Most of us who are older than (let’s say…) 3 years old know that life can be painful. Heck, I just spent the last 3 days walking around like an old lady because my muscles hurt so bad.
I don’t know about you, but I was MADE FOR COMFORT! Wasn’t I, dammit. Pain is uncomfortable. Comfort is easy. Many of us AVOID PAIN. This. is. a. mistake. If we would lean into it, embrace it, question it long enough to let it change us, we would find the satisfaction of metamorphosis. Well, IT HURTS. This post sucks. Stop reading now if you were born for comfort like me and want to stay for a while longer. (I don’t blame you one bit.)
We long to be comfortable. When I’m in the Dentist’s chair, my mind is SO FAR AWAY from what’s going in the dentist has to say everything twice. Okay, three times. What could he possibly want NOW!? Quit plucking me off the beach, buddy…I’m trying to get a suntan here.
SO when there is something painful that needs to be addressed, we avoid it. Deny it’s happening. Look the other way. (Maybe YOU do it, but I certainly don’t. Cough.)
Anatomy of a
Denier Denialist Denymentalist MESS
OK. I’ll go first. I do this. Do what? See…it’s so easy. I don’t even want to be here right now. But I am so aware that this is how I got into my MESS. I felt like I couldn’t look my fears, negative feelings, or discomfort straight in the eyes and address it. I thought that if I did, I would fall into a dark hole and never crawl out. Problem is…I still fell into a dark hole. It was bound to happen TO me because I wasn’t going to INITIATE it.
In case you think I’m exaggerating, I will tell you that I even had a good friend who could see it. She told me a few years ago, “You need to look at your marriage.” I plugged my ears and did that “BLAH BLAH-FREAKIN- BLAH I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” thing. Literally. Sometimes I think about telling her she was right. I was too afraid to listen to her. But this post isn’t about regret. It’s about denial.
The fact is that I thrived in it. I wonder if it’s a typical characteristic of a Wayward Spouse? I certainly ignored things that were uncomfortable in my marriage, and pretended that I was really happy. I thought that if I just looked the other way, it wouldn’t hurt and I wouldn’t be afraid. When I think about it today, it amazes me that I (fake) “THRIVED” in this condition for so long.
Gulp. Okay, so are you ready for this? My question today freaks my living be-gee-bers out. But I have to ask. I simply can’t live the same way and expect better results.
If I lived so much of my life denying everything that was uncomfortable before I had the affair, then what makes me think I am suddenly free from the habit? Ha. Just because my husband and I are past the trauma and moving forward with a new life commitment, Does this mean that I will never have to be uncomfortable again? Can I stop addressing anything that scares me now?
the BLESSING of discomfort
There. I said it. The blessing of discomfort is change. If I don’t look at the things that bother me, I will avoid all opportunity to CHANGE THEM. So how do you do it? I mean, how do you start? Especially when you would so much rather just NOT DO ANYTHING because it’s so terrifyingly vexatious (great new word for ya right there). Let’s all just start by acknowledging that we are strong enough to get through it. It’s true. If you’re not dead yet, it’s because you can do this.
Step One: LOOK.
I fell off my chair backwards today when I read this post (Happiness What Are You Doing Here?) from a fellow Blogging Friend, Shake the Excess. Her writing inspires me, and especially today, because she is not afraid to LOOK, really LOOK at how she feels and WHY. This is what she said in today’s post (to read the full post, please click on the link):
In recovery group last week, we had to answer the question, “What new truths have you faced and what are you still in denial about?” New truths…ummm, too many to list! I have faced truths that I didn’t even know could exist… I have faced the truth that my life, our life, was an illusion and full of deception from the beginning…that he isn’t the person I thought from even before we met.
“But I couldn’t answer what I am still in denial about…doesn’t denial include not being able to recognize what you are facing? I answered that instead of avoiding and denying, I tend to fall the other extreme – that I need to face everything, and the everything is really bad. Everything is hopeless.
“So maybe my denial is hope and happiness. I have been denying myself the idea that there is hope. I have denied myself the idea that happiness (with him, with a new life) can be possible. As I cried last night, I realized that I felt truly happy at that moment. And I realized that I wanted to deny myself again, but it had come on too fast and I just left to feel…True happiness isn’t something I know well…”
STEP TWO: discover the difference between Joy & Pleasure.
Here is a key that I am learning: Joy is necessary. It can be found DURING trials, whether you chose them or you are merely responding to them. It’s your faith, what’s inside of you–your core…that thing that makes you different. Don’t mistake it for pleasure. When you are in the middle of PAIN, don’t forget to find JOY. It’s there. It will be the strength you need to endure. I’m seriously not being flaky here. Remember that this is not about pleasure: which are those fleeting moments of ecstasy that trap us into thinking we can’t live without it. This is why many of us fall into addiction. Hello. We need joy. JOY is that security that is found when you KNOW who you are, WHY you are here on this planet, and WHAT you have to contribute. Even if it’s just as simple as “I am here to love the unlovable.” Step into that. Walk in it.
“If you can’t find joy in the path you are on and what you are working toward now, how do you expect to find joy once you get there?”
You can do this.