24 September 2015

Theory of relativity

You know that time that you did that thing and it played on your mind endlessly. It was the rock in your chest, the nauseated feeling in your throat, the words of recrimination spewing poison into your mind.

And you finally came clean with somebody and they laughed.

Or hugged you.

Or spoke kindly to you of the power of forgiveness. For yourself first and foremost.

And all of a sudden, that thing was a lesser thing. A manageable thing.  Actually, just a thing.

People's things are different. Huge. Take one friend of mine - Honest, loyal, kind, hardworking, thoughtful, loving, funny and strong. She also has a flexible approach to deadlines, a genius for conflict avoidance and (to me) a completely bizarre belief that she is not 'good enough' and 'unloveable'.

We were talking recently about some things that had been happening in her life and how this thing had happened and she felt terrible about it. I was vehemently banging the table and pointing fingers and telling her that she is an idiot (I'm a supportive friend like that).

Says I, in full throttle, "You are amazing, you're funny, you're a gorgeous friend, you're a great mum, a brilliant boss and that example you just gave me is bullshit. That is ONE SECOND OF YOUR LIFE. It's nothing. It's inconsequential. TAKE IT FROM ME THAT IF PEOPLE ARE JUDGING YOU ON THAT MOMENT THAN IT IS THEY WHO ARE FUCKED UP - NOT YOU"

anything else would just be ridiculous
Guess when I had my "AHA!" moment this month?

To be honest, I don't even need other people to label me because I'm front and centre with the label maker making sure I get my labels printed in big font and pasted all over the insides of my own mind, obscuring the view.

We are none of us perfect.

Not. A. One.

The things that become things do so because we frame them, label them if you will, in the context of our surroundings, our own sense of value, and the people around us.

And that would be that if we gave the good, the bad and the ugly exactly the same amount of space in our minds. But most of us don't. We internalise things, they shape our beliefs, our sense of worth, our interactions and ultimately, our choices.

As you know if you've been here a while, my psych and I have spent much time sorting through the chaos of my brain. She likes to while away the minutes dissecting my low self esteem, my fundamental lack of self worth, my talent for catastrophisation and my singularly spectacular talent for denying my own depressive tendencies; while I want to talk about, well, fun stuff.

In the midst of one gruelling session, she said to me (seemingly out of the blue) - describe yourself.

I did. Without hesitation.

Let me tell you my friends - if we were dating, I'd have dumped me. What an arsehole!

She then asked me to share some of the things my friends have said about me over the years. And bar the inevitable disagreements and bust ups that happen in all human relationships along the way (every single one of which I mentioned in excruciating detail first), the vast majority of my friends are very, very lovely about me. Even the ones who have known me a long time.

But yet, for every 15 minutes of imperfect behaviour, I have dedicated many, many, many thousands more believing that those moments of imperfection, are what define me. Those moments of imperfection, those things which make me feel ill or that spend weeks heavily pressing into the extra set of ribs in my chest cavity, are what other people see in me. Whereas, most probably, they're not thinking about me. They're focussed on their own 15 minutes of good, bad or ugly.

15 minutes or 900 seconds.

900 seconds in a day. 86,400 seconds in a day. 604,800 seconds in a week.

If you live to be 80 you will have participated in 2.52288e9 seconds. That's a lot.

Relatively what are 900 seconds in 2.52288e9 seconds? Nada.

And so I was absolutely correct as I bellowed emphatically stated my support of my friend. All of the things that I know about her are true.  Relatively, her moments of imperfection are irrelevant to me, and pretty much everyone else, because they are just parts of her totality - and none of us are perfect.

As her friend, we love her for who she is, and when we think of her, it is her overwhelming gorgeous totality that we think on. When we are asked to describe her, that is what we describe.

We want her to surround herself with people that know her and love her without judging her or emphasising her imperfections or chipping away at her self worth. Because she is bloody amazing.

We don't want her to her to flirt with kindness and love, but to behave thoroughly inappropriately with them both privately and publicly.

You may ask if this has been percolating away in my wee brain for all this time - what was my AHA! moment.

The answer?

I should totally listen to me. I'm fucking ace. I'd make me a great friend if I gave myself a chance.


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