“There are no mistakes, only lessons.”
Yes, I agree with that but I am starting to feel that there are times when it is necessary to admit that you made a mistake, and that you would have like to have behaved differently. To stand up to your own behaviour and look at it right in the eyes in all it’s ugliness. To say, “I did that”.
“But you did what you knew how to do at the time.”
Yes, that’s true. And I am learning from it, but I can honestly say that I did that and I wish I been able to do it differently.
“So, if you had to do it again would you do it differently?”
Yes. But I want to understand why I chose to do it in that way in the first place and the only way to do that is to look at it. To sit with “what is”.
“What are you afraid of?”
Not being the person I think I am.
Great, perfect, nice, lovable, sweet, honest, courageous, daring, strong.
“Are you these things?”
Yes. Sometimes. Not perfect actually, no. I try. I make mistakes.
“So what if you are not these things?”
Then I am a fraud. A shyster. An imposter. Fake.
“Aren’t we all those things at some point? Don’t we all project an image of ourselves based on what we want to be?”
I guess so.
“So why do you not allow yourself any imperfections?”
I don’t know exactly. I think I just want people to like me all of the time. I think I don’t like to see those imperfections in myself.
“But isn’t that what it means to be human? To have imperfections? Doesn’t everyone have them?”
Yes. Well, except for the Buddha, the Dali Lama, Mother Teresa, Jesus, Martin Luther King, Thich Nhat Hahn, Pierre Tredeau, Christoper Reeve, and my mother.
“You don’t believe that do you?”
No. I was just trying to add some lightness to the conversation.
“So why is it important that people like you all of the time?”
So they will think I’m great and tell me so, and hire me, and buy my books, and I will be able to pay my bills, and have lot’s of friends and be happy and never have to worry about anything ever again.
“Is that really what you want?”
Not really. I’ve had that, it didn’t make me feel any better about myself.
“What do you want?”
I want to be able to be myself, whatever that is, and love that person with all of those flaws and imperfections. I want to not need things to come from external sources. I want to feel safe again.
“You used the word ‘again’, when did you last feel safe?”
When I was really little, when I didn’t have to try so hard, before I needed to do things to make other people happy.
“What if you decided to do things based on what makes YOU happy?”
Then I would be selfish, not caring enough for others. People would be angry with me. Disappointed.
“What if I told you that their disappointment was based on their own expectations of themselves, on their own fears?
Wow, that’s a big one. I want to believe you, but it might take a while to sink in.
“You have time.”