On Emotional Breakdowns

The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow or love. Chained by his certitude, he is a slave; he has forfeited his freedom. Only the person who risks is truly free.
-Leo Buscaglia

All of my “suffering” is self-inflicted. I’m striving to be better, but when I’m unsatisfied with my progress, I get frustrated. My default is to compare myself to others, which does not serve me because I will always fall short.

I’m robbing myself by not loving my life. I’m robbing myself every moment I fret. If I’m upset, which will happen, I can’t stop it, I must make a point to write. Sometimes I don’t feel like moving. It’s the sensation that I don’t want to try anymore.

I had a revelation (enlightenment) during yoga on Monday that I care so much about what people think, and it’s crippling. Only recently have I been getting over it, but I take out my frustration with this on people I love. They become the target of my unhappiness with feeling constrained by what is expected by society, family, etc. The ridiculous thing is that none of those things actually restrain me. I’m a privileged upper-middle class woman who has everything I could ever need and much much more. I had a fantastic childhood, and I am, for all intensive purposes, in great health. I can dance, I can draw, I can write, I can express myself out loud. I take criticism well. What is holding me back? It’s like in yoga…I need to notice my limits and not freak out about them, but know where they are and explore EXPLORE why those limits are there.

Think—what are the times when I’ve been the happiest? When I was enjoying the present and spreading joy, not expecting anything based on the past and not projecting myself into the future at the expense of living in the moment.

I don’t need to live up to anyone’s expectations. I need to be enough for me.

What has stopped me in the past? Fear. I’m scared of being vulnerable and pathetic. But then I get upset when I feel that way. It’s okay to feel. In fact, it’s desirable. I just need to know that they are merely emotions, and emotions do not dictate my life.

P.S. I highly recommend reading the book Living, Loving, and Learning. It’s a collection of Dr. Leo Buscaglia’s fantastic lectures about the power of choosing our own lives and living life out of joy and love. This book, along with the Landmark Forum curriculum, has been significantly shaping the way I mindfully approach my life.