Hello again Dear Readers:
It has been a while since I visited with you. As happens with us all, I have been consumed with life's challenges, but feel I am now so much better for it, and best of all, I have stored up so much I wish to share with you. So let's get right into it.Honesty/ Self Deception
This is one of the core fundamentals to becoming more integrated in your personal and spiritual life. Most of us do operate under some type of illusion about ourselves and or those with whom we live or work. I believe these are coping mechanisms that develop early in our lives to help us deal with nebulous revelations about ourselves or our families.
Let's imagine your parents are really flawed people (easier for some of us than others). You're 7 years old. As a child, you are naturally curious and observant of the world that surrounds you and you become aware, on perhaps a subconscious level, that your father is a drunk and your mother is an enabler. Your father has your mother call his work to say he is sick, about once a week. You observe that this usually occurs after a long night of drinking. They fight and keep you awake into the early hours of the morning. You come out to the kitchen, your mother is making coffee and cooking breakfast as if nothing is wrong, but your father is predictably absent. You know what's going to happen next. You have that sinking feeling in your gut. Suddenly your appetite is gone and you just want to be on your way to school. The pattern sickens you. But after you leave the house, the resilient spirit of the child dispenses with the dark visions and optimistically looks to the day ahead.
When you return home, your parents seem normal again. They're in their functional phase and the awareness of the morning events fades, like the ephemeral particle of a dream. A separate reality that you choose to put on the back burner. This is your instinctive way is disengaging so that you can avoid spiraling down the same vortex as your parents.
Of course you don't have the language to define this behavior, or the wisdom to understand it, but nonetheless, you see that something is off.
But, for better or worse, these are your caretakers. You are completely dependant upon them for your well being and sustenance. Therefore, to maintain a sense of security, you cannot permit the truth of your observations to define your relationship. You allow the suspension of these observations and focus instead on the good in your parents. For instance, your father is a large man, strong. He can probably kick anybody's ass if he had to. Your mother is intelligent. She reads all the time and drops interesting quotes when conversing with acquaintances at parties. This is what you choose to believe about your parents, that they are strong and intelligent.
How would it serve you to focus on the darker realities of parents? It would only make you feel insecure, so you put the observations out of your mind for now.
But in spite of your resistance, it stains you. You grow into an adult and the disillusionment of the past becomes an obsolete vestige, yet still you cannot completely come to terms with the truth. Some part of you is still depends on believing that your parents are worthy of your admiration. Sure they raised you, thanks to their efforts you survived the flu and they took you to the hospital when you broke your arm. They kept food on the table and drove you to school when it rained, so they couldn't be so bad. Right?
Yes, this is the truth, but not the whole truth. There is a hole inside of you. A place where you feel weak and vulnerable. In challenging times, you find yourself drawn to addictive behaviors. Where did these come from? These came from those innocent observations you made as a child. You attempted to put them out of your mind, but nonetheless, they branded your subconscious. You are now imprinted with the stain of your past and the denial of that is part of the sickness.
To make it worse, you now extend this denial to other parts of your life. Your inability to see the reality of your friends, your wife or even yourself are hampering your development, putting a wet blanket on your happiness. Because, even though you succeed in deluding yourself temporarily, the truth weighs you down. You are to some degree still the small child seeking to break free, to have a "normal" life.
OK, as you read this, you can agree with much of what I am saying. But even though you are an adult, how would revealing the truth to yourself in all of its unpleasantness be of benefit to you? This is a legitimate question. Does maintaining a veil of illusion serve the greater good? Perhaps you are married, your wife, in fits of depression, runs up huge charges on the credit card, then promises to never do it again. But she never keeps her promises. You have to work overtime to pay the bills. But you have children. Wouldn't it be selfish to pull up roots and start over again? To find someone more like your friend's wife? Thoughtful, caring, a team player.
Only you can answer that. But consider this. How would your life have been different if your parents had divorced. If your father didn't have your mother to enable him anymore. He got help and stopped drinking. Your mother, instead of plunging her head into a book in an act of avoidance, became more engaged in life. Without the weight of your father's addiction, she felt free to continue genuine development in her own adulthood and as a mother.
Maybe it wouldn't have turned out that way. You will never know. But this is your life. You are the captain of your ship. The illusion of security you maintain is just that. Life is always about uncharted waters. Maintaining the status quo when your ship is clearly off course may not be the wisest decision.
Do an honest inventory of what is wrong with your life. How much of your troubles are self-generated? Did you bring demons from your childhood that now cast a cloud over your happiness? Find out. Learn about yourself. Ask for recommendations from those you admire. What were their challenges? How did they overcome them? Take a scientific approach to your own development, to becoming whole.
Then, and only then can your make an considered evaluation of your relationships. Then and only then can you make decisions about your future that are based on truth and not illusion.
You cannot change others, you can only change yourself. So do it! Then, be brutally honest about the rest of your life and how it can be made better. Will you make mistakes? Most certainly. But remaining stagnant, stunts your growth, deflates your hope for true happiness and this is a mistake you can begin to correct now.Consider this: Is there an afterlife where you will be free and happy once and for all? We cannot know. But why not live this life now, as if it were true?