After watching this Sustainable Human video, What is it like to be you? (Available at the bottom of this post) I thought about how very easy it is to judge others, to imagine we know how they are, what it’s like for them, to see the outside and think we understand the inside.
I thought about what my internal chatter was saying and how my outside life shows nothing of that. We all have our inner voices, some more, some less, some aware of it, some not, but they are there.
So I’ve decided to tell you what it was like being me on Sunday morning, because I am aware that my external world definitely does not always reflect my inner turmoil. And although I am not always like this, sometimes I am and I know I am not alone. I want others to know that; to know many of us walk the same walk, we tread the same difficult steps and have the same struggles to contend with, no matter how marvellous we or our lives may look on the outside.
I was tired, I’d come back from an intensive training in London. Naturally there was lots to catch up on once home, as well as all the new information to process and study. It felt overwhelming.
So my Sunday began thus:
I woke early, 6.15, too early but I needed a wee. The internal chatter piped up immediately.
“Do I go and risk waking completely or do I stay and hope to go to sleep again? But I might not because I need to wee and I might wake again.” I lay there debating with myself for some time before realising I couldn’t resolve my dilemma. I decide to avoid it by switching on a podcast, and disappearing in there for a while.
I fell asleep again. I woke and started another podcast. I fell asleep again.
On no too late!
I woke and checked the time, 8.28 am……”oh no too late, here I go starting my day later than I wanted, AGAIN. Why the hell can’t I get it together to go to bed early and get up early, other people can, what’s wrong with me?”
The inner chatter is off and running.
“I should have gone to bed, well to sleep earlier. Wait a minute I was in bed and asleep by 11.15pm, that’s not too late. God I must be more tired than I think.”
I decide to be kind to myself and stay in bed a while longer. I stick on another podcast, the CEO of Starbucks being interviewed by Oprah, WTF!? Even after listening and hearing all about his drive to be of service, my skeptic is still alive and well, judging how ANY large global company could have ANYTHING good at it’s heart. Oh dear, so many judgements.
I decide to get up, “best get on with my day, my morning routine takes so long it’ll be bloody lunch time before I finish now.”
Off goes the chatter again. “ Look, now you are wasting a beautiful day.”
“I wonder why it’s so imperative I don’t waste a sunny day, what does that even mean? I really need to do some tapping on that belief, it’s not at all helpful. WTF is so important about a sunny day, what if I decide to stay in my PJ’s all day, what would be “wrong” with that?”
“Who’s doing all this judging?” I wonder.
“Yikes chickens, I haven’t let them out yet.”
On the way back I survey my garden and set off another barrage.
“That’s what you better do today, sort out the garden, do some weeding, pick the flipping raspberries for starters.”
“It’s all too much, it’s too big, I don’t know where to start.” I lament back.
Inside I decide to just get on with my routine no matter what the time. I put the kettle on, make my lemon water and breakfast, and then a fatal move. I decide to switch on FB for a wee check while the kettle boils. I’m still there an hour later.
What am I avoiding?
I’m avoiding feeling lonely, my partner is away, my young adult children out, no doubt sleeping off the night before. Friends……well I haven’t contacted anyone, arranged anything…..and off goes the chatter agin.
“No-one calls, no-one really cares, I wonder why not, what’s wrong with you?
(Ps. I know this isn’t true, in fact I have an old pal coming round in the afternoon, but that doesn’t stop the onslaught. It’s very powerful self-talk that shouts at me sometimes, trying to convince me I’m unloved and no-one cares. It may seem odd to some, but like many, somewhere in my childhood things happened which caused me to make decisions about myself and the world and this is the result. We all do this, and sometimes it’s not very helpful in adult life. However we can examine it, get underneath the presenting layer to find out what is really going on. Usually we find it is trying to protect us and keep us safe.)
Of course I see from FB that everyone else is enjoying themselves, doing amazing things, in incredible places, surrounded by loving friends and family. Not helpful for me, but fuel for that inner chatter.
On and on it goes
It drones on. “Why don’t I have more friends?”…….followed quickly by “You do know loads of people, it’s you, you don’t arrange to see your friends more……oh it’s your flipping connection thing isn’t it?”
I feel overwhelmed, as if my inner chatter isn’t quite enough to deal with I actually do have a mountain of things I have to, could and would like to do. Mum’s tax and paperwork. (Why did I agree to do that “little” job), my own paperwork ( so much for the paperless office, mind you I could go more paperless, but that means finding the time to do it!!!!), the garden, work stuff, my creative projects, painting ( that old chestnut), felting and my writing, the garden again…..on and on it goes.
I feel a fraud
Now the guilt creeps in…… “I really do have a lovely life, I live in an amazing place, I have some amazing friends, I really have nothing to complain about, pull yourself together Mairi.”
I feel a fraud. I teach this stuff, I pronounce about change and yet here I am sitting in a stupor feeling sorry for myself, doing nothing which only makes it all worse as it’s a gorgeous day and I am, of course, WASTING IT!
A vast improvement
BUT thankfully gone are the days of being completely immobilised by these thoughts and much worse. I no-longer sit inert on the sofa for days, paralysed by my inner bully battering me around till it finally descends into the “truth”,
“Mairi, no-one cares, it’s all pointless and crap.”
So despite a short struggle today, I am grateful I can tell you, that despite all the above, what I share is a vast improvement on where I have been in the past. It’s manageable and almost laughable really. I know it’s not true and mostly I can resist it’s attempts to lure me in, to reel me towards the pit of despair.
But many don’t and can’t and my heart goes out to them. It can be a truly desolate place, an inner hell which does not always show on the outside, but cripples us on the inside. Even when it does leak out it can be misinterpreted and misunderstood and we can end up even more isolated and alone.
So, what is it like to be you?
A question more of us could ask first before we judge and condemn others, before we make ourselves so right and them so wrong. Until we have walked in another’s shoes we cannot know that we would be any different.
What is it like to be you?