Emotional Battles

There are a lot of battles going on in the world today.  Religious battles, political battles, legal battles.  Battles that involve nasty words and media campaigns.  Battles that involve border disputes.  Battles that are violent and bloody with innocent lives lost.  Battles stuck in the court system with no reasonable outcome in site.  But today, I want to talk about emotional battles.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about Patterns of Behavior.  I talked about some of my struggles, and how I go about getting to the bottom of what is really bothering me.  Last week, I talked about buzz words and how they can spark strong emotions, and strong desires to Pay It Forward and make a difference. In case you can’t really see the obvious here, I’ll just say it simply – I’ve been fighting some emotional battles lately, and trying to figure out just where these feelings are really coming from.  While I didn’t sit down and actually journal it all out, I did spend some time in focused thinking about what exactly was going on.  Pondering, searching for the answer – or at least the identity of what I was feeling.  Usually, once I figure it out, I can find a way to work through it all.  Yesterday it finally became clear….like an obnoxious flashing neon sign… and me saying “why didn’t I see this before?!?!?!”

Guilt.

Ugh…face palm moment – truly.  When I finally figured it out, I texted Chel as I often do…and when she asked “Guilt???” I emailed her a list:

I feel guilty about spending money on a new tattoo
I feel guilty about not spending the money on bills
I feel guilty about not taking any time for ME.
I feel guilty about taking time for me.
I feel guilty about not cleaning the house, doing the laundry.
I feel guilty about not spending time at the winery
I feel guilty about spending too much time at the winery.
I feel guilty about not eating right.
I feel guilty about wasting food when I do rotations and leftovers don’t get eaten
I feel guilty for doing things that make me happy.
I feel guilty about not doing “enough”
I feel guilty for stuffing my face with comfort food.
I feel guilty for being a bad daughter.
Her response…”OMG Its almost like I wrote it….ugh…the question is how to let go of the guilt, especially the contradictory ones?”  And that’s why I love Chel…we totally get each other! So back to the focused thinking I went.  Dissecting why I was feeling guilty, and what I might be able to do about it.  I had a conversation with Google about it too…and learned that often guilt is grounded in feelings of inadequacy and shame.  Yup, yup, and yup.  Long standing issues with me, and ones I have to tackle from time to time.  Also pair it up with acts of selfishness for good measure.  Sheesh…I’m a mess!
Ok…so picking apart my list…the main themes are money, time, and taking care of myself.
Money:  there is never quite enough, but gentle reminders to myself to live within my means, stick to reasonable budgets, and make do with what you have.  Take care of mandatory bills, keep food on the table, and if you want something not normally in the budget – save for it.
Time:  that one is harder, as you can’t make more time exist.  But make lists, prioritize what needs to be done, and sometimes it’s ok to say NO.
Taking care of myself:  the hardest battle of all…but can be manageable if I prioritize and say NO sometimes.    The trick here is to find the balance, and not induce more guilt, inadequacy, or shame.
Apparently, I need to be more assertive.  Make my own needs known if they are valid.  I have to take care of my own well being.
I need to not measure myself against others, and especially I need to not chastise myself for accomplishing less than – or more than whomever it is I’m comparing myself to.
And I need to just let stuff go.  I’m one woman, capable of doing the work of one woman.  I can’t MAKE time, but I can manage and prioritize my time.  I need to not feel guilty when I make a choice to take care of myself.  I need to ensure that I am well and whole and at my best in order to be of service to others.
As I’ve mentioned before, in the past few months I’ve walked a path to more thoroughly explore and engage my faith.  I’ve made a commitment to go back to church and have some wonderful women (and men) in my life and in the congregation that have embraced me with loving open arms.  In this journey I’ve spent quite a bit of time with my nose in my Bible searching for inspiration and contemplating what I find.  I’ve also returned to an active practice of prayer.  Not just asking for guidance in my times of greatest need, but in counting my blessings and praising what is good and right in my world.  God doesn’t just want to hear what I need help with, he wants to celebrate my joys too.  Through this process I am learning that through open dialogue I can embrace a more peace filled life.  While I used to only talk to myself, and ask myself for answers to my questions – now I ask and listen to what God might have to say about things.  Knowing I don’t have to fight this battle alone…well, that leads to a sense of comfort and protection I haven’t felt in a long time.
So, on Friday I’ll be spending some time with one of my dearest friends and doing what at first felt like a very selfish thing and induced some guilt.  I am scheduled to get my next tattoo.  This tattoo will symbolize my MRKH journey and how it’s wrapped itself around my life as a whole – and it will also serve as a reminder of all that I’ve been through and the Courage, Strength, and Faith that I’ve found.  Stay tuned for pictures of course – and probably some whining about pain and itching and lack of quality sleep.  😉

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