This Capricorn recently marked another birthday. Being human, we celebrate and yet complain about the different aspects of our birthdays. As children, we earn for the cake, the candles and gifts. Let’s be honest… as kids, we love feeling special for a day. And yet…
We also have that dissatisfied side, which finds some type of fault in everything and feels a tinge of discomfort. As a child, that dissatisfied self longed for summer pool parties when snowstorms and family colds hampered January celebrations. Some feel lonely or resentful when others forget, or disappointed when they don’t get that special gift. The Ego is the master of narcissism, which roars to life when we’re feeling vulnerable.
We all hit a time in our lives when we feel lonely, unappreciated, ignored and misunderstood. Birthdays and holidays seem to magnify these perceptions. We assume the angst of adolescence leaves in our early 20’s. Wrong! That uncomfortable feeling of trying to sort our identity, to feel comfortable in our own skin, to simply feel that we belong, can happen during any major shift in our lives. It happens…
- When we leave our childhood home, as we try to sort our adult identity from the labels and expectations we and others have about our younger selves.
- When we find our first job (or a new one), and try to find our footing and the trust of others.
- If we move a lot, and try to establish friendships when we get to wherever we are going.
- When we REALLY want to make new friendships or nurture romantic ones.
- When any relationship, romantic, friendship, or familial, ends.
- If we lose our job, money, and overall sense of security.
- If we face a traumatic event.
- If we get seriously ill or injured.
Our whole sense of self can come unhinged, and we might feel lost and confused. We may not be sure what our current sense of self is, and whom we can turn to. If you add in the expectations and memories associated with holidays and birthdays, we can feel pretty lonely, IF….
IF we only choose to see things in a negative, half-empty kind of way.
And if we choose to see ourselves as… VICTIMS.
That last word is an ugly one. We truly don’t WANT to be a victim, and we hate what it may mean, being and feeling helpless. However, if we blame others and life situations for our current “state of existence,” we’re CHOOSING not to do anything about it. That’s when we confuse a “life situation” as being a part of our identity.
It’s Time to Get Off the Symbolic Couch
It is broken, old place where you are mentally and spiritually stuck, especially if it is on a special day or milestone. Stop ruminating! Drop these words and thoughts from your vocabulary:
- What you “don’t,” “should,” “could” or “can’t” have.
- The “what if’s” — good or bad, about the past and future. These two small words take up a lot of real estate in your head, feeding worry, anger or resentment. They serve no purpose, yet they rob your time and attention away from things that are relevant NOW.
An old yogi once told me that Westerners worry too much about “Hell somewhere out there” when they are creating their own living hell with the words and thoughts they use toward themselves. “That,” he said, “is what sin really is – violence toward yourself.”
So for your birthday, I challenge you to write about what you DO HAVE and appreciate, starting with the smallest, basic experiences and people, past and present. Not sure where to begin? Let’s start with the basics:
- The roof over your head
- The air you breathe
- A beautiful place that inspires you
- A beloved pet
- A person who was kind or pleasant to you in the grocery store line
As you recognize the smaller things, you’ll start to see the bigger ones hiding behind them.
I was recently sharing my “what if” life scenarios with a friend. We were talking about life experiences when I noticed my inner compass leading me in the wrong direction. I wanted to go to a better college… I “should have” stayed in my original career path.
That inner voice, Mindfulness then whispered, “but wait, then you wouldn’t have met the fantastic people you know, be living in the wonderful neighborhood and city that you truly love, discovered a new passion, met your husband, or had your girls…” Ohhhhh.
For my birthday, I took the time to thank every single person who has shaped my life, with a little help from social media. By acknowledging them (and the experiences we shared), I got to see how I became ME, and how we all continue to evolve from each others’ influences. That’s a pretty powerful thing.
Are you still not convinced? If you have faced especially difficult times, start looking for the patterns of G-R-A-C-E. Yes, they are there. Remember James Stewart’s character in “It’s a Wonderful Life?” The influence of JUST ONE person, small action or life situation influences many people and your life’s path. Multiply that by every person, place and situation, and you may just notice the power that comes from the smallest of things.
“We know only too well that what we are doing is nothing more than a drop in the ocean. But if the drop were not there, the ocean would be missing something.”
― Mother Teresa