Scott Peck wrote life is hard, and when we accept that fact, we are able to transcend it. A fancy way of saying that when we can accept that life is hard, it becomes much less difficult. My problem is that I can say that life is hard, but I don’t want to accept it. I realize this is rather childish, perhaps even infantile, but there it is. The truth isn’t always pretty. And trust me, neither are the temper tantrums that go on in my head sometimes about the fact that life is hard.
Because I am someone who has difficulty accepting that life is hard, my solution is to make it easier by taking the edge off. I come from a long line of those who take the edge off. There are some ways that I used to take the edge off that I can no longer do at all. There are others that I have to continue to do – I mean, a girl’s gotta eat, and see what’s happening on Facebook.
What I realized is that when I take the edge off the pain, I also take the edge off the joy and the happiness, and that sucks. So I decided I didn’t want to do that anymore. However, this is easier said than done, for me anyway. Because I also still have those temper tantrums I mentioned earlier. And, as Mr. Peck mentioned, life is hard.
It turns out I never really learned how to do life, especially the emotional part. As in, how to deal with hard emotions like being pissed off, or jealous, or resentful or sad. Perhaps there was a class on this that I missed. If there isn’t a class on this, I think there should be.
So since I didn’t know how to deal with those difficult emotions, I turned to what people did while I was growing up – I took the edge off. I numbed. It turns out that numbing is not conducive to good relationships; neither are worthiness issues.
In case you think I’m some kind of genius, let me hasten to tell you that it took me a very long time to figure this out. Like, I just figured it out. As in, I’m still figuring this out. Well, I did have a clue about the numbing and taking the edge off piece, since I grew up with so much of it. Of course, seeing that numbing might be problematic didn’t stop me from doing it for a really long time, because, you know, I’m different (insert eye roll here). Sadly, it turns out I’m not different when it comes to numbing.
It turns out that I can pretty much turn almost anything into numbing. Watching TV, reading, eating, planning, organizing, Facebooking, obsessing, …, ANYthing that distracts me from what I’m feeling, or, better yet, takes those feelings away.
Now I’m trying to learn how to do life without numbing. I’m trying to notice when I’m numbing, or when I’ve numbed, and, instead of turning away from what I’m feeling, to turn toward it. I’m trying to learn how to be kind to myself when I’m feeling those difficult emotions, instead of turning away or beating myself up.
I fail more often than I succeed at this. I still numb, thankfully in much less destructive ways than I used to. But I’m starting to catch myself at it sometimes, and sometimes I’m even able to stop, mid-numb. Sometimes I’m even able to tell that I want to numb, and then I don’t numb! This is a miracle, but, like most of those kinds of miracles, it doesn’t happen very often.
I just try to remember to pay attention to what’s going on with me, how I’m feeling, and be kind to myself. While you wouldn’t think this would be difficult, it really is. For me, anyway. I just keep trying, struggling along.