Neurons that fire together wire together

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by Wabi-sabi, Jan 1, 2014.

  1. titan_transcendence

    titan_transcendence Well-Known Member

    I would not hold my breath to expect your wife to give you any enthusiastic response for telling things like that. I echo what I (and others in here) have wrote before, that only thing man can try to get from his woman is respect by more doing and succeeding than with talking. You either got it or do not. I have firm belief that (at least most) woman just lack the interest or understanding for men's problems at all. By telling them about those things we just lose yet more of that precious and hard-earned respect they might give for us.
    Many of your thoughts echo very strongly what I have been going through during last years (albeit you are far ahead of me in rebooting). I too bear the constant burden how I have lost the game with women, how I have not even tried and seem not to have any favorable response or spark of interest from them at all. It truly is the painful wound, which feeds strongly my depression too. But my SO is not the right place to tell about it. Im grateful if able to see sexologist soon and then I try to go through these things on my own and with the help of this great arena, this board. Currently Im in the mental state of acceptance. That Ok, I lack that self-confidence, spark of life, success in life, right kind of energy whatever what makes some guys attractive in women's eyes. I simply lack that now and can accept it as now. But I can enjoy my life nonetheless, by focusing to this journey of self-discovery, which makes me more stronger, understanding and balanced being. I have thought a lot about going and trying to have an affair for more sexual self-confidence and acceptance too, but still have a lot of second thoughts about that too. It could be wrong way, something that makes just more pain in life than give that thing I seek after.
    What Im trying to tell in here that Im very interested about your tale and progress, following it closely. Keep up the good work and dont let anyone bring you feel down. You are a worthy man and at the right road, trying to be a better man and a better person. :cool:

    Btw. Its kind of ironic when you said that women do not like skinny guys. My SO would trade me with one very happily, because she do not like at all my broad shoulders and quite robust body, preferring sexually more skinny-looking guys. Women have very different tastes and preferences how their men should look like.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2017
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  2. Wabi-sabi

    Wabi-sabi Imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete

    Thanks for your thoughtful reply. It's interesting how it fits into the reading I was doing last night. Apparently ever guy that considers himself a failure with women has his excuse (sometimes more than one) which maintains the whole failure image. Here's a great overview on a somewhat sleazy site:

    "After a while, if a guy really attaches himself to his secret excuse (or his collection of secret excuses), they start to weave themselves deep into his mind and deep into his life. He may even begin avoiding trying to meet women altogether because he believes that he’s going to be rejected because of his looks, his race, his job, where he lives, his height or any other excuse that he is carrying around with him.

    "Eventually, he loses a lot of confidence in himself around women and begins to develop deeper insecurities about his attractiveness to women. Confidence, if you look it up in the dictionary, is essentially about having belief in yourself and your abilities. By attaching himself to his excuses, he has less and less belief in himself and his ability to attract women, so he loses more and more confidence."

    Women are drawn to confidence. It's a circular argument - we fail with women because we feel like failures with women. The article says to look out for all the fat/skinny/ugly/broke guys with women and ask yourself how they did it. . . basically, every guy gets rejected by hundreds of women; the successful ones don't give up, don't call themselves failures.

    Here's a great reply on Quora: "There was a research lab (I wish I could remember which) that had male subjects to ask women for phone numbers. Some men got many; some got few or none. It turned out that the "studs" got rejected as many times as the "nerds" did. The difference was that the studs kept on asking, even after getting rejected over and over. The nerds were only "losers" because they gave up after a few rejections."

    The moral of the story is fake it till you make it.

    Then, this morning I had the talk with my wife. I'd done the set-up so she'd have to ask me - making it clear I was going to be coming and going at will, but also being involved in family stuff so it didn't look like I was sulking and would come round. I was lacing up my runners a little before 7am and she came out of her bedroom. She asked where I was going, and I said "Out." Boom - I knew that was my moment.

