I’d like to invite you to take a break and sit back for a moment. And listen.
As I did a short while ago when I realized that, somehow, the things I once used to love had lost their appeal to me and that life, in general, had lost its spark. What was happening?
All I had done the weeks and months previously was work hard, invest all my energy in my job, driven by the constant urge to become better or, actually, perfect. Because nothing less than perfect felt like deserving to be there. Which, looking at it now, seems to be the perfect way of making myself feel like a complete failure. Like I can never be good enough. Like, I suck.
When hitting rock bottom like that, surprised by the intense emotions I was facing, it began dawning on me that this state wasn’t actually just tied to my current work situation or anything that had gone wrong there. Being completely honest to myself I kind of knew that these negative feelings had always been there, that I had been carrying them with me like a default backpack I had got so used to that, most of the time, I wasn’t aware of it anymore.
Take the time to peel a few layers*
But I still wake up shaken by dreams
And I hate to say it but the way it seems
Is that no one is fine
Take the time to peel a few layers
And you will find
And I don’t seem to be the only person experiencing this. I might be overgeneralizing here. Still, looking around me and talking to other people I got the impression that everybody seemed to be carrying a similar burden of guilt, self-doubt or remorse with them. What I found was that, in fact, “no one is fine”*. And almost everybody I talked to seemed to be hurting deep down inside.
I am a great fan of introspection. In fact, my best friend has told me several times that she thinks I’m overdoing it. Maybe she is right. And still, I believe in the healing power of listening to the voices inside ourselves and learning from them. It has benefitted me more than just once.
So this is what I did. I sat down and peeled a few layers. And there I found it: true sadness. Over the idea that I might not be enough. That I don’t deserve to be loved. That I will never make it. And like a forsaken child I sat there with these feelings just washing over me.
I don’t know if you believe in the idea of the inner child. To me, it makes perfect sense. And so I started to recognize these emotions as reminders from past times and situations I had long forgotten and which had left a mark that is still hurting. My inner child crying out. But why does it still have to hurt? And how are we to heal this pain?
I still don’t really know what to do with this sadness that likes to pop up time and again. All I know is that if we do not face or at least acknowledge what is going on inside of us we end up stuck at a certain point, sometimes without even knowing what stops us.
And couldn’t these very feelings, or the inner child crying out, be signposts pointing to parts of ourselves we have been neglecting or turned a blind eye to?
I for my part am glad that my sadness has revealed its true face to me. And who knows, maybe, together, we can end up finding true happiness one day…
*Quotes taken from the song "True sadness" by The Avett Brothers Image Unfair by Runar Pedersen Holkestad CC BY 2.0