Autumn

It’s the end of summer. I can feel the days getting shorter. The darkness at night at this latitude is both isolating and soothing. I think I’m becoming more okay with being myself. I feel less anxious walking down the street. I can look strangers in the eyes and smile at them. The gulf between my chin and my chest grows and feels more “normal” with each passing day.

I’m able to let things go in ways that I wasn’t able to before. A constant stream of questions keeps entering my thoughts when I get stressed out: “Will this matter in an hour? What about a day? A week? A month?” When the answers present themselves, I’m not just looking outward at the frustration. I turn inward. Reflective. Why was I frustrated to begin with? Was it because I was projecting my expectations on someone? Most of the time, it’s my expectations getting in the way of just letting the person be who they are. An overriding need to “fix” people or situations would wind-up blowing-up in my face. I’m finding it easier to offer moral support and ask for permission to give advice than to be prescriptive.

I’m figuring out ways to let people be themselves—and that includes me. Rather than being so focused on other people’s perceptions, I’m re-learning how to be me. I’m busy again with the work of loving who I am as opposed to trying to appeal to others. Either people will like me or they won’t. To quote one of my favorite books, “The Rock Warrior’s Way”:

“A warrior is a realist. He realizes that, in an absolute and external sense, he is no more or less valuable than any other human being. Outside factors, such as other people’s opinions, change capriciously in response to complex agendas. They are not reliable sources of self-worth because they are here one day and gone the next. A warrior knows that the functional, day-to-day value of life and of acts must be decided personally, internally.”

I am having to learn and re-learn that the ultimate measure of my life isn’t the length or depth, but the width of it. If I am living from a place of joy, of contentment, and I am able to be myself without compromise or negativity of belief, then I am living as fully as I am able to. So much time spent on trying to feel as though I am complete, never quite “making it”. Because I never felt as though I was enough. That I would never be “enough”. That there wasn’t anything I could do to be enough. Figuring that out has been problematic and painful, but day-by-day it’s becoming easier.

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