition for attention from my parents. I felt whole and loved. This put the false belief in me that hurting myself was the only way to earn love. It didn't help that my mother always saw me as being the weak one between my sister and me. She always gave me more attention because she thought me to be sickly, weak and even mentally challenged.
 All my youth was spent with this belief about myself. I always saw how easily all my friends and classmates got things that were just too difficult for me. I firmly believed that I was somehow less of a person than they were. I remember hours of my dad trying to teach me the English alphabet. He would have me writing the letters several times from an example that he wrote. This was when I learned the word "lousy". He would sit there and berate my efforts while Becky sat next to me not getting yelled at and not having to do anything.
 I was dubbed a "late bloomer", which to me meant "slow learner". Also, my mother was always saying that I was too skinny and equating thinness with unhealthiness. There was a Chinese medicine which smells horrible and tastes even worse that she would make me take. Not only that, but she would always make sure to let me know how expensive the medicine was. From this I learned that I was a burden to my parents. They never gave any special medication to Becky or called her a late bloomer or lousy.
 Now, it was not just my parents who made me feel down about myself. Being a part of a military family, I was forced to move around a lot. In all those times, I never kept up a correspondence with my old friends. Selfishly, I blamed them. I also blamed my parents, anyone but myself. I pulled into myself to avoid the pain of loss. I clung more closely to my stuff and didn't make any special efforts to create deep relationships with people. What would be the point? Solitary activities such as reading, TV and movies became my life.
 In kindergarten, I met a girl named Rachel. She seemed to like me. When we were alone, she would hold my hand and even kiss me. As soon as we were around her friends, she would act as if she didn't know me. I allowed this relationship to continue in this fashion because I craved the attention. This was one of the first times I consciously put myself into the victim role and equated it with earning love.
 By this time in my life, my parents were starting to put expectations on Becky to be a "good girl". She fought it tooth and nail. She stood up for herself and even protested any special attention my parents would give me without also giving it to her. She would cry, "Discrimination!" From observing her behavior and the consequences, I came to two conclusions: It is always good to do exactly what my parents say, when they say it and not to question it and crying was of no benefit to anyone. This solidified my identity as a victim, a brainless fool, an emotionless tool and a virtual non-entity.
 My entire adult life has been shaped by the lessons I learned back then. It also doesn't help that my parents do not approve of anything that I do. It was my dad who got me into writing, but disapproved of me going to school to be a writer or persuing a career in writing. He also is the one who got me into music, but has made me feel worthless and inadequate as a musician. I am basically just a failed investment in their eyes. Only if I continue to do their bidding will I be able to earn their "love" again. They have said so in so many ways over the years and aren't even trying to be subtle about it anymore.
 Enter Kayla. She is the only person who has ever tried to foster my inner self. She actively tries to bring out my true identity with every breath of her being. In doing this, she is the only person who has ever truly loved me for who I really am. I can't even count myself in that number. For years she has encouraged me to create my own identity from the inside out. It hurts her when I betray myself or disrespect myself. She sees how strong I can be if only I would stop victimizing myself and perpetuating the myth of my insufficiency.
 Enter 'Conversations With God'. That series of books, which includes the original trilogy, 'Friendship With God' ,'Communion With God', 'The New Revelations', 'Tomorrow's God' and 'Moments of Grace', has opened my mind to a whole new way of looking at God and at myself. It has helped me to more deeply understand the tools Kayla has been trying to hand me for years now. The only problem is that I need to first rewrite these deep underlying false beliefs about myself which have been a dangerous undertow all my life that I have been oblivious to.