    I didn't give the speech I'd planned, there were too many interruptions for that, but the main points came out over time. She was evasive, not wanting to go on about the past when it related to her, but wanting to talk about my previous misdeeds. But after a while she got her runners on and we hiked through the neighbourhood, which really helped to do something shared as we dealt with stuff. I talked about my issues, from falling apart after my brother died to deciding to change my life a couple of years back. I didn't mention PMO - no point, she'd not have got that. It was interesting that she saw a big change in my about a year back but not before. I made my position clear: I don't want you to have to leave the house you worked so hard for, or to break the family up, but next time you call me a failure I'm getting you a profile on Plenty of Fish. You're going to get the successful guy you want, I'm going to be gone. She said I wasn't to make threats. Fine, but accept that I can't move ahead if you are being negative about me. I made it clear we had nothing in common any more: no shared activities, no conversation about anything other that children stuff. If it keeps on like that, I'm out when they leave, and that's the best you can look forward to. I told her that I'm also fed up with her freaking out if I spent money on myself and generally not trusting me to do stuff in case I break it.

    We agreed to work on things, to spend time together at some point every week and to actually talk about stuff rather than letting it build up. I feel like I've cleared stuff that's been dragging me down for years. I feel like I've turned a new corner. I'm going to be doing me stuff, being more confident. If she doesn't like that, she can replace me. (Not being overly attached to stuff gives you power.) On the downside, I did agree to counselling.

    I decided that for the next few week's I'd act like I had confidence and self-esteem. It will be an act at first, but I want to try the fake it till you make it thing. I want to see if I can make my own reality with positive stuff, just like I did with the negative.

    Right now I'm off to book my first ever session in a gym - the one with the trainer to show you around. Always been shit scared of that one. But guys that feel good about themselves don't run and hide, right?

    Again, thanks, and good luck on your own journey.
  3. gymaddict

    gymaddict Member

    Praying for you Wabi in all these complex issues. Respect is what we men want most from our wives other than intimate sex.

    God help you is my prayer. I have so enjoyed your sharings bro. It was you who helped me to see that stinking thinking, analysis paralysis, fear and anxiety were works of the enemy to torment us. Once I learned to be more objective about the way I was thinking and to give thanks and praise to God in those moments, my healing began in earnest.

    I appreciate you bro and am sorry you are so torn in your marriage.
  4. fcjl8

    fcjl8 The only path for me

    Sorry that you have such a marital battle going on Wabi... I am happy to pray for healing.

    I know other men facing similar negative feedback from their spouses and I have seen miracle healings in these marriages.

    Peace and love brother
  5. Wabi-sabi

    Wabi-sabi Imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete

    Respect and intimacy. That's everything in a relationship.

    I read an interview with a relationship counsellor who said some couples fight and bicker for years and it actually keeps them together - but when one side starts to mock the other, then that relationship's on death watch. So, yeah, that's why I decided to do something to fix things.

    Thanks. It's strange that things are better between us than they have been for a long time for having my meltdown and moving into the basement. It gave me the opportunity to express some stuff that's been burning away inside for too long. We've agreed to do together stuff each week, and actually start communicating, which should stop problems piling up in the future.

    I'm also working on improving myself, and I've got some skills training coming up, which she can respect. I also realize that I neglected her for years, as a porn addict; I'm asking her to have the grace to forgive me, and I'll offer her the same.

    Now I'm feeling better about myself things like this don't present as intractable problems.

    Right now I'm reading Malcolm Gladwell's David and Goliath. It shows how changing our mindset turns obstacles into advantages, and that progress comes out of suffering and adversity.

