Can you leave them alone and stop demanding that they be(come) somebody for you? Can you let them be free of your tacit expectations & demands? Can you care unconditionally? Can you love them for real? Can you love through their fear? Could you do all this to yourself first?
All my life I’ve been trying to soften the blow of the truth. I’ve been putting tremendous emotional pressure on myself to spare others [and myself] from the pressure of dealing with the truth of my preferences and haphazard impulses. I was in a chronically contracted state almost all the time, in a desperate attempt to apply tourniquets on the leaky fabric of the truth of the moment. I’ve been both emotionally and metabolically constipated—conditioned to be agreeable and to seek compulsively to please and to act as a cushion and act as a buffer and pamper and therefore resent others. I’ve been routinely putting myself down and letting myself be bullied into being a resentful victim or occasionally the unwitting perpetrator of passive aggression. In short, I choose to be weak to reassure the weakness in one another. /Until the day I got truly tired of it.
Here’s another installment of a dramatized internal conflict in the form of a dialogue. I’ll cut to the chase right away and keep it pretty succinct—to reproduce it [the tempo of my mind] as realistically as possible. Admittedly, it may feel pretty fast-paced and somewhat illogical & disjointed at places as a result:
M: Let’s be honest: I still choose contraction over relaxation. I still choose to delay a projected prospect of gratification. I still choose to work on the project of self-actualization, and therefore I still choose to hold back and keep my gut tense. I still choose constipation over free flow. I still choose the illusion of separateness and the illusion of agency & control. I still go with the flow of the ego & dismiss the flow of the truth. Etc.
Q: Ok, now that you profess to be honest, let’s get clear too. First off, why do you think you choose holding back?
M: … Because I want to prove. I want to prove that what I do works. I want to prove ’’them’’ wrong. I want to prove myself to them. I want to prove, to be approved. If I gave up now decades of effort would go down the drain.
Q: [I, I, I, I, I, lololol] What is it that You want to prove to ’’them’’?
M: … I want them to finally see that I’m fascinating. I want them to be humbled by how right and how cool I am, by how good of a taste and style and blowing mind I have. I want them to become silent but raving fans of me.
Q: [And You, You, You, You, You attempt to do that (i.e. proving your truth) by holding back…WTF?] Why do you want ’’them’’ to be fascinated?
M: … So that I can finally relax knowing that they finally see & appreciate me and I don’t have to prove anything anymore.
Q: [Keep pushing to get to rest?—Hmm.] What exactly do you want them to ’’see’’?
M: I want them to see how amazing I am.
M: Again, so that I can relax.
Q: Right. So, what happens when you relax?
M: It means (feeds back as the sense) that I succeeded in proving my point. I’ll be seen & appreciated at long last.
Q: So you feel ’’they’’ don’t appreciate you now. Do you appreciate ’’them’’ by the way?
M: … Only those who are real.
Q: Right. So, who is ’’real’’ for you? [Are you?]
M: … Someone who totally lets go and speaks & lives the(ir) truth without fear. Someone who feels no need to take things personally and engages life & others with absolutely no strings attached. Someone who has transcended the bounds of their petty self-concern and shines without any sense of shame or guilt or anxiety.
Q: Do you see the paradox here?
M: … Yes, I guess, I do—Admittedly, I always feel at my best when I allow a selfless flow determine they way I engage. I feel in the zone when I’m in the zone. It’s a paradox indeed, in that: Basically, I want others to acknowledge me for something I don’t actually do but RELAX into at times, that is: I want to take credit for what comes through me DESPITE of me.
Q: Do you feel the absurdity of this paradox?
M: … Well, let me sort this out: I want them to see (amazing) me so that I can relax. And yet, I feel amazing precisely when I’m simply relaxed into my actions and I don’t even care whether I’m seen or not since there is not much of an I there to begin with. I is only an after-thought which then all of a sudden takes over and demands to reproduce the sensation after the fact and feels frustrated by failing at [reclaiming] it. Or something like that, I guess.
Q: Or something like that, yes. Now, where do we go from here?
M: I know. I know. I gotta go with the truth. And drop all defense and speak the truth and live the truth and be the truth. And I must align because I want to align and to align I can’t wobble too much so I must keep an even keel & follow the lead of the truth, all the way.
Q: Or else?
M: Or else it’s a waste of a lifetime spent in endless yo-yoing between, say, supper & next day struggle.
Q: Well, I would tone the melodramatic vibe down a bit but I say: Right on Márk. [Sort of.]
/Reading back this dialogue a few days later: I cannot help but feel amused how the ego [M] proceeds to give foolproof, well-rehearsed advice on how to transcend itself at the end. The only parts worth paying any sincere attention to are the bracketed comments. The rest is [smart-ass] nonsense./
I can spin the wheels as much as I want. I can spin them as intensely as I wish. I can feel cheated, unfairly dealt & treated, victimized and abused. I can argue with the truth of this moment as much as I wish. I can argue that I merit more. I can argue that I deserve better because I’ve put in plenty of effort and I sacrifice a lot more than others. Again, I can spin the wheels as much as I wish. I can dismiss the truth as much as I please. By all means. I can argue with it till the day that I run out of any emotional gas to spin my worn-out wheels in the quicksand of my nonsense, I can. Nay, I can dismiss it till the day I give up that spent ghost of mine. But the fact still remains: till I hold back, and up & out and off & on, life holds back too.
If someone suffers from the compulsion to please others they are also prone to be abusive (passive aggressively or even sadistically) towards others. It’s like a pendulum in swing. The balance is kept by compensatory ways of behaviors.
Typically, the frustration that builds up when they’re holding back—out there where they feel unsafe—they end up venting through (passive) aggression whereever they feel safe.
Reflecting on the decade of abuse I’ve unwittingly inflicted upon my body by not listening to what it actually needs—what nutrients it seeks to ingest, what movement and breathing patterns it seeks to express, what relationships it seeks to engage and disengage from, etc.—I realized how my mind has acted like the burly character Lennie from John Steinbeck’s novella Of mice and men: with good intentions but ill proportions, full of excitement and enthusiasm, strangling what it fancies to death as it were. Much like Lennie our mind (by socially conditioned default) is enamored of fluffy things at the expense of the real things to the point of outright abuse
How could we ever become true to each other until we take things so personally and get hurt and aggressive (mostly passively but sometimes physically abusive) whenever the Truth slips out of sync with our personal judgment and preference and, by the same token, places our (adopted and ingrained) sense of comfort and safety under threat?
No matter how much we resist and sulk and argue and suffer the Truth will out.
And yet we keep on discouraging each other from being true and transparent because we are stubborn as a mule and won’t give up taking things personally. What a farce. Instead of encouraging each other to be real we seek to do the opposite.
The prognosis is clear: So long as we fail to align with the Truth and proceed instead to take things personally we will feel (and be) disempowered which in turn will compel us to find ways to disempower others too