Operation FALL in Love: An update
by P. Braithwaite
When I was in high school, overwhelmed with the pressures of being awesome, I’d throw my hands up and loudly declare that I’d quit life.
I’d proclaim it in the cafeteria of my all-girls school and on AOL Instant messenger. When I’d say it, it’d be an indication that I was embarrassed, overwhelmed and angsty over the state of my (love) life. It was my dramatic way of surrendering, and it was also a ploy to get my friends to ask me what was wrong. Lol
It’s odd, but lately I’ve felt the need to “quit life” again. This time, it’s not as much because I’m overwhelmed or embarrassed or seeking attention (though some of those emotions exist as well), it’s more because I’m realizing that my life has been about hiding from those familiar feelings. I think it’s time to slow down a bit…
…I’m not going to quit. But I’m taking a break.
Let me elaborate: A few weeks ago I declared OPERATION Fall in Love, and I did. I fell in love. It didn’t work out for me, and rightfully so — the person I fell for isn’t my person. This initially felt (and still does feel) like failure, but it’s not. Somewhere along the line I became a person who is afraid of being single. When I am single, I devise a plan: run a marathon, read a book, WRITE a book, stand on my head, journal, take up yoga, go to counseling, go back to school, work through the 12 steps, knit…. Anything to keep from actually “feeling” alone.
Consequently, it’s hard for me to be alone without “improving myself.” Somewhere, I learned that the only way to tolerate being alone was to come up with a plan to change myself. The underlying implication: maybe THEN someone will love me.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely proud of all the inner work I’ve done, of my level of self-awareness and my ability to understand how I move in the world. I’m proud that I am a person who knows who she is, who can articulate how she feels and I know the work I’ve done has put me in line with my calling — to help and guide others thru their own inner work. I swear there is a big part of me that is really into myself, but — I’m gonna keep it real — at some point, self-help can be self-hatred with a smile. Self-help can cover up dealing with loss, failure, and fear that I’m not enough.
This is especially true when I’m in between boos, and with that aggressive/oppressive energy, I “make use of” my single time, and then get into a relationships with the expectation that someone will see me and keep me and validate my worthiness. Someone (who can barely see themselves) will pat me on the head, kiss me on the shoulder, and tell me how great I am…
That’s never going to happen — not in the way that I’m craving it, at least.
No one can heal us. No one can help us own our enoughness. Plus: You know what they say, “men are idiots.” If anyone is going to realize my worth, it’s gotta be me…
And so, right now, my dharma is to know that if I never read another self-help book, never comb (cut or perm) my hair, shave my legs, learn a trade, write a sentence…I am utterly and completely worthy of love. Right now without a workbook, a law of attraction, a fly apartment, or hot car — love is my inheritance just as I am.
So I’m going on a hiatus: no self-help books. I’ve taken a break from calling in “the one” and even put down my Sufi and Zen books. I’m still journaling and sitting every day, but I’m compulsively finding with new ways to “self-improve.”
Operation FALL in love is still underway, but I’ve just gotta shift the focus. I need to be more deeply in love with myself. So I’m going to calm down and stop trying so hard. I’m going to relax and understand my own enoughness…
I’m on week two of this journey, and I’ve found that this energy of “not enough,” when not applied toward personal-development, pushes me toward buying new clothes, changing my hair (in laughable ways) and poking at my love-handles. Reading books was a bit cheaper, but I get it: there are millions of ways we run from the fear that we’re not enough. We all have millions of different ways we hiding from ourselves.
I’m certain that awareness is the antidote…
How are you learning to understand your own enoughness?