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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Patience, Forgiveness & Acceptance

The times they are a changing. The tiny mantras I formulated a few years back to guide me towards the person I wanted to be haven't been perfected, but they have been internalized. I can recall them quickly, and apply them quickly.
Still good advice. Still worth working on. Yet, they are no longer revolutionary. They no longer inspire motivation in me, the drive to grow and become a better person. I’m yearning to feel progress, satisfaction, and illumination. For the first time in a long time, I am lonely. Something is changing deep inside me, probably instigated by graduate school. Somewhat unsurprisingly, grad school is hard. Its challenging my soul, and forcing me to do a whole heap load of growing up in a short time. It is time to forge new tiny mantras.

I do not like working in groups. I like working by myself under an adviser I respect with ample guidance, but minimal interference. When forced to work in a group, I only volunteer to lead the group, if I believe my involvement is essential for preventing cataclysmic disaster. Otherwise, I prefer to sit back and do my part with minimal socializing. However, in grad school I keep finding myself working in groups, and pushed towards a leadership position. Perhaps this is because I have high standards and almost always express my opinion. However, I rarely believe that my opinion is the truth, and I certainly do not covet the responsibility of leadership. Since I've never had a desire to be a leader, I've never bothered to develop good leadership skills. Consequently, I felt rather affronted to be pushed into leadership positions, and then criticized for my lack of leadership skills.

I took the criticism dearly to heart. If I was going to keep ending up the leader, then I needed to learn to be a good leader. People I respected believed in me, and I would work to live up to their expectations. I turned to advisers for support and guidance. Realizing how much I needed to learn caused me first to be offended, then demoralized, and perhaps finally a little determined. I felt so ignorant, and I had lost so much confidence and self-esteem. I was broken down and struggling to rise up as a better listener, more humble communicator, and a little wiser human.

I now find myself in danger of losing a close friend. For the sake of anonymity, I won't go into details. Sufficed to say that this person decided to end things suddenly and painfully. I was surprised, hurt, and mad. But, as I searched for meaning in the situation, and tried to figure out what to do, I realized some very important things. I needed to behave in a manner that I would be proud of many years from now. My hurt was my own, meaning that one has control over the way one reacts to anything. I felt hurt, because I felt betrayed, because I have trust issues. Although, it would be nice if all my friends were always respectful of my issues, my issues are ultimately mine alone. This person could quite possibly be dealing with big things unrelated to me. If I wanted to be the kind of person I hope to become, and if I wanted them to be a better friend, I could only respond by being a true and loyal friend. That would mean getting over my hurt, and waiting, ready to be there when they needed me.

While struggling to figure out how to go about these monumental tasks, three skills came to mind. I swallowed my heart in my throat. These were skills I had never properly valued before, and now I realized that it was because I have never been brave enough to tackle them. Most importantly, I realized these three same skills were truly what I was trying to learn in my new efforts to be a better leader, listener, and communicator. Where do I need to grow to be a little closer to the person I want to be?
I've ruminated on these values, goals for a week now, and it does appear that they are my new tiny mantras. However, whereas the first set filled me with vigor, this set quite frankly scares me shitless. I'm struggling to find the courage within myself to learn these lessons. I'm struggling to accept support from friends with an open and humble heart. I'm going to need all the bravery and love I can muster to learn patience, forgiveness, and acceptance. I must remember that all things take time, from a millisecond to a millennium. Time is not linear. It's relative, and perhaps even merely a construct of humanity's perception of reality. I cannot judge. While I've made some headway on forgiving others, maybe more importantly I need to learn to forgive myself. Finally, acceptance. I do not turn the wheel of fate, and situations may play out in ways I will never understand or impact.

I am so tired, but I will keep on trying. I am so scared, but I am mustering courage. I am under so much stress, as a friend put it, I'm in a pressure cooker. Still, I will emerge transformed, in all likelihood for the better. This is my crucible year. Let the new era begin. Cue soundtrack.

1 comment:

  1. Please know that you are an exceptionally beautiful human. I commend your self-awareness, insight and courage.