Lately I have been taking grim trips down memory lane. You know the kind, the ones where you revisit old events with chagrin and, dare I say it, embarrassment. I’m not really prone to embarrassment, but lately I seem to be entertaining it in relation to certain occasions. In reality, if I step away from whatever “stuff” seems to be sucking at me, I see most of it isn’t really that bad, yet still I’m vexed about it. And so it goes when you wear “less-than” tinted glasses.
Sometimes I wonder if these questionable choices are due to an inability to control an outcome I would have preferred. It’s not such a strange concept, we do it all the time. Ruin that diet with ice cream? Then might as well have two bowls, heck, the whole carton! Slip up on your effort to curb (fill in the blank – alcohol, cigarettes, meat, dairy, sex … ), then you might as well let today be your last hurrah (again) and enjoy the heck out of it before tomorrow comes and you lay a blanket of misery and self-loathing over yourself for comfort. Looking back, and around me, I see these reactions as an effort to create control where control has failed. If I can’t control the outcome I want, then why not embrace the outcome I have been given? Why not just be.
Maybe that’s the core issue, the feeling that we cannot just be ourselves. There always seems to be some part of ourselves we need to change to attain perfection, reach Nirvana, to be lovable and be loved, when in reality, all that feeling less-than is the only thing we need to change.
Even as I type this, I can feel it looking over my shoulder, breathing it’s gnarly breath on my neck, a snicker on its thin lips. Less-than never feels threatened, it only becomes mildly amused. It is unstoppable. It is a part of me (you, all of us!) as much as my confident side, sad side, happy side, passionate side, angry side and gentle side, which means it is really up to me to develop a better relationship with less-than, just as I have one with my other emotions.
Here is the thing, though. Less-than has really lousy interpersonal skills. It is supposed to be a motivator, yet somewhere along the line the blueprints for that neuro-pathway went awry and instead of a nice bridge, like the kind you find on a country lane, it is more like a rickety Burma Bridge. Integrated correctly, less-than should be the one that motivates me when the encouragement of a reward fails, urging the other parts of me to want to explore the world when I’d rather stay snuggled under the covers, or to write about it instead of pretending it doesn’t exist.
Less-than is a member of the family of emotions and skills I have accumulated over the years, and as such it is present in every choice I make and everything I do. What is up to me is how I treat this esteemed member of my family, with shame and disdain, or like a quirky aunt. Personally, I like quirky aunts, and so I have high hopes for my new venture into friendship with the less-than voice of my psyche.
In reality, no one can make me feel less-than, only me. The feelings that well up to encourage me to be more, do more, I am free to process any way I want and it is I that have chosen to turn myself into a knot over a simple suggestion of change, new activity or differing physical attribute. I spent a good deal of my life trying to be perfect, yet here I am, no breasts, five pounds heavier and happier and more well balanced than I have ever been. In reality, the only unhealthy thing about me was obsessing so much about meaningless things.
Today, I don’t worry about myself physically except to be healthy and happy and I certainly don’t worry about what size bra I need. The universe has a sense of humor and I have embraced the joke. This one time, less-than gave a hint and I realized it wasn’t to chase rabbits down stale rabbit holes, it was to possibly learn the only lesson that ever mattered. I am me and always will be. The rest is just a suggestion.
It seems, less-than has a sense of humor too.