Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Work in Progress

The last week or so has seen me in a mild depression. In professional terms, it would be called situational rather than clinical, I imagine. Its nature doesn't come close to the snarling Black Dog that took up sleeping at the foot of my bed for a time many years ago. Still, this is an unpleasant feeling, and it's presence tells me that perhaps I'm not as evolved as I'd like to be.

This bad mood has come to me in response to certain personal difficulties, and thus I am reminded that my happiness, even now, hinges on my attachment to things being a certain way. When my wishes are violated, happiness tries to run and hide. The stronger the wish, the harder it is to reclaim peace of mind when it goes into its cave to fume.

The particulars here aren't important, but the essence of the situation is this: I've learned that some people I trusted and believed respected me, in fact do not. And after a time trying to see myself as blameless, I've had to acknowledge that I've acted in ways to deserve their reaction. It's not that I've done anything particularly heinous; but I've also not been as fine a human being as I'd like to be.

So my image of self has been jarred badly over the last couple of weeks, and it's this discrepancy between what is and what I want that is causing my discouragement. The flavor of my personal neurosis involves deeply wanting to be liked by others, and I've been forced to face the fact that not everybody likes me, and that they have their understandable reasons.

There is some value in the experience. I have learned that my self image is just that--an image--and that it's subject to change. Not a bad lesson. And I've been reminded that my foundations for happiness aren't quite as foolproof as I thought. When relatively routine events can snatch away our peace of mind so readily, we perhaps must acknowledge that the foundations are in need of some renovation.

So I am a work in progress, and by no means the enlightened fellow I'd like to be. Apologies if I've disappointed any of you.


grumpylion said...

Trust no one.

Take xanax.

And wine. Wine is good.

sacred slut said...

The fact that you are depressed because you didn't live up to your expectations shows just how nice a person you are.

(((hugs))) hope you feel better soon.

August said...

Mercurious, as evolved as you are, if you didn't have any faults I'd be highly suspicious.

You are indeed enlightened but it doesn't mean you've stopped being a work in progress. You know?

People disappoint only when they are dishonest about who they are, or when they pretend human troubles are beneath them. None of which is you.

Feel better soon.


excavator said...

Mercurious, I can't help but see this post in terms of the Human Wound post you've written below.

I suppose our 'self image' is a bandaid over that wound--to have it ripped off leaves us exposed and raw, and very vulnerable.

I don't know if your situation rises to the level of 'betrayal', but I read the most fascinating essay about it by James Hillman:

I don't know if this is going to allow a link-back or not.

I'm still trying to digest the essence of this, and perhaps what reminds me of it in your case is the idea that we can also be betrayed by ourselves, or elements within us. Our beliefs about ourselves, our self-image.

It is when we're humbled where we are in the best position to receive kindness.

It takes courage to face your Wound honestly and not try to camouflauge.

Jerri said...

A friend tells me that what other people think of us is none of our business.

That may be true (or not), but what we think of ourselves is our business. You, my friend, can be harsh with yourself. Whatever work you believe you need to do, go forth with the same kindness you'd urge for those you love.

About being a work in progress: that's good. We're only done when we're done.