I have been doing a lot of soul searching this past week. I wanted to get really clear about where I stand emotionally with everything adoption related and beyond. Writing that last post frightened me. I was really afraid I was beginning to drown in a shallow pool of regret.
I read all of the wonderful comments and spoke to adoptee friends which brought some clarity but the clarity really came when I realized I had to find my own answer. Everyone seemed to really get what I was talking about but all had slightly (and some drastically) different ways of coping.
Ahaaaaaaa………….coping. There’s that word again! I don’t want to cope anymore!!!! I want a complete overhaul on my outlook!!! I don’t want to be held captive by this anymore!!! I don’t want to be a victim any longer!!! But how? Because honestly there really are a great many places in my mind where that is exactly how I see myself………a victim. I have been told we are not victims and I truly GET that logically, but emotionally I have some work to do before I can stop thinking like one. I know in my heart we are only victims if we allow ourselves to BE victims. It is how we view the events in our lives that defines us because how we perceive things changes how we act which then of course affects the course of our lives.
This was brought to my attention today. I found the entire thing absolutely fascinating and completely relevant to my last blog post. It has been said that when you are ready to learn the teacher will find you. I have found truth in this time and time again.
For me, as an adoptee, I think self-actualization is the core of my search. Trying to define who I am has been the whole motivation for my transformation from meek adoptee (unspoken) to enmeshed, vocal and searching adoptee unable to think of much else.
You cannot know where you are going until you know where you’ve been. I don’t know who said it (was it me?) but it’s true. I think though that it isn’t so much about having a clear, definitive, tangible answer as to where we have been (because that obviously isn’t going to happen for all of us) as it is grasping the essence of our origin. This is where the lines become fuzzy for me. Having access to the truth of my existance has been not only a driving force but has at times become detrimental and completely overwhelming to the point of “cutting off my own legs”. It has stolen my joy and I want it back.
Reading over the Eight Ways to Self Actualize I have come up with some ideas. The list below is not printed in its entirety. Click the link above to read the text in it’s entirety.
1. Experiencing things fully, vividly and selflessly.
I will take time to totally concentrate on adoption while trying to do so objectively, not making it personal. I have yet to be able to put my thoughts in any sort of order. They are just jumbled emotion, overwhelming, swirling and unclear. If I can find a way to detatch myself from this emotionally long enough to fully concentrate on the parts that make the whole I believe I will start to actually get somewhere.
2.Life is an ongoing process of safety and risk.
I must break out of the fear I have of losing (risking) something I do not have to begin with.
3.Let the self emerge.
This is a tough one. I don’t think this can be fully realized until we do the work of grasping the essence of our origins.
4. When in doubt be honest.
Honest with myself. Hmmmmmm. What a concept. Maybe I will journal about this next. It deserves my undivided attention.
5. Listen to your own tastes. Be prepared to be unpopular.
I actually think I am pretty good about this. When I am not true to my beliefs by speaking out on a subject that I find wrong I pay for it for days. My internal chatter (it’s OK, I don’t answer myself) beats the crap out of me if I walk without saying something in defense of my personal beliefs.
Maybe it does need some work.Maybe I need to learn not to defend my beliefs but instead learn to share them without any attatchment to whether or not the person I am talking to walks away believing as I do.
6.Use your intelligence, work to do well the things you want to do, no matter how insignificant they may seem.
Finding joy in the mundane. Every SAHM’s euphoria! Lots of work to do here. When I am doing the happy dance while ridding myself of the overflowing and ever present sock basket I will let the world know!
Seriously though I get this too. If you can take pride in a job well done, no matter the job, you would always have a sense of true accomplishment! If I could do this and remain in the moment I would not feel incomplete. I feel incomplete a lot. That must change.
7. Make peak experiencing more likely: get rid of illusions and false notions.
Again, learning to be honest with myself. I have high expectations which I suppose is a good thing but only if those expectations are realistic. Many of my expectations regarding my relationship with my birth family are unrealistic.
8.Find out who you are, what you are, what you like and don’t like, what is good and what is bad for you, where you are going, what your mission is. Opening yourself up to yourself in this way means identifying defenses – and then finding the courage to give them up.
I have defenses up the wazoo. I protect myself even when protection is not necessary. Sort of an “I will hurt you before you have a chance to hurt me.”” I will walk away before you have a chance to abandon me.” mentality. I become indignant when somebody does not act toward me the way I think they should OR I become completely fearful. I question peoples motives and over analyze what they might be thinking or feeling regarding me. I worry about anyone not thinking I am wonderful and perfect. I think this is why my birth family’s denial for contact has hit me so hard. I have absolutely no control over the situation. I constantly think “If they could just get to know me, If I just did this or If I just did that, they would surely love me!” If they would only give me a chance to PROVE myself worthy?
If I were able to attain in some form Self Actualization I don’t think there would be room for worrying about IF they love me, if they think I am worthy, if they will come around. I would not worry about my every action and what effect I will have on people. I would remain true to myself, be comfortable in my own skin. I would not have unrealistic expectations about them or me. I would be gentle with myself knowing that I am OK without their approval and love. That approval and love, compassion and strength, joy and honor, feeling whole and complete, all come from within.
It sounds like a lot of work but I am up for the task. The alternative is to remain stuck, stagnant and sad, full of regret, living in a perpetual state of wishful thinking. This is no longer acceptable. When I think about it I guess the pool is indeed shallow and all I really have to do to begin is simply stand up.
Note: Thank you to my friend Bob for sending Self-Actualization my way.