Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Conscious Endurance

Yesterday I gave a new training event in EI. Objectively it went very well. But not perfectly. As I collected my materials, I felt a great sense of relief but, if I was honest, I also felt deeply ashamed. I know I’m too hard on myself. I tried to distract myself from these feelings but my conversations with colleagues were filled with self-blame, excuses, and explanations. When I finally went for a walk, my rational mind offered another perspective and proclaimed me “innocent.” My mood improved but I still couldn’t shake a slight feeling of shame, crouched in the back of my mind. Now, the following morning, I try arguing with this old feeling, but it hunkers down. Is there anything more I can do, but endure this strange internal curse? Change takes time. Jung said that we aren’t cured of what ails us; we simply and eventually outgrow our neuroses.

Today I sit with this internal tormentor. I know she’s wrong about me. I can’t be perfect. But I still have to feel her quiet condemnations. I say “feel” because this programming is so deep within me that I only have a very vague sense of shame. Emotional literacy helps me here. If I didn’t recognize the source of this very indistinct mood, it would color all my behaviors and perceptions and I wouldn’t know what was happening. Now I understand: this is an irrational emotion that I must endure.

I am getting healthier—incrementally. I now question these feelings instead of simply living in them. But change takes time. How do you explain the “why” of suffering (“paying karmic debts,” “offering your suffering to Christ,” “building a strong character” etc.)? Whatever the reason for our seemingly intractable inner woes, conscious endurance seems to be a key for healing. I remind myself today that our culture’s promises of quick fixes aren’t true. Change takes time. Endure your inner world and the changes will come. © Lewis-Barr 2008
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