For me, one of the benefits of psychotherapy has always been that it not only offers me new perspectives, but because of the way the therapeutic process works, it tends to unlock old memories we have "stored away," often unexamined.
This is a happy flower!
Over the course of my life (now 59 and counting) I have gone through a number of phases, in terms of how I viewed life — and my place in it.
In general, my views have been — you might say — less than optimistic.
In a conversation with my therapist, we talked about my "pessimism" and she suggested I might think of it more as being the approach of someone who truly sees life as it is... and I am merely more of a realist in a world that tends to medicate and therapeuterize anyone who is less than "happy."
Food for thought, to be sure...
Camellia in bloom
Closer to Home...
This morning, Mrs. Denmarkguy pointed out that in my subheading/tagline on Farcebook (which I have probably not changed since they were introduced circa 2009) I describe myself as "an HSP suffering with 'Too Many Interests Syndrome'."
It a term we both tend to use to describe out particular combination of multipotentiality and ADHD.
But that wasn't her point.
Her point was the word "suffering."
"Are you really SUFFERING?" she asked.
We talked a bit and concluded that I actually am pretty content with my strange existence, even if I find it increasingly challenging, as I age.
Macro shot of a calendula flower
Why Choose "Suffering?"
Later on, I sat with the word "suffering," for a while.
Actual suffering has really not been something that has been a major part of my life! So why choose to use such a term?
I cast my memory back to a spiritual self-development retreat I attended many years ago... maybe in the late 1990's. As was often the case of these events, it was heavily populated by (mostly) women 45 and older, generally affluent. As a late 30's male I was unusual, and the second youngest person of about 35 attendees.
The youngest was a superbly bright and wise-beyond-his-years young man of maybe 25.
Whereas he was extremely well-liked (adored, even) by the majority of the retreat attendees, he had trouble getting taken seriously. It was not because he was juvenile or unwise... it was because he hadn't SUFFERED enough, to earn people's respect.
Raindrops on flower petals
Gold Medal in Suffering?
At the time (and ever since) it made me think about how we strangely "treasure" suffering, like it is some strange type of admission ticket to our true humanity.
Of course, the dark side to such a thought is that suffering tends to "dismiss" joy and happiness if it simply comes naturally to a person. Suffering says that you must earn the right to be joyful, through navigating extensive suffering.
Strange, isn't it?
But to answer my own question... I have often been like our young man at the retreat. Actual suffering hasn't been that frequent a guest in my landscape; but I made some stupid choices... one of which led to Mrs. Denmarkguy's observation, this morning.
I adopted a sort of "faux suffering" as a tool to allow myself to connect more readily with a Human Species that suspiciously eyes anyone who's content with little, and unaided by drugs or delusions. If I ware also "suffering," I thought, it would be easier for me to keep the company of other Humans, because we'd have some common ground across which to connect.
Which sounds plain DUMB, right?
A happy baby bunny!
Agreed, it IS! But it's also alarmingly common how we choose to take upon ourselves traits and characteristics that are not truly OURS simply in service of trying to find meaning, connection, ways to reach people, healing, or whatever else.
So be mindful! Be mindful of how the things you say and "adopt" as "yours" send signals to the world about where you are in life, and in your head. It may not really be what you want the world to notice!
In my case, I have some to realize that part of the reason I so often find myself surrounded by people who seem to be suffering and in crisis is because I have chosen to telegraph to the world that "I am one of them." And that's the "Woo-woo" part: We tend to attract precisely what we ask for!
Thanks for reading!
(Another #creativecoin creative non-fiction post)
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Created at 20200206 14:23 PST