    There's an interesting passage about the Blitz. Before the war, the UK military command thought German saturation bombing of London would cause mass panic, and war production would be impossible. But in the event, people were courageous to the point of indifference. Life went on - in retrospect, some people referred to it as the happiest time of their lives. The psychological reason is that people who aren't killed or injured by falling bombs begin to feel "excitement with a flavour of invulnerability," which Gladwell quotes from a post-war book by a psychiatrist (The Structure of Morale, JT MacCurdy). It goes on:

    "We are all of us not merely liable to fear, we are also prone to being afraid of being afraid, and the conquering of fear produces exhilaration. . . When we have been afraid that we may panic in an air raid, and, when it has happened, and we have exhibited to others nothing but a calm exterior and we are now safe, the contrast between the previous apprehension and the present relief and feeling of security promotes a self-confidence that is the very father and mother of courage."

    I've lived in fear for years. Recently I realized I was afraid of being afraid - that I went from being terrified of things like running and cold showers to finding them the greatest buzz going. As Gladwell writes, courage isn't something you are born with, it's something you learn by living through tough times (and realizing you did better than you would've thought).

    The conquering of fear produces exhilaration. That's what rebooting is, for me. Realizing I was afraid of being afraid, and facing down my fears - I'm walking away from PMO feeling stronger for having faced up to my lifelong insecurity and low self-esteem. I'm feeling confidence and courage.

    I'm not saying I'm through, just that I'm feeling more self-confident at work and home, and my self-esteem is building.
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2017
  6. titan_transcendence

    titan_transcendence Well-Known Member

    This may feel like a stupid thing to say, but whenever I have watched very realistic seeming war movies with full chaos of battlefield, I have felt two different emotions: rational side of me saying how stupid, how utterly idiotic its that man starts those wars and what a waste of young lives. But the other side, perhaps more primal, gives me a kind of exhilarating sensation that wow, to be there and to survive, how it would feel like being full of life afterwards. That part of me would want to experience something like that, to face almost certain death to feel how great it to be just alive. I think these feelings resemble what you described above.

    Thanks, feeling discouraged this morning, these were the wise words from you that I think will make a difference for today.

    I hope you will reap new benefits in your journey of self-actualization and self-discovery.
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  7. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    Most women and men can't articulate what they really want. We have a vague idea that it's the other one's fault and if they did better then we would do better, too. This is the problem I have with airing the dirty laundry, our list of grievances. They are like to-do lists, annoying to the person who is listening. I have found that the more I ask for my wife to give me support, to understand me, to stop sabotaging me, the more she does it. I already know she's a bitch-on-steroids, at times. I know she is not going to change. I tried other women on for size and it turned out they are pretty much all the same. Or, to look at it another way, I seem to attract/be attracted to, the same cray cray. Overcoming this addiction takes about two years, but it takes many more to find out just what makes us tick. This is why trying to fix the marriage, imo, is faulty reasoning, because it always leads us back to where we started; namely, looking for someone else to make us happy. My wife's voice is mostly noise to me now. She doesn't get to change the trajectory of my day just because her being crazy gives meaning to her day. A man, imho, lives in isolation in this way, and looks to other men/hobbies in order to sustain his emotional side.

    Your wife taking the initiative about counseling now puts her in the driver's seat. She will be WAY better at talking about her feelings than you will be. When women say they are listening, what they are really doing is sucking the man back into the status-quo, the one where they try and wear the pants. To quote Shakespeare "...
    And all our yesterdays have lighted fools, The way to dusty death. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing."

    I admire your growth, Wabi. You are intelligent and wise. Keep your eye on your own journey; it's all you've got.
  8. Wabi-sabi

    Wabi-sabi Imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete

    Thank you, HeyRevolver, for sifting through my journal and giving me feedback. This is truly therapeutic: there's the event, there's my interpretation of it, and then there's another view - yours - the more detached way of seeing the world. It makes me realize my interpretations are just instant guesses, and should not be given too much attention. I always use them as weapons against myself, rather than just observing myself and moving on.

    Right now I'm reading Make Peace With Your Mind by Mark Coleman, which is about silencing your inner critic. It's pure gold. I'm going to write a longer journal entry about it, but for now, I'd recommend it to everyone here. I made a great advance in my journey when I stopped calling myself a loser, but I'm still the harshest critic of myself - I'm saying the same hurtful things about myself but in a slightly more socially acceptable way. A couple of chapters in, and with your comments, I'm realizing that I'm forever beating myself up for not being happier! I turned a random meeting into the street into some symbolic act. . . but really, it was just some passing strangers. It had no meaning.

