Acceptable

This morning I am seeing true rain for the first time in months. It feels odd, this wet stuff falling out of the sky, but makes me feel more deeply connected with nature and the benevolent powers upon high that give us our very life and breath. Reading a book the last few days written by a psychologist who turned from the science of Freudian and Jungian psycho babble as a means of understanding her inner nature and that of her sick clients, to one of belief in God, as a means of developing coping skills for psychological healing and well-being. Her writing presents to my mind a sense of freshness and renewal akin to the rain I see falling beyond these office windows this early dawn. The writing also challenges me to look at my own journey in life and is giving me the inner urge to better identify the values I choose to adhere to in living.

While reading another round of this psychologist this morning I reflected on the idea that perhaps I fear other peoples’ opinions of me, and will tend to go out of my way, bend my core beliefs, sacrifice time and effort, whatever is required of me, to sweeten the view others have of me. I am a master people pleaser. This actually surprises me because I used to be such a nonconformist and rebel. What have I inadvertently become? I am now so good at doing this, pleasing others, and have lived like this for so long, that it is of a second nature to me. When I accommodate the opinions of others I sense that I lose some of my identity. I wonder if others are like me? I know it’s an irrational fear or trait on my part to be so concerned about how others perceive me. Strange, because the opinions I hold about other people are usually quite fleeting, so I’m not sure why my outward projection of who I am as a person seems so important to me. Most of us prefer to be or must be, because of life’s circumstances, around other people for a good chunk of our time. This instinct or requirement to be social mandates that I be agreeable, pliable, likeable, willing to play social games in order to receive acceptance into the club. This phenomenon of wanting social approval is the undercurrent driving me to want to please others at the cost of my own values and beliefs.

Working the corporate life for many years also has this affect of wearing down my individuality, my intuitive and spirit nature, so that I might thrive in a workplace environment where cooperation is imperative. I am old enough now to anticipate a retirement fairly soon. As I reach that point, I feel some anxiety about what I leave behind that will make me less of what I was, and some anxiety about what I will become. The spiritual part of me will perhaps have more freedom for expression. The business world has little room for spirituality, nor hardly any room for intuition. There is no poetry in money. The fanciful and imaginative ideas that naturally flowed inside of me in my younger days have been squashed for so long that I no longer sense them as being an important part of me. That part seems to have about as much importance in my life as my navel. I guess that’s why keep a journal, to help keep alive an inner part of me.

I get a message from reading this book that there is a part of me that has been lulled into a long sleep that should be awakened. The spirit part of me needs to be jump started and become a more engaging part of my identity. The physical part of me is on the wane as I age. That’s difficult for someone like me who has been very physical to accept this slow down in strength and agility. The result can be somewhat stressful to the soul–at least that is what I am hearing from reading this book. The solution is not to have myself all twisted up with mental or psychological disorder–depression, or long-term blues–but to allow the spiritual part of me to become a larger influence in how I view myself and the world. The author of the book talks about how to make a successful transition from one stage in living to the next without being traumatized by the changes that need to take place. The eventful transitions that I experience in my physical world should not be emotionally upsetting or challenging if I have a calm inner peace that surpasses understanding. Maintaining that inner peace should be my top priority, as I may need the strength that comes from it at any moment in living.

I learned from previous difficult circumstances–sicknesses and family deaths–that keeping alive the spirit within me is the same as keeping alive my essence. I know how easily I am able to dismiss or discard my beliefs when my life is going good, or am so easily persuaded to deny having any spiritual dimension to me when I want to be popular or accepted among others.

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