 I suggested to Kayla that I could bring her to karaoke or to play racquetball. This then sparked a revelation about myself that made me realize that this wasn't the immediate road to healthiness. First, though, Kayla had pointed out that she was deliberately keeping these things from herself in order to give me the opportunity to offer them to her. It was the fact that I didn't offer them to her that she chose not to offer me things like coming to my stand-up shows. I wasn't validating her unique personality and preferences. I also wasn't incorporating myself into her life. Of course, I can't just jump into trying to give these things to her because I haven't earned her trust that I won't ruin any attempt to participate in these activities. I must first earn her trust in the little things before I can prove to her that I can have her trust in the big things. Though, trust is not something I want to just talk about so I will not say anything further about it. It will be my actions, not simply my thoughts or intentions that will earn her trust. I will live a life of trustworthiness.
 I must always be conscious and aware of what I am saying and what is being said to me. It is too easy for me to misrepresent myself or others because I wasn't paying attention to our conversation. I lie to myself and others all the time by not accurately remembering what was said in any given conversation. How can I ever hope to build stability in this way? I must always have in mind where I stand and where others stand or I might create expectations in a situation that are false. I can hurt someone or myself in that way. If I can "forget" a small thing, I can forget a big thing. It is, therefore, a big deal to forget even the smallest detail about something you've said or something that has been said to you. Yes, this one small detail may not hurt anyone, but if you can forget that, what's to stop you from forgetting something that can end up hurting someone?
 Kayla has focused her strength on persuing wisdom. I have focused my strength on many things, but not that so much. I can explain to you how to make an artificially 3-D image, but matters of the heart are confusing to me. This does not have to stay this way, because I can choose to focus my strength on wisdom as well. Kayla does not think the way that she does because she is wise, but instead, she is wise because she thinks the way that she does. It's not some magical gift she was born with that I don't have, but it is a conscious choice that she is making to create herself in a fashion of her own devising. I may not have some gift, but I do have a choice. If I choose wisdom, I can create it into a reality in my life.
 What do I have passion for and how can I understand, accept and use that to create my true identity? What do I choose to care about? What and how can I give today that will bring about joy and healthiness? Will love or fear be my sponsoring thoughts, words and deeds? Who do I choose to be? Will I be a victim? Where do I stand and where do others stand? Will I make my own choices? Will I be a slave or a master? What spiritual gifts can I give? What will I choose to write on my blank slate? What will I create? How will I fill my plate? Will I be empty hands or a full heart? Will I love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and my neighbor as myself?
 I choose to care about meeting even just the basic needs of everything within my circle of influence. Kayla loves playing the drums, making music, racquetball, karaoke, pool, singing, etc. I choose to join her life and provide these things for her and incorporate myself into her joyful world and give her her deepest desires. I know she would do the same for me. It takes awareness, care, initiative and knowing where I stand to make sure that this is coming from my heart. She always feels the vibes so results is the only way I can show that I care, not just words or intentions. Love can only ever be my sponsoring thought and motivating factor if I can ever hope to reach my potential, my goals, my highest self. I choose to be a man who is stable in my conviction to be aware, conscious and loving in everything I think, say and do. I will be a chooser of my experience and victim to no one. I will own my suffering. Only then can I choose to end it and see the suffering going on around me and work to end that as well. I will not just rest on intentions, but see that I am a man of my own choice and creation only if the results show it. A happy life will be my barometer for success, not my intentions. I stand as an individual with feelings, a family and a household. Anything I think, say and do will be a reflection of that or will disrespect myself, my family and household. No one will make me do anything not of my choice. I am a master, not a slave. My actions are a conscious manifestation of my highest self. I can be a man who remembers things that are important to me and to those around me as well. I will create a happy family and healthy relationships. I will fill my plate with a remembering that I am not a product of anything or anyone from my past, but rather of every thought, word and deed of my own choosing with eyes firmly open, heart set on love and mind clear. Empty hands are no longer a part of my identity. Someone may tell me what they need me to do, but I am the ultimate decider of my actions. My heart, soul, mind and strength will all work together to express my understanding that we are all one and we are all God. All the love, strength, mind and care that God possesses, I as well have within my grasp.
