Sometimes I feel like such a baby. Someone says one thing to me and it hurts my feelings. When my feelings get hurt, they get hurt really bad. I have no doubt I am super sensitive and this is something I really need to work on. I feel like I have been trying to work on it for so long and I am proud to report that I do not burst into tears as easy as I use to, but I still do often find myself holding them back.
I have no doubt that I have a thin skin and I am offended when I feel like my intentions are not taken the way they are meant. Or when I feel like my hard work and kindness are not appreciated. It can be frustrating to feel like you put so much out there to only get hurt or stepped on along the way.
I also know that part of my problem is that I am fearful of conflict. I have been a doormat, forever, really. I would much rather feel like shit in side, if it meant everything around me was on even keel and there was good energy. I would much rather be suffering on the inside than have external conflict and tension. Over the years I have discovered that I am hyper sensitive to conflict and tension. I feel it as soon as I step into it. It can be super distracting and intimidating. It makes me uncomfortable and it brings about anxiety and panic instantly, even if no one has clued me into what is going on. This is all, of course, magnified by one million when any of this is directed towards me.
I have a huge fear of disappointing, a huge fear of causing people pain, hurt, anger, etc. I am getting a bit better having to manage people at work, but I would rather do pretty much anything else than manage relationships. Doesn't bode very well for a woman trying to climb the ladder in her career. Fearful of conflict. I have had some little victories and I have had to deal with some difficult situations, but I always prefer to fall on my own sword, offer up the apology and blame myself rather than deal with anything else that may be going on.
Where I really have difficulty with all of this is in my personal life. Managing relations with friends and family can be even more challenging because I love these people. I pretty much do all I can to not cause conflict and tension. It all makes me feel so uncomfortable and as I said above, brings on so much anxiety. I think this is part of the reason I am an introvert. Sure, I can cause myself stress, but most of my stress and energy is spent in dealing with others.
Gosh, this makes me sound like some crazy hermit. It isn't that way at all, I think if anything, I just love those I care about too much. I honestly care too much and my caring, again and again, sets me up for "great expectations" that are never met and I often become too sensitive and get hurt.
Knowing all of this, it really made me begin to question and think about unconditional love and what that must feel like. Now, do not get me wrong, I would say that there are those people that I would say I have unconditional love for, Greg, obviously, my family, etc. However, when I stop and think about it, I am not sure what the words even mean. Or, more specifically, what it feels like.
The only thing I can liken the phrase to is what I experienced on the train the other day. I was riding on a packed 6 train back up to my apartment. I ran into a mother and her daughter, probably 4 months old, or so. The mother was carrying her daughter in one of those baby carriers that you wear on the front (sorry not a parent, and uncertain of the lingo). Regardless, I just kept looking at the baby with her binky in tote and she just looked completely content. I remember thinking to myself, this baby totally has unconditional love for her mother and she has no idea what that even means. You could tell just by looking at the baby that she was warm, content and knew she was loved. She was dressed in nice and snugly clothes and in that moment, I wanted nothing more than to trade places with that baby. Am I crazy?
It is like I say to Greg all the time, "can you please just give me a hug." I swear there is so much in me that still needs to be comforted and there is nothing better than a hug. I have no doubt that not everyone out there is like this, but for me, I just love more than anything to be hugged and held. I feel like I am way too sensitive to pretty much everything and at the same time have the ability to over empathize with everyone and everything. Sometimes I think I am grateful for having empathy, but more often than not I wish I didn't.
Every person I see on the street, homeless--it hurts my heart. Every person I hear about that doesn't have a job and is trying to take care of their family--it hurts my heart. Every animal I read about, looking for nothing more than a loving home--it hurts my heart. I could go on and on. So much of this world just hurts my heart. I try and focus on my love for all things, but I must be much more intunned to the suffering of so many.
There are only two times in my lifetime that I feel like I have felt what I would equate to "unconditional love." It isn't probably even that, but I needed to try and put a phrase with it, and this is the phrase I can most closely describe it as.
One time was in 2004. We had just moved to the city and I was having a really difficult time. The Red Sox were down 3-0 to the Yankees and I was in an extremely emotional place, just moving here, no job, no friends, Grad School and the Red Sox were about to have a repeat of 2003. I remember crying that night and just being so angry and frustrated and stressed and overwhelmed. I remember sitting on the couch watching the t.v. and drifting to sleep. While I was sleeping, I just remember being hugged. I remember feeling the most warm, amazing, comforting hug EVER. I have so been longing to feel that again, but in my mind, that was the unconditional love, everything is ok, you will be ok feeling I was longing for. Ever since then, I have been searching for that feeling again. I like to think as I continue to discover myself I will have more opportunities to feel that safe, amazing, warm love that I felt this day.
I don't really tell this story to anyone because I am always fearful people will think I am crazy. Needless to say, the person who hugged me (guardian angel, spirit guide, ghost, my subconscious, or just someone in my dream) told me that everything was going to be ok. The Red Sox did win, which was pretty incredible, and while it did continue to be an extremely challenging next few months, I did survive. Things actually got more difficult after the World Series, but I somehow knew everything was going to be ok. I continue to go through many ups and downs and many challenging times (often being my own worst enemy), however, I keep trying to remind myself that everything will be ok. I have to operate with that belief. While there is no guarantee that everything will be ok and while I am certainly not owed anything, I try and stay positive and keep good energy around me, whenever possible.
The only other time I have felt what I can imagine as this "unconditional love" feeling that I dream about was again during a dream I had. I had a dream that I had a baby. I don't normally dream about having babies. I have dreamt a few times about being pregnant and often times, when I have this dream, someone I know is pregnant. Regardless, there was only one time I dreamt about actually giving birth. I gave birth to a baby girl. I just remember the doctors putting her on my chest while in the hospital and feeling that feeling again. That incredibly warm, loving, comfort, everything is going to be ok feeling. It isn't a feeling I can recreate and it isn't a feeling I can have on demand, it just a feeling that I apparently have gotten 2 times in my life, both times while I was asleep.
So, what does this all tell me. This all tells me how important love is. This also reminds me how important it is to strive towards the things in your life that bring you the most happiness. It is about finding those relationships that fill you up, not drain you. It is about acknowledging the person you are, and what you can and cannot change about yourself and then being ok with that. And perhaps, most importantly for me right now, it is about finding a career that I can be my best self in, every day. I feel like I have so much to give and I need to find a way to not drain myself before I am able to give.
It has been a very raw and emotional experience blogging these past 8 months, or so. I feel like there is so much about me, just right under the surface, waiting to change and morph. I feel like there is something just outside of my reach and I am just not sure what it is. I continue to write and blog hoping that I will find my way to it. I just hope I don't get my feelings hurt too many more times along the way. I try and be a good person every day and sometimes I just feel like I will never be good enough.....
Ah....being good enough!! My biggest insecurity that I have the hardest time shaking....Future blog I am sure....
Cheers to us all finding what will allow us to be our best and most genuine selves and holding our heads high.
And that's all she wrote...