More on happiness and mindfulness.

July 29, 2011 at 10:32 am | Posted in A Year of Mindfulness | 1 Comment
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My sister is in town this week. Since it’s also the week of the annual daycare shut down, she has been taking care of O, too. She’s an absolute SAINT – staying on top of the potty training stuff, dealing with accidents (including poop. At the beach!), the three year old “I DO IT!” tantrums, and doing lots of fun things with him all the time.

I am in awe of her ability to keep up with his energy and tantrums and her patience with the drudgery of playing the SAME GAME over and over and over and over and over.

And seeing how good she is with him makes me angry, yet again, with infertility.

It’s so fucking unfair that she’s not a mom.

But I’m really thankful that she’s here, because this would have been the WORST week for me to take off.

On Wednesday, when I had to book yet another adjustment in my area, something snapped and the stress just sort of receded for a bit.

I suppose I hit a point where I accepted that this quarter is a nightmare and I just have to get through it as best as I can.

But it’s notable to mention that I have slipped back into the pattern of always feeling like a Big Failure, beating myself up for everything I’ve missed and taking every opportunity I’ve had to prove that I am NOT actually as capable as I think I am.

My friend D pointed out that I do this during times of stress, something which I had never noticed before now.

It’s true. And I’m starting to realize that my entire life has been built around SOMEONE criticizing me. My parents when I lived with them, yes.

But after Amy died, I took on the role of criticizer MYSELF, probably because I felt like I had fault in her death. If I hadn’t been so selfish, she might have been alive, and therefore, I clearly couldn’t exist without someone on me at all times.

And I’ve built my adult life around it.

I’m not sure what to DO about it, but it’s a pattern of behavior that I’m starting to notice.

And on a lot of your recommendations, I took out “The Happiness Project” from the library and started to read it.

She had me in the first few chapters where she said that she wasn’t UNhappy, just vaguely happy, and she didn’t want to live her life that way.

She lost me when she started compulsively researching techniques to live happier and making charts and action items. And all I could think was that I feel bad for her husband – she must be exhausting to live with.

I think I’m at a point in my life where I need to look inside MYSELF to find happiness. I’ve spent so much of my life hearing how much I suck, that I need to let go of that and learn about who I am, really, and what I want in my life as I move forward.

It means simplifying, I think. And devoting the time to quiet introspection, challenging the tenets of beliefs I’ve held for a long time (for example? I suck, I’m not capable, I’m a failure, etc), keeping an open mind on direction, letting myself off the hook for decisions I’ve made in the past.

Getting rid of the labels. There is no “good” or “bad.” It just is.

I have my work cut out for me. I’ve lived my life this way for so long, that I’m terrified of what change might mean for me. As I said to my therapist, if the Inner Critic goes away, will I do ANYTHING on my own?

But I clearly can’t live this way for much longer. Because I’m not happy.

And I don’t want O growing up unhappy either. I owe it to myself to find happiness so I can teach HIM how to find his own happiness someday, too.

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  1. I find myself trying to live differently too just for the reason you mention…because I want my son to have a happier life than I did growing up.

    Personally, I haven’t succeeded in making my inner critic go away. But, I have learned not to let my inner critic have the last word on what I do, don’t do, how I do things, etc. I find it very hard NOT to have the self-criticisms pop in my head. It’s a reflex for me. But what I have learned is when I hear my inner critic I tell myself to stop and slow down the inner critic’s voice ask myself if what I’m hearing is really true. At the beginning, I spent a lot of time assessing my “inner critic reflexes.” And what I’ve found is that even though there may be an inkling of truth to what my inner critic says, it is usually blown out of proportion. Anyway, after I don’t know how long of this, I find that my inner critic is quieter now. Not gone, but at least not always criticizing everything I do.


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