For the first part of my Mindful Journey, I focused a lot on how my body was constantly telling me that it was sick, that something was seriously wrong, even if I didn’t know what or why (or any understanding of how serious it could be).
But what about people who aren’t sick?
Well, I want to fast forward a few months.
I don’t want to talk about returning to teaching, and the obvious changes in K’s behaviour. I’ve mentioned it before here, in pretty extensive detail, to highlight just how painful friendship breakups can be, and I’ve deliberately made sure there’s been plenty of references in my other posts, because I don’t want to focus on what happened then. I want to start focusing on more of the mindfulness stuff, and how it can be helpful
Instead, I’m going to include a message I sent to my bridesmaid, and explain that further, and how you can listen to what you’re feeling, because sometimes we already have the answers to our questions, we just aren’t ready yet to accept the answers:
Read the message I sent to my bridesmaid.
You can see the desperation, the confusion, the fear.
It’s written all over, drenching every word. You can see the pain I was clearly feeling.
By the time I sent that message to my bridesmaid, I knew that something wasn’t right. You can see that’s exactly what I was thinking: That this wasn’t a coincidence, just an unlucky situation, that it was something bigger, something more.
Like I said, sometimes we have the answers to questions we aren’t ready yet to accept.
Unfortunately, my bridesmaid convinced me there was nothing wrong, and that it was all in my head and maybe I was just being a bit sensitive, but this is kind of important:
I knew she wasn’t telling me the truth.
I remember once realising that, because of Ben, I flip out when someone’s trying to manipulate me – even if I don’t know that’s what they’re doing.
My subconscious, for some reason, knows when someone’s trying to manipulate me, and I lash out – even if my conscious mind hasn’t caught up with it.
What I didn’t realise until actually very recently is that I seem to have developed the same thing when someone’s lying to me.
I realised that I’m like a dog with a bone – when I know something isn’t the truth, though I don’t know what or why, and like a dog with a bone, I don’t want to give the bone up, I’ll growl if you try and take the bone, I’ll bury the bone, I’ll dig the bone back up, I’ll chew on it some more, and eventually, with enough time and erosion, there’s no bone left.
Either I work out the lie, or I destroy everything around me trying to work out what the lie is. (It’s something I’m aware of now, and something I’m trying to work on – which is my point. Trust your instincts. Listen to your body.)
Let me be clear: I don’t know what my bridesmaid was lying about. She called me after I sent her that message, and we talked, and I like to believe that, in that moment, any lies she told me were meant to help me. I don’t think she meant any cruelty, and I wish I’d been more self-aware in regards to being able to pick up on things like this earlier, because I definitely think my behaviour helped contribute to a lot of things that went wrong with my friendship with her.
Don’t get me wrong – I truly believe that she had to make a choice. Once learning exactly what the rumours were, and that it wasn’t just someone deciding to not be my friend, she had to make a choice. She had to pick – and if you’re in a similar situation, you’re going to have to do the same.
It’s not possible, not in situations like this.
But I don’t think I helped anything, whether or not she was aware of the Munchhausen’s rumours and was involved at that time (she would be, about two months after our conversation, so I don’t think she was lying entirely for my benefit, either).
It’s important that you understand that I’m not shifting responsibility for things I’ve done wrong. I don’t care if there’s any justification behind it, because if I justify why I did things, then I’m not improving, I’m not becoming more aware of my shortcomings, and I’m destined to repeat the same mistakes. Accepting accountability for what mistakes I’ve made is the only way I can ensure I don’t repeat them – and justifying why I did or didn’t do something doesn’t fix anything.
It doesn’t matter if my bridesmaid was lying, or how much she was lying about, or when. It’s irrelevant.
What matters is what can change, and what power you have.
So I want you to think about you right now.
What is happening in your life that you’re struggling with?
Are you feeling unwell?
Are you single, and wondering why you’re not with someone?
Are you with someone, wishing you were single?
Are there people you don’t want in your life?
What do you need?
Think about a situation that’s causing you grief. It can be anything.
And then ask yourself these questions:
- How does it affect me?
- Can I fix it? And if so, how?
- Will worrying about it solve anything?
- Will it affect me tomorrow? Or the week after? Or even ten minutes from now?
- Is my behaviour or mental attitude adding to the problem?
- Is there someone with me that is contributing to the problem?
- If it is a problem with another person, is there some way I could compromise to solve the problem?
- Is the problem my fault? If it isn’t, whose fault is it? And does it matter? Does it change anything?
I’ve said it before: I needed to be clearer with my bridesmaid. I needed to express myself better.
And if I had, maybe things would be different, and maybe they wouldn’t be.
The past can’t be changed – and I’m okay with that.
I used to be so angry, but I’m not anymore. I haven’t been for a long time.
I like focusing on the things I can change, and trying not to let the things I can’t change get the best of me. (It’s easier said than done, but with therapy and with practicing mindfulness every day, it’s getting easier.)
So, today, try and sit or lie down, listening to music, again. Put a timer on your phone if you’re busy or just don’t have the time to get engrossed in the music, and think about your situation.
Let it roll over in your head.
Is there anything you can do, realistically, to change whatever is happening in your life?
If so, what?
If there isn’t, ask yourself the questions anyway, answer them in your mind, let the music take you over, and see if it makes a difference.
For me, even if nothing can be changed, I usually feel calmer.
It won’t happen overnight, so don’t get too annoyed if you fall asleep listening to the music (I have done so more times than I can count – especially in the beginning).
It’s just about building the habit, and listening to what your body needs.