I just finished my first week of the “Resiliency Reset” program. I’m hanging a lot on this. Five thousand dollars, for one thing. The improvement of my mental health, for another. The leader of this 12-week program came recommended by the therapist of a friend who’s been through some similar shit in the past couple of years, so I’m really hoping for the best.
During the course of this 12-week session, there are a couple of “special sessions” per month on Fridays. Today’s was a “MindBody Wellness” session, in which we talked about where we all are in terms of our state of mind, how being alone with ourselves makes us feel, what it means to be “in your body”, and then ended with an extended guided meditation session.
I realized I have not been “IN” my body in quite some time. I always look to the outside for encouragement, for reassurance, for validation. When I say that out loud, on paper, it sounds terrible. Only terribly immature people do that, right? But I think I’ve been doing that my whole life, and the reason may be because my parents taught me to value their opinions, and the opinions of my “betters” (teachers, bosses), more than my own.
I’ve said this somewhere in these posts before, but for years when I was a kid I narrated my life in the third person in my head, as though I were reading a story about myself. I wonder if that was the beginning of living outside of my body. My opinion has never mattered to anyone, least of all me (unless it’s negative, because then, of course, it’s true). If my good opinion of me mattered, I might not be in the state I’m in at the moment. If my opinion mattered, I might listen to the voice in my head that says I’m headed for disaster.
So I was lying on my back during the guided meditation, with my hand on my belly as instructed, feeling my breath go in and out and trying very hard to be present with myself. And when our guide asked us to connect with our own bodies, I began to cry. I cried hard. I’ve not taken care of this girl, this woman who is me. I have not cared for this body and this mind. I have not opined to her that she is worth saving and cultivating. I have told her that she is worth only as much as people on the outside think of her, and if their opinion is low, as it surely must be, she is not worth rescuing.
It’s worth noting here that this might explain my dependence on social media. In part it’s an attempt to be aware of people I love and to be “social” on some weird virtual level since I have so few friends in my new place. But I post things on Instagram all the time, and check constantly to see if the people who are important to me (and on a side note, some of them probably shouldn’t be) are seeing what I’ve posted. I also want people I “follow” to know that I see them, so I often make positive comments or send heart emojis. Maybe it’s a “do unto others” kind of thing. I want to validate people because that’s what I so desperately want for me.
So that’s something I need to cut out. Will work on that.
I’m so uncomfortable saying to myself: “You are good. You are smart. You are beautiful. You can do anything. You can succeed.” You see, Ghost? Even that was in the third person. The narrative needs to be: “I am good. I am smart. I am beautiful. I can do anything. I can succeed.” The end result needs to be: I love me. I love you, me.
I’m going to start saying those things to myself, out loud, in a mirror. It’s going to hurt at first. It’s going to feel unnatural and forced. It’s going to feel like a sham, like I’m lying to myself, or like a bad joke or sarcasm. But if I say it enough, as frequently as I can, maybe the negative and unproductive head-chatter will be calmed. Maybe I can turn this ship around from its current course toward Charon and head in an entirely new direction, full of hope and sunshine.
It’s almost time. Time to stop escaping, time to make a plan. It’s almost time to figure out what I want to do with my life, and get there. It will almost certainly necessitate a job change, and it might also require another move in the next couple of years. It’s almost time to stop squandering resources and settle in. To nest. To rest. To learn to be utterly alone.
Alone except for you, Ghost. 🙂
I think the “resiliency reset” program is helping with all of this. Will I be magically cured after 12 weeks? Of course not. I’m a work in progress, always will be. But I think that it might provide the keys to feeling a little bit better in the short term, which is huge for me given the absolute shitshow my life has been for the last 15 months. Maybe it’s also the impetus for the long-term changes that I need so desperately, and will help me regain my optimism and a new, healthier regard for myself. I am hopeful.