Our Secret Ideals

As a kid I saw all the grownups talk very seriously and never show any emotion. They seemed to have their shit together. I'd always have emotions. I'd feel angry or hurt or wrong or something, and I'd feel wrong for having those feelings. I felt like I wasn't even close to having my shit together.

Somehow that ideal has been stuck in my unconscious all these years, and it wasn't until a couple of weeks ago that I realized it. I met a man, who really seemed to have his act together. He spoke in fully formed paragraphs using words I'd never heard of, strung together ever so elegantly. While everyone around him was breaking down in tears left and right, he stayed completely calm. It seemed like he didn't have anything to cry about, no pain, no wounds, no trauma.

At one point he says how he wishes he were more in touch with his feelings, and that sentence triggers an avalanche in my head.

It makes me realize, the ideal isn't to be like that. It is to be in touch with whatever feelings arise in the moment and being able to handle them skillfully. Not to bury them under a layer of intellectualism.

My unconscious dream has been to hope that at some point I would be all fixed, and I would never again have emotions, and I would be like the grownups seemed to be when I was a kid - without emotion. It's time to let go of that ideal.

These past few months have been one experience of letting go of old dreams that I thought I had, one after another. As we live our lives, it's easy to continue to strive after things that were dreams years ago, but somehow got stuck within us - the house, the car, the partner, the job, the money, fame, as well as more internal goals. It's important to do some house cleaning once in a while.

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