Recently I made a big (especially for me) move to Dallas, Texas. And while that is definitely a story, it's for another time.
While unpacking and organizing our belongings, I came across an "All About Me" book that I made when I was 5 years old. It had an amazing picture that I drew of my family. I left the page about pets blank because we didn't have one. I wrote that my favorite color was pink even though I don't think my favorite color actually was pink but that I believed it was supposed to be pink 'cause, you know, society.
And then there were poignant feelings in this little autobiography summing up much of my life in their simple pages.
Towards the end of the book of ME I answered about what makes me smile... When my little brother was born. (Awwwwww!!) I didn't even know how epic my Boo Radley was going to be! I was an intuitive 5 year old.
I turned the page to view the question a 5 year old Jaime would answer next.
What makes me feel like crying? ... When my mom had to be cut open so that my little brother could be born.
HOLY CONTRADICTION BATMAN!
I could not stop laughing. It made me full of empathy for my fiancée (Oh yeah... Did I forget to mention that I got engaged the weekend before Christmas? That happened.) because he is the one that is affected most by my conflicting feelings. He just shook his head.
Much of my life is spent in opposite feelings. And sometimes, I'm not gonna lie, it makes me feel like I am taking crazy pills.
Yay! A little brother. Boo! My mom was cut open.
I am grateful for all the abundance that I have while simultaneously heartbroken and perplexed by the lack others suffer.
I was sad & at times downright gloomy about moving away from Southern California but I am also full confidence, hope, and optimism about what my future could be like in a completely new environment.
Amped about the adventure. Sad to be out of the familiar.
How can I DECIDE to use this skill for good?
How can I use this realization to serve me rather than just having me feel imbalanced?
Life is not just happening to me. I am no drifter.
I figured something out about myself as I pondered that conflicted 5 year old.
I realized that since I was child I have had this ability to sense the whole picture. I can see the entirety of the situation.
It isn't ALL good.
And it sure as hell isn't all bad.
I feel out the scene, and I can sense the dark & the light. The ups & the downs. The positive & the negative. Pessimism & optimism.
I acknowledge and feel all the parts. I do not stuff. I do not ignore. I have made efforts to become courageous enough to truly feel all of it. And that is what I do because that is what I choose to do.
I tear up, maybe sob, ugly cry, tense up in tantrum, sigh with slumped shoulders...and THEN take a deep breath and I find the whole picture. Because when I do this, there is usually so much good that it drowns out the bad.
I know the world is generally a safe and happy place.
I believe in the good in people.
When I (truly) feel a negative emotion it is then that I can spin it to the positive.
That is so sad that my mom had to be cut open so that my little brother could be born. In contrast, I get to have a little brother! Yay!
That is so sad that so many live in lack. In contrast, with my abundance I can help, support, encourage, and donate to help the cause I choose.
I am sad that I don't live in Southern Californian sunshine anymore. I can acknowledge this, FEEL it but I do not want to dwell on this topic because I know the positive contradiction is on the horizon. I am so unbelievably happy that my love and I have relocated to a place where we both have family and are confident we can make an abundant healthy life for us and our future children.
I am so irritated that I am doing this Insanity workout routine and that it was Day 1 and I already almost threw up. But I am blessed to have a body that is strong enough to complete the exercises and is getting stronger every day.
I am definitely not excited to clean my house because that sounds super boring. I AM excited that I have a house to clean and deeply grateful for the space I enjoy... And man, a clean house feels real good.
I tried this thing. It didn't work. And that suuuuuccckkkksss. I feel like a failure. This is a moment of temporary defeat and there are pieces of wisdom I can pull from the "failure." I tried something. Now I can have a new beginning with new hope. On with the next.
*Some of the emotions that don't feel fun can just be a simple, "Blah I don't like this" and you move on. But some... some rock the moment and maybe the day (or maybe longer.) You can stifle those if you want to... but shoving those inside yourself causes those emotions to stay a hell of a lot longer and will be persistent little buggers. Remember, "What you resist persists."
I am good at strength based.
Many a colleague has approached me to find the strengths among the seemingly endless weaknesses.
My fiancée (hilarious title) laughs because I will complain about something ("Oh my gosh. People were driving like crazies in the parking lot today.") And then immediately follow it up by giving people the benefit of the doubt in my optimism ("It was the first Monday after the holiday and people were probably rushing during their lunch breaks.")
The Whole Picture...
I love helping people see the fullness.
P.S. After composing this blog post, my sister sent me an article that coordinates with what I am talking about in this thang. So... you get a 2-fer! http://qz.com/584850/creative-peoples-brains-really-do-work-differently/
P.P.S. 3-fer alert! I took a break from this post before proofreading and read an email from my friend Anna who wrote on a similar topic about how being honest with your feelings can be liberating! Check it our because she's someone you will not regret knowing.