    This. Dropping that habit is the way out of here. Having said that, relapsing is great, because it shows you where your pain is. With me, it's self-pity. It's feeling like a failure, it's feeling weak. Why? Is this common to all men, or is it just the taunt I use against myself because I've found it to be the most hurtful?

    All I know is that it comes from my inner critic. Pulling myself to pieces, and projecting my pain onto other people, convincing myself that they despise me also. But, thanks to the miracle of compulsory masturbation to pixels on a screen, I've landed this amazing opportunity to rebuild my self-esteem.

    Strangely enough, we're now getting on better than we have in years - I think we both realize what we have to lose, and we've started communicating. We've resumed sex. Actually, I've resumed finding her sexy. I had to let go of the anger first, I guess.

    She can be harsh, but at the same time I have to admit that I left a load of hurt to fester from my PMO years, and it needed lancing. We both needed to sit down and talk about how we were hurting each other, and to figure out how to get out of the rut.

    Thank you. At first, I thought this was about learning emotional control. Then I began to see it as a spiritual journey, it's learning to be at peace with myself so I will find peace in the world. In a strange way, I don't need to discover myself, I just need to learn to let myself go and live in the moment, letting things come and go without recrimination or attachment. Maybe that is self-discovery, realizing the filters I view the world through and accounting for them.

    I gave up on the marriage, but when I started trying to fix myself, I started finding the marriage improving.

    In the process I've realized that I'm not in a hurry to pull my marriage apart; I like the companionship, of not coming to an empty house after work. I like having a house, rather than living by myself in a crappy apartment (this is the world's most expensive city to buy/rent). I like having my children around me, and, at times, the challenge of living with a bunch of crazy women. Leaving would destroy the children.

    I agree with you, but. . . I'll wait and see if she goes ahead and books it. I had to give up some ground so we could move on from fighting. I agreed to the idea of counselling, remember. Let's say I've not reminded her!

    When we had that discussion I was talking about leaving. I really had to agree to counselling, as I believe it's something you should attempt before breaking up your family - there's nothing to lose at that point. I wouldn't expect to win any verbal arguments, you never do with women, but I'd go in with the game plan of making her realize how difficult it is to be a man these days, with all the contradictory expectations placed on you.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2017
  9. over_it

    over_it Active Member

    I am glad to hear this. I tried to fix myself but spent too much energy trying to 'fix' my significant other and the marriage. Now divorced and realising the focus has to be on me (which felt foreign at first.)

    I am also an advocate of counselling. Even though it didn't save my marriage it certainly helped me understand things better and I think it does potentially improve communication. A lot does depend on the counsellor though, and whether you click with them.
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  10. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    I think children are pretty resilient, but I am a BIG fan of keeping the family unit together. My marriage was on the brink a few years ago, after I had had my second affair, but I'm so glad that we worked out, and more specifically that I worked it out in my own head. Glad things are rolling forward for you in a positive way, Wabi. That book sounds interesting!
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  11. fcjl8

    fcjl8 The only path for me

    Silencing the inner critic. That is so good brother.
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  12. Wabi-sabi

    Wabi-sabi Imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete

    Tired. It's been a crazy week at work, taking too much on, and I'm going down with a cold.

    I applied for a few jobs last Saturday and during the week got callbacks on two: I've got an interview lined up for Monday, and possibly another depending on whether they liked the 15-minute telephone pre-screening. Right now I'm feeling kinda bring it on about the interview. The last couple I did were post-relapse and I was a zombie. This time I'm going to walk in tall and play the game. Can't promise to win the day, because you never know what they are looking for or who you are up against, but I can say I'm in the mind frame to enjoy it, and I'll learn from it, whatever happens.

