For quite a while now I have been of the mindset that a good part of mental health is embracing the flaws, the nicked corners, and the pockets of rust that reside in the darkish regions of the psyche–honestly just because I, like other inhabitants of this world, have learned my lessons well: don’t air the dirty laundry; be professional; when asked how your doing, only respond, “That life is good; business is great.”
But something happened this week that has made me want to explore and ponder the other side of this paradox.Maybe I need to take a hard look at these things I have just been embracing, and like a bad boyfriend, kick them out the door. Or as my 12 step friends say, survey the inventory and throw out what is rotten.
All this really got going when I learned that someone that I know thought I talked too much and was not that great of a listener. This stung for two reasons: this person said it behind my back and well, after a week of self-reflection, it is true.
Like waves on a shore, other character defects began to raise their hands to be called on…judgement of others, brittleness, vanity, a tiny closet stuffed with the I’m-doing-more-than-others attitude, and worst of all–the twins–resentment and pride.
Along with this period of self appraisal, this off-season lent or Yom Kippur, has been an awakening that most of the suffering that I see in those around me and within myself, comes from defending these broken places that reside within the human heart. Quite a different entity than acceptance. Defending a sore spot is not the same as acknowledging that it there. If there is consciousness, it can be dealt with, and in time, healed. I see humanity and me wanting acceptance so badly, yet this stuff-that-needs-go just blockades human connection. Sufferers long to be wanted and appreciated, but it just doesn’t happen. At least not in the way the heart hopes.
So where does this leave me? Well, today I accept that I have a lot of work to do. I will not hide these facts about myself…but…I will not just leave them to poison my life and my connections with others. I will roll up my psychic sleeves and work on becoming the better person, the kinder person, the gentler person, that I was meant to be.