 There is no such thing as suffering. No event is intrinsically bad or good. Any experience only has the emotions that I choose to put on it. Just as a master can experience all manner of calamity and see the perfection in it, I too can look back on the life I have lived and rewrite the beliefs that I have solidified about myself. I have called it suffering. I can now think of it as a series of challenges, all of which I've survived, but none of which have I allowed to bring me to a healthy place in myself. I must change myself from within at the belief level. My behaviors will never change if what brings them out of me never changes. My being is like a warehouse which is filled with every emotion, every thought, every observation and memory I've ever had. It is only those things that I am aware of and believe in that I can bring out of myself. If I do not believe that I am strong, capable and wise, I will not bring those things out of myself. That is exactly where I stand right now.
 I prefer to work toward self-satisfaction. I prefer to drop my "need" for approval from outside sources. Anything given to me by someone else can be taken away from me by someone else. Anything I give to myself, no one can ever take away from me. My entire personality is a summation of things others have given to me. I prefer to tear that to pieces and start from the ground up in creating a new self based on things I give to myself. Talking to Kayla about my new understandings and revelations can be therapeutic, but I prefer to be careful in not doing it for her approval or for any other unhealthy reason.
 The other day, Kayla got an idea for some music. She brought up Cubase on the computer and plugged in one set of headphones. I showed myself to be in an unhealthy place because I chose to "not interrupt" her and observe from a distance instead of helping her, incorporating myself, integrating us and participating in the process. A few days ago I opened the bathroom door while she was in the shower just to tell her my Spider Solitaire score. She prefers to have the door closed while she showers so that she can stay warm. Why was I willing to "interrupt" her then, but not when she was making music? It all comes down to the fact that in both instances, I was being selfish. In not participating in the music, I wasn't proactively seeking out ways to help foster a joyful and healthy activity for the both of us. In interrupting her shower, I was seeking outward approval for something that was an accomplishment of mine that should have given me self-satisfaction. In doing so, I cheapened the experience.
 It is a tragedy that the world uses the term self-satisfaction as synonymous with masturbation. It's become something selfish instead of a wonderful feeling of self-love, self-esteem and self-respect. If I take an honest appraisal of my inner truth, I don't feel worthy of self-satisfaction. In fact, one of the only things that I have ever given to myself that no one can take away is the coffee table that I found, sanded, stained and varnished. To me it is a beautiful achievement that I gave to myself. Why can't I find it in myself to give myself more? Why do I always seek a pat on the back from others? I think it stems from the fact that I don't value my own opinion so why should it be good enough? I feel the need to get others opinions.
 If it has been pointed out to me that the direction I am heading will never lead me where I would prefer to go, why feel the need to explain every turn I was intending to make and every route I was going to take? As carefully as they may be set forth, they are heading in a direction that is not to my benefit or to those around me. Abandon all excuses. If I truly desire what I say I desire, there would be nothing and no one that could keep me from achieving it. It is only myself that ever keeps me from bringing forth the very things I think I am creating.
 I have allowed myself to inherit the very worst attributes of both my parents. I am subconsciously exactly like my father and consciously exactly like my mother. My dad manipulates things toward his own secret agendas. My mother intends to do "good" things, but has no plan or logical steps to do them. I allow my subconscious to secretly rule every single thought, word and deed coming from me. I consciously choose to do "good" things, but have no plan.
 If something Kayla had done made me cry, what exactly would she do to help me feel better? The simple and honest answer to that is that she would do anything within her power to help me. And everything is within her power. Why then, do I not do the same for her? It is because I don't care when I hurt her. If I did, I would take responsibility for it and do something to turn the negative into a positive. It doesn't scare me enough that I don't care. I don't see the full depth of my sickness so I don't know to be terrified of how it affects others as well as myself. If I understood where I truly stand, there would be nothing in the world that would be able to stop me from getting to a higher place, a healthier place. My problem is not that I wouldn't choose a higher place, it's that I don't know how low I am, how sick and how unhealthy.