    I've been in my current job far too long. I've been scared of leaving, and my loyalty has just meant my pay has stagnated. Earlier in the month I asked my boss to give me what she'd pay if they were hiring my position now, and she said they couldn't afford it. Yeah. . . they'll find a way to afford it when they have to fill my position, they just don't want to give it to me. (In fairness, they've run out of money. . . but that's just another reason to bail.)

    A large part of rebuilding my self-esteem is getting my finances and career sorted out. I'm still at the fake-it-till-you-make-it stage, but I'm feeling better about myself already.

    That and. . .

    It's liberating reading Make Peace With Your Mind (Mark Coleman) and realizing how many people fall into the trap. I'm not listening to the critic any more; once something is done it's behind me, there's no blame, no shame. Just like a couple of years back, learning to forgive myself for PMO, and finding how this was a vital part of breaking the cycle of addiction.

    It felt odd at first. . . strange feelings of guilt for being so messed up, ashamed that it was unmanly to fall apart. But that was just the critic pulling me apart. Actually, now I'm glad for what happened, because I like the positive feelings I'm starting to see.

    It's interesting that people are finding me easier to like now I'm starting to like myself, and starting to project confidence. I've a way to go yet, but I'm seeing enough progress to realize there's something in it. I just have to keep going.

    I'm inspired by Pema Chödrön, especially with the suggestion to start Seeing neurosis as neurosis. I can look at my unhappiness without hating myself for it and feeding it further.

    Thank you. I've known so many guys that have walked out, only to re-create the exact same toxic relationship. My children are gold to me. I'm doing this for them.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2017
  13. TheLongWalk

    TheLongWalk Guest

    I wish you all the best of luck for your upcoming interviews. I gain so much by reading your journal but rarely, do I post. Thanks for being here!
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  14. Wabi-sabi

    Wabi-sabi Imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete

    So let's just say my interview was mixed. The stuff I'd rehearsed was good, which came at the beginning and end, and throughout I stayed on message about what I wanted them to take away from the conversation (my writing). A couple of their questions caught me off guard. . . not making excuses, but I felt lousy and couldn't think straight and let my guard slip a few times.

    That's fine, it's the way life is. I'm not blaming myself. I gave it my best shot on the day, and they either appreciated me or they didn't. They probably made up their minds in the first two minutes anyway. . . I'll hear next week; I've still not heard back after last week's telephone pre-screening. It'll either be a feast or a famine.

    In terms of rebooting, a job interview was the perfect test - something intensely stressful that I've built a storyline of failure around. The important thing was, when I was preparing, I deflected my inner critic telling me I was no good and they'd want a real professional. No self pity, no urges.

    Working on cutting negative self-talk from my life really helped. I realized that I do this both before attempting something (Don't even bother, you're no good) and afterwards (Well you really fucked that up, didn't you?). Reading Make Peace With Your Mind helped me realize how you suffer both ways: the critic tells you not to bother, then afterwards berates you for messing up! You never win if you listen to him.

    Negativity is just a habit that I'm going to leave behind. The Power of Habit was a game-changer for me. I'm outlining problems I want to move away from, and building new activities to replace them.

    Thank you, this is therapy for me. Relationships are something you have to work at, nothing is written in the stars. We decided to still be married. The very best thing about my wife is that I'm allowed to talk to other women, find them sexy even, although not touch them. So I'm not having to deal with insane jealousy. And I'm cool with her having male friends, too.

    People get very attached to their suffering and anger. That's what addiction is, telling yourself that you are easing the pain while you are prolonging it, reveling in it all. It's a trap. Funny, but fearing relapses kept me stuck in it. . . easing up on myself and regarding them as a spiritual guide allowed me to move ahead. I don't regret any of it.
  15. Wabi-sabi

    Wabi-sabi Imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete

    This. The better I feel about myself, the more I like the people around me. The more I let go of my pain, the more space I make for other people in my life.

