"Nature didn't need an operation to be beautiful. It just was."
We all sometimes feel different than those around us. That feeling is a real feeling, and yet it also separates us from others and also from ourselves. When we actively feel different from those around us we isolate us and we look for differences. What happens then is that we may look to blame others or we reject others or we notice the things we don't like about them, and it becomes about them and not about us. Another way of saying this is that when we feel different we are feeling bad about ourselves and so look to put the blame on the other. We become a victim in those moments. We look to separate us rather than to possibly see what we don't like in the other person is actually what don't like in ourselves. Have you ever found yourself doing something like that?
I think we all have at some time or other blamed others rather than look at us, and some of us more than others. I had an experience recently which now when I look back at it, is kind of funny. I do a weekly workout with a group called Gyrotonics. It is like a three-dimensional pilates that has machines with pulleys and weights and has a bench and a type of equipment with a handle bar type thing which we use to move our bodies through many dimensions of twisting, extension, flexion, rotating and bending. In my experience with machines and equipment, my body doesn’t seem to fit the normal mode of operating. I had struggled to try to find the right settings on these machines for quite awhile, sometimes finding a setting that works for awhile, and then doesn't, until I got to the point where nothing seemed to be working and I got frustrated.
When I became frustrated I began to look at my body with frustration. I saw my arms as too short, my legs as too short, my body as too muscular, and I began a little spiral in a direction I wasn’t happy with. My instructor saw my frustration and realized that something was not working for me. She found some extra time for us to just explore settings and ways in which we could work and I could work where Gyrotonics was a good experience for me again. We eventually found a way of working which was not of the norm in terms of how most people could us the equipment, but worked for me very well. I began to feel good again in this workout.
What was interesting for me was how one of my central early wounds contributed to my frustration in this experience. In my early life, I often felt different and felt excluded by those I loved and those I wanted to love me. I hadn't fully realized the impact of feeling excluded by a sister and brother in my early life. What contributed to this was our mother's self-preoccupation through her depression and my father's blindness as to what was going on. My go to, poor me, mode is to feel different than others and so sometimes excluded. I began to go into that mode unconsciously as I was using the Gyrotonics machines and my body didn't fit the normal mode. I began to reject myself and feel bad about my differences. In those moments things were only about me in a negative way and I had trouble pulling out of that way of feeling and being into seeing myself as different in a good way; my way. It is a good way because it is appreciating me and my differences instead of feeling bad about them. In my old brain and mind, being different was a bad thing because then I was excluded and I was and felt alone and left out. Putting these things together helped my to further my love and understanding of myself and to see the cool things about me being different. My muscularity makes me strong and able to do my work. The length of my arms and legs are proportional to my body. I am just small. I then remembered an old nickname someone coined for me. It is the mighty mouse. Being different can make all of us mighty each in our own ways.
Shift Your Story/Shift Your Life
I love using writing as a tool for self-discovery. You can do this exercise through meditation, and visualization, or through writing…whichever works best for you. Either close your eyes and begin to focus on your breath, or take out your tablet and pen or paper and pen and begin to write. The focus is on how you feel different from others. Take a moment and see or write about what and when you have felt different and removed from others in some way. What was going on in your life, what was said to you or you felt implied or you just felt? See yourself in that time and place and feel what that was like for you. Now, take a step back and see yourself as a hawk looking down at the same scenario and with a deeper and fuller perspective, taking in those around you instead of just you, being open to a view which includes others, and sees what you see and feel and notice. Write it down or just visualize. Is there something else going on, or not. What, if anything, do you begin to see and understand? Take a moment with this.
Next, take a moment and imagine and see what is there for you to learn about yourself and possibly about others. What do you see about you? Do you tend to revel in the poor me feeling, do you resent others and yourself, do you give up a part of you to try to please others not liking how you feel different, and in this vein, what do you see for yourself? After you are with this for a bit, take yourself into the present and when you begin to feel different, what if anything, could you do differently…could you talk with yourself differently, could you see what was going on with others that contributed to your feeling, is this a pattern you see that repeats in your life, is there a new way you can relate to yourself? See this, and/or write down what comes to you. Be with it for a couple of minutes and then slowly open your eyes or slowly finish what you are writing. The last step is to take about 5 minutes to go over in your mind's eye what you experienced, or to read over what you have written.