Over the last three years I have been pre-occupied with trying to gain a better understanding of self.
I have been trying to reconcile aspects of myself, which were in a state of internal conflict and dilemma for many years.
I sometimes feel that this intense focus on reconciling the various aspects of my truth within me is an act of self(ish)ness.
I have had to respond to my inner critic by reminding it, that at the point I sought help to resolve my difficulties, my life had become untenable.
My marriage was at risk, my children were alienated from me and I from them.
I felt isolated within my family (parents/siblings) because they did not know the cause of my emotional pain.
This investment in self, has enabled me to focus my life in the present moment, so that I am not crushed by events in the past that I cannot change, nor am I continually anxious about events that are yet to happen – which may never happen – and are in respect of others outside my control.
By living in the present, with a focus on self, I have broadened my capacity to accept what I had previously felt were totally incompatible aspects of who I am – for example being gay and married, being Catholic and gay, living with an intense same sex attraction.
I have been able to find a way of being calm, being less reactive, being able to accept the choices that my adult children make and most dramatically, letting go of my need to control aspects of their lives.
I have been able to access love and support from my wife, children, parents and siblings which I had not previously felt worthy of in my state of anxiety and isolation and pain, and I had pushed them away.
I have come to understand that my inward focus on self, is reflected back as if through a mirror, to those who come into contact with me.
Being able to accept and love myself, and stop thinking of myself continually as a failure, has made me more accessible to them, and they to me.
My journey goes on at the pace of time, and there are times that I mess up and fall into old ways, or forget my methods of dealing with things which cause upset to me and those close to me.
I have to remind myself that I am flesh and blood, not a deity or a robot and I will never be perfect, nor do I aim to be.
Being self(ish) means I have to have compassion for myself and others and be prepared to move on from adversity, taking the learning, and reflecting for a few moments in each day, to acknowledge how far I have come.
My next blog will be: Cousin