    For a long time I was thinking that I'd been rebooting years and racked up a lengthy day count, so I must be better. . . but until recently I was still negative, still self-hating, just in different ways. Actually, I was better able to voice my frustration with others because I no longer shied away from the world. At times, things seemed to be getting worse.

    I guess you have to do this in stages: first, stop PMOing; just break the habit. Then look at what was driving the addiction, and learn new habits to replace it. But that just gets you to a holding position, you have to go into the next stage, and actually learn to be happy and free. I'm not trying to establish a state of not-porn, I'm trying to get comfortable in my own skin. The opposite of wanting to relapse is being happy.

    I've long said it was a spiritual journey, but you have to be able to look unflinchingly at yourself first and make peace with everything you've got festering away in your dark places, otherwise the spiritual stuff becomes just another bunch of magical thinking.

    Reading Make Peace with Your Mind has helped me this last couple of weeks. Some parts I skipped over, but others I read over and again. Mark Coleman makes the point that you come up with the inner critic at around age eight when you begin to worry about getting shunned for saying something uncool, which is basically why the nagging voice you hear the rest of your life is so emotionally unsophisticated.

    One chapter in particular resonated with me - it could have been about me. I've typed it out, and added it to my own recovery resources. I'll paste it in below, with apologies for another lengthy post. It's essentially the first three pages of chapter 23, Befriending Yourself - but I prefer the sub-heading, You are not your enemy:

    "The shift from living with attachment to the judgmental mind to living with kindness is perhaps the most important part of our work with the critic. It requires us to embrace all of who we are – the good, the bad, and the ugly. This can require a radical shift in our inner world, to allow ourselves to welcome into our heart the parts of ourselves we have denied, repressed or rejected.

    "Carl June wrote, “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. The latter procedure, however, is disagreeable and therefore not popular.” We can try running to the light for a while, as happens in a spiritual search, in the hope of bypassing all of the difficult, painful stuff of life. But that ultimately does not work. Genuine spiritual growth has to include all of who we are.

    "Fortunately, life has a way of getting us to deal with our disowned parts and hidden selves. In all of life there is a yearning for integration. At some point it is not a choice. Life will eventually grab us by the tail or slap us in the face to wake us up. It does that by finding ways to help us see the pain of splitting off vital parts of ourselves that we have denied. That certainly is what happened to me.

    "In my own spiritual journey, like many young, idealistic seekers, I had a skewed idea of what enlightenment was. It was a place that was far above the muck of everyday life. It was beyond the messiness of emotional pain and the conflicts of relationships. I wanted to transcend, to get above it all, so the challenge of being human wouldn’t hurt so much.

    "Eastern meditative traditions seemed to offer a way out. I was on a fast track in meditation, heading only toward the light. I wanted to awaken so I could rise above the inner struggles. I didn’t see then that I was misdirected in my search, driven by an unconscious fleeing from pain.

    "Such a naïve aspiration has within it an inability to turn towards our more vulnerable, tender, and wounded places. But in the journey toward healing the pain of the inner critic, the essential transformation occurs when we begin to turn toward ourselves with kindness. That turn allows us to hold the pain of our losses, fears and vulnerability as we would tend to a friend in distress.

    "Sometimes the urgency to transcend, to go toward the light, is itself an indication of the strength of the unaddressed pain that is waiting patiently to be healed. I see this frequently in my meditation courses. When I see that intensity of seeking, I often wonder what challenge or trauma may lie underneath the drive to transcend.

    "For most of my life I was quite unaware of the layers of wounds that I carried. There were parts of myself that felt incredibly tender and sad. Parts of my heart were frozen in fear, isolation, and numbness. Yet the more I opened to the spiritual path, the wider the chasm grew between the clarity and light I sought and the hurting places inside. The critic was my reminder, an indication that all was not well, a manifestation of how I had turned against myself. My search for the light was a defense against the sadness and pain within.