 For one thing, it is difficult for me to see how something that made sense to me at the time could affect Kayla so negatively. For another thing, I don't feel as if I have the power to help her feel better. Those two things go hand in hand. If I don't realize that I have the power to hurt, how will I ever recognize that I have the power to heal? It all starts with awareness and believing in myself. If I see where I truly stand and believe that I can get to a better place, I will take the steps to get there. If, along the way, I do something that is hurtful, I will be aware of what I did, take responsibility for it and believe that I have the power to change it.
 When I am ready to change, it will happen on its own. All the ways that I try to use Kayla's wisdom are only pushing her away. My answers do not lie within her, but within myself. Resisting my blindness, hurtfulness, ignorance, brokenness, deceitfulness and unchangeability are exactly what are keeping them there and giving them more and more power by the second. I can look at them honestly and without judgment. I can visualize myself as those things, but I can't keep lying to myself and saying that I am healthy. Proactively working toward healthiness is the way to go, not resisting unhealthiness.
 When my mother would put me into a bathtub naked for a haircut, she was disrespecting me to the highest degree. She took away my dignity, my privacy and my free will. When she would make me take the Chinese medicine, she took away my free will and made me feel weak, sick and insufficient. When she fed me Chahmeh or Korean pears, she took away my free will, self-esteem and dignity. In all reality I took all those things away from myself. In other words, I have become my parents. I am a clone of Kom and Sukie. When their will became my will, I no longer had a will of my own. Therefore, I never developed a personality of my own. I am merely a reflection of them. I have no unique identity.
 The very fact that I hate them so much is exactly why I hate myself so much. I hate them because I think they took these things way from me. I hate myself because deep down I know it is truly myself who took them away from me. It is like they were a tornado that I knew was coming. I may have gotten into a tornado shelter, but I failed to shut the door. The tornado destroyed me, but I blame the tornado instead of blaming myself for not shutting the door. Enter Kayla. I have now become my own tornado (Kom and Sukie) and have expected her to be my tornado shelter and door shutter (Paul). When she fails to be my Paul, I hate her as my Sukie. I have never been my Paul and she shouldn't have to be. If I was my Paul, she could be just herself around me and I should love myself as Paul and her as Kayla. Kom and Sukie need never enter the equation in the relationship of Paul and Kayla.
 I'm always looking for a new person to change me like Dr. Phil, Sylvia Brown, the church, the Navy, Neale Donald Walsch or Kayla. When I end up not changing, I blame them and resentment builds. I no longer listen to what they say even though I lie to my self and pretend that I am listening. The root of the problem is that I really am not believing in myself to change. If I believed I could change, then I would. It's not their job or responsibility, it's mine. If I don't change, it's my fault.
 I choose to open myself up to the full pallet of my emotions. I often use the blanket of anger, depression or feeling stupid. I need to allow myself to experience the subtle nuances of such things as frustration, envy, embarassment, annoyance, regret and other emotions that fill in the spaces between the larger, more obvious ones. If not, I will rob myself of the fullness of the experience of life. I will cage up portions of myself that ache to see freedom.
 I am worthy of love, not because of any thing I can do or have done. If that was the case, I would be like the little girl in the Joy Luck Club who was only important when she played chess or the piano well. That is the way my mother would give me approval. I don't need that sort of approval. I am not my body. I am my soul. In being my soul, which is the same as every other soul, I am just as worthy of love as anybody else. When I think of others as souls and not as merely bodies, I will have an easier time loving others as well.
 I am God. That is the beginning of everything I would love to have in my life. If I don't believe that, I will achieve nothing. When is the last time that I did anything completely fearlessly? Why would God have a reason to fear anything? If I am God, I can do anything and succeed at it. I am not this body that I walk around in. It is just a vessel for my true self. I keep limiting myself to believing that I am my body. In doing so, I disrespect myself and keep myself small. My true self is boundless and strong. I can do anything I set my heart on.

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