I have been working for quite a few years on learning to be enough for me. Because I grew up with a parent who had Narcissistic Personality Disorder, my compass for my own behavior and decisions is not always very accurate. My friends and family, not to mention my therapist, have been very helpful in helping me find me, find my path, and let me know when I've gone off it like a wild horse.
Learning to hike by myself, ski by myself, be by myself, ski by myself, meditate by myself, has been very beneficial to this journey. The goal is to get to a place where I don't need validation, because I trust myself enough that I can tell when I'm on the right path.
I'm sure that to some extent, my blog functions as that "other" person, it does a few things, it challenges me to be as honest as I can (while protecting people in my life who did not sign up to live their lives publicly), and it allows me to share things I'm doing, but because I just mentally vomit onto the page and then post it into the ether without expecting response or reply, its a nice, cathartic transition.
This week, I'm struggling with some deep, dark stuff from the past. Its been coming on since the end of ski season, and I'm glad its happening, but its tough. I am lucky to be having a lot of epiphanies, about why my body hurts, about why its hurt in the past, about holding on to emotional memory in my body, about who I am and what I want, and about how to get there. I would love to post about many of these things, but I have to think through them a bit more before I share them. Some of them are relevant to moving forward in this journey (well, they all are for me, but some of them might be relevant to other people as well), and some are just me processing my stuff.
Today, while I was hiking up the M, I had a good one, one that's scary to tell out loud, because it feels like exposing a fault in my person, and for that reason, I'm going to share it.
I've been thinking a lot about where I need to go next as a person in order to be a better person. A better mom, a better coach, skier, teacher, employee, friend. I know that I need to make sure that I am listening as much as talking, giving as much as taking, I want to be able to be on my path, committed to my goal, but to be able to listen, to learn from whatever source is there, to be a good team player, not to dominate, or make it about me.
I struggle with this, because I think that things can come across to others about being self-centric. So how do I learn to honor myself, to take care of myself and love myself, but at the same time make sure that I am humble, grateful, present, willing, committed, and listening?
I'm working on it. Its quite the balancing act. I heard cues about it from several people, I had a friend tell me to be careful that I'm not being selfish with my training goals, I believe he meant that looking for a home in skiing shouldn't just be about what the school has to offer me. I struggled with this for a while, and I think he is absolutely right. What do I give the school? What do I have to learn from the school, not just for my own improvement as a skier and a teacher, but within its history? This was hard because I have always felt that its important to honor the whole community, to look for lessons everywhere. But because this friend told me this, I feel that it is a challenge, and opportunity, and a question that asks me to try harder, to be better in this department.
I had a friend tell me that she was happy that I was more open to personal connection. That before it had been hard for her to give back to me. I was surprised to hear this, I pride myself on open communication, so I was a bit shocked. And then I thought and thought about it, and its true, I do often try to keep up appearances so I don't dissapoint. Thats another thing I love about this blog, it challenges me to say it like it is, warts and all. But saying it in my blog was one step. Living it to my friends, being brave to let down walls and recieve, to listen with more depth, to hear my own shortcomings, again, it challenges me to take something that is important to me and do it one (or maybe two or three) better.
I had a friend tell me that my greatest challenge is going to be integrating into my new ski school. Finding opportunities to learn, to listen, to honor those who have been there for years. Again, this was a hard one to hear. Because I feel deeply that its important to look for lessons everywhere, to honor history, to say thank you to your teachers, especially the unlikely ones. Its important to tell the people in your life when you are thinking about them, that you care for them, that you are grateful to them. (As opposed to telling someone else; "Hey, that Cindy Lou, she's awesome!" Why not just tell it to Cindy? Hey, CINDY, I think you're awesome!")
I wrestled around with this one a bit, I know I can be large, loud, overwhelming and bulldozerish. I like to be unashamed, open, excited and challenged. But I also want to be a person who honors what is there, what has been. So I thought and thought about this.
And I thought, sure, I can do that. But am I just doing lip service, or am I really really living it?
I was stuck in limbo for a while about this. And today, on my hike, I was blissing out on the rhythm of my footsteps and watching my mind wander from this thought to that, when one of those thoughts came in loud and clear. "...so I should just be where I am in my journey and let that be enough."
It almost stopped me in my tracks. Because I've had this thought before, that I'm okay being a beginner, that I don't have anything to prove, that I like to learn and that's why I get so excited and want to keep going and learn all I can all at once.
But suddenly, I realized, yes, those things are true. But there is a part of me that also wants to check and make sure that I'm doing it right, that I'm still on the right path, that I'm not crazy, that I have what it takes, that its possible, that I can do it, that this is the path that will get me where I want to go.
In other words, while I suspect this may be true, I don't trust myself enough to believe it.
And today, I decided that I like to be in the process I'm in, I love the exploration, training, learning, reading, discussing. I'm grateful to my coaches and mentors who have so tolerantly pointed me, over and over in the right direction.
But I think that the prickly issue, the commonality between the comments from my three friends, and the problem that I'm facing is that I need to believe in myself, not in the Macro sense, but in the micro. In the day to day decisions, and understandings. This is a bit esoteric, I hope it makes sense...
So I came to a conclusion that I've come to before, but I think I understand it on a new, deeper level, and that is that I am where I am on my journey, and I can enjoy being here, with whatever skill set I have.
I don't need to check that its okay, that I'm okay that the path is possible and the goal also possible. I can trust that, and enjoy the journey EVEN MORE, by having even MORE acceptance of where I am in the journey.
I guess that I had equated part of this kind of acceptance with giving up a part of my goal, or some intensity toward training, or desire of my goal. And I wasn't willing to do that, because I like my goal, and I like training, and that's part of who I am. An I didn't want to give up part of who I was.
But now, I think that I understand that this kind of acceptance allows the goal to be what it is, allows me to go after it as much as I want, while being comfortable with and glad for the skill set I have, and the place I am in today in my journey. I think that this understanding will give me the ability to connect on a deeper level with the people in my life who are trying to help me get there, the people that I work with, the people I am friends with, and my family.
It may turn down some of the intensity that surrounds the journey, without taking intensity away from the journey. What does this have to do with a parent with NPD? I connected those dots after I went through this thought process, and the conclusion I came to was that its hard to trust yourself when you grow up thinking every decision you make is wrong, or could have been done better (that's one of the hallmarks of an NPD parent), and I think that I have just stepped across the threshold of letting that idea go on a much deeper level. One more step toward freedom!
I hope this makes some sense, and thanks for reading.