    "What the journey required was for me to stop trying to escape. I needed to find integration and wholeness right here, in my own body, inside my own skin. The peace I was looking for was not to be found in some heavenly realm, or in some rapturous mystical experience, but in a loving acceptance of the whole of my being. And it is the journey of descent, of journeying into the heart. We must be willing to be with whatever we discover there and hold it with love, acceptance, and tenderness.

    "The critic, for all its trying, does not know how to relate to those raw, wounded places inside except through fear and judgement. Generally those painful inner parts of us were not so welcome by our family, friends or society. We are often told we were weak for having such feelings. We were led to believe we were self-indulgent or self-pitying if we talked about them or gave them any attention. We learned how to hide these emotions and put on a brave face, and we compensated in ways that others wouldn’t detect.

    "When we do this, the critic tries to ensure we don’t reveal any vulnerability that would open us to being hurt or exploited, so it shuts down the feelings with harsh, shaming words. This habit becomes second nature, and as we grow up, we get further and further away from the tender, raw places inside. And though they remain hidden, they continue to exert a powerful influence over our behavior."
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2017
  16. Wabi-sabi

    Wabi-sabi Imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete

    So, no more figures of light for me - it's the hard work of self-acceptance. The parts of me that I've "denied, repressed or rejected."

    I'm still chewing over the lengthy quote in my previous post - it's interesting because it's a perfect summary of the entire book. I can relate to all of it. It's what my journal has been lurching towards: trying to hide but being slapped by life - porn addiction - and the subsequent need to show kindness to ourselves in order to "hold the pain of our losses, fears and vulnerability."

    The most amazing paragraph is worth repeating in full: "For most of my life I was quite unaware of the layers of wounds that I carried. There were parts of myself that felt incredibly tender and sad. Parts of my heart were frozen in fear, isolation, and numbness. Yet the more I opened to the spiritual path, the wider the chasm grew between the clarity and light I sought and the hurting places inside. The critic was my reminder, an indication that all was not well, a manifestation of how I had turned against myself. My search for the light was a defense against the sadness and pain within."

    Note the description of the critic as my reminder, an indication that all was not well, a manifestation of how I had turned against myself.

    In other words, I'm seeing the critic as I do porn addiction. Putting it a positive light, I can see both are red flags - my unconscious to urging me to face up to my fears and pain. Of course, both are themselves painful and self-defeating. Anything that causes fear, judgement and low self-confidence/self-esteem isn't ever going to help heal anything. But I feel that I need to embrace PMO and my inner critic in order to move on, just as I need to forgive the scared child within.

    First order of priority is to get over my fears of being seen as weak, or a loser, for my hurt. I need to get over the desire to be strong for other people, to not let anyone see that I'm dying inside.

    It's been a difficult few days at home, with the children highly stressed about going back to school and my wife stressed about her new job and everyone acting up and bickering. I'm also waiting to hear back from last week's job interview, and there's some work things that are falling apart. However, I've realized that I'm now immeasurably better at dealing with stress. I still feel stress, of course - probably more so, now I'm more attune with my own emotions - but it doesn't trigger me. I no longer want to hide from the world.

    But the game isn't won yet: it's self-pity that will get me. I need to face up to my deep-seated pain without launching into a pity party. I know that I'm up to the task. I think I'll get there with forgiveness and patience and mindfulness, but that's looking ahead. I should concentrate on what I've got now, and enjoy that, and be grateful.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2017
    Nuwanda likes this.
  17. Wabi-sabi

    Wabi-sabi Imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete

    So I didn't get the job - just heard that my interview last Monday was unsuccessful. (As was the phone interview the previous week.)

    I feel like I failed, but I don't regard myself as a failure, if that makes sense. I'm down about it, but I'm not beating myself up or calling myself names. I think that's a result - in terms of rebooting, at least.

    I need some work-related training, and interview skills sessions. I'm just not that good at spinning the bullshit bingo. Still, I'm taking it in my stride: not pity party, no despair, no blame, no urges.

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