"In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
I have thought long and hard about what I need to do to find balance, and it is not an easy thing. There is not just one thing that I have to do, there are many.
Well maybe calling it “balance” is the wrong thing. Every time I try and give a little to Anima she tells me that it is not enough. For example, I bought several pars of purple socks that I ware to work on a regular basis as a way to honour the woman inside. But deep down I feel that is not enough for her. If she had her own way, I would be reborn in a female body, and that will never happen. So I think “inner peace” is a better term for my situation.
So how do I find inner peace when I am staring down the dark path of pornography that in the past has effectively dulled the pain I feel for wanting so bad to be a Woman. The Sunday school answers are the first to come to mind; read my scriptures, say my prayers, and attend my Sunday meetings. They are the easiest ones to do and are suppose to bring the greatest amount of comfort. They are extremely difficult to do if I am having trouble finding the desire to do them.
When I am staring down the dark path of shame, anger and self loathing; what do I do? Finding inner peace when the very thought of myself fills my mind with unbearable hatred. When I feel the intense want to be a woman wash over me I feel the dark deep rifts of shame open up, and I am swallowed up by rage and an intense disgust for myself. Shame has become a constant companion of mine here in this life. I feel it as embarrassment for feeling this way, as unworthiness after viewing inappropriate content on the internet, and disgust as I do things that I am not proud of. But… “Empathy is the antidote to shame. If you put shame in a Petri dish, it needs three things to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence and judgment. If you put the same amount of shame in a Petri dish, and douse it with empathy it can’t survive. The two most powerful words when we are in a struggle: me too” — Brené Brown - Listening to shame. “Shame is the swamp land of the soul.”
There are many dark paths I have stared down, but suffice to say these are the two of the darker ones. But what about this antidote to shame: Empathy? What is empathy, and how can it defeat shame? Be aware that empathy and sympathy are not the same.
Britannica Concise Encyclopaedia defines empathy as: [The] ability to imagine oneself in another's place and understand the other's feelings, desires, ideas, and actions. … The empathic actor or singer is one who genuinely feels the part he or she is performing. The spectator of a work of art or the reader of a piece of literature may similarly become involved in what he or she observes or contemplates….
So in order to divest myself of shame I need to feel empathy for those who suffer as well.
Marvin J. Ashton (Give with Wisdom That They May Receive with Dignity) said: Wherever these lost sheep may be, a necessary ingredient for helping is empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand someone else’s feelings and to feel what he feels. Meaningful help can never be given without empathy for the recipient. This requires gaining the confidence of the person; listening with eyes, ears, and heart; trying to comprehend how this person feels; and then letting him know by your personal performance that you really understand. One who really understands and practices empathy doesn’t solve another’s problems, doesn’t argue, doesn’t top his story, make accusations, or take away free agency. He merely helps the person build his self-reliance and self-image so he can try to find his own solutions.
One of the many things to finding inner peace is to have empathy for others, and I can then rid myself of shame that I feel for being this way.
On my first visit with my therapist he recommended that I read “The mindful path to self compassion” by Christopher Germer, PhD. I am not going to go into any great detail about the book, but he quotes the Dalai Lama. “[Compassion] is the state of wishing that the object of our compassion be free of suffering… yourself first, and then in a more advanced way the aspiration will embrace others” So in short the book teaches how to have compassion for oneself through meditation. It is an amazing book with the power to move your own emotional mountains. The concept be hid this book is like nothing else, and Brene Brown allude to it when she said “they have the compassion to be kind to themselves first and then to others. Because as it turns out we can’t practice compassion on other people if we cant treat ourselves kindly.”
How does all this add up? I have mentioned several things that have contributed to my lack of inner peace; Anima not wanting to make a compromise, Pornography, and the shame I feel. Through all of this I have started to realise some of my solutions as well; Empathy and mindful meditation will both help me find inner peace. No I have not forgotten the Sunday school answers either. They are what I need in order to find the lord in my inner peace. It has been so long since I practiced them regularly that I am having difficulty finding the desire to take them up again. With persistent practice I will find the desire once again.
These are but a few things I need to do to find inner peace. Like I said there are many, and it will be a constant struggle to keep the peace. I can’t keep hiding who I am and pretending to be someone else in order to make everyone else more comfortable, while I am eating myself up inside. That is why I am going to “fearlessly be myself.” I am going to make myself Vulnerable in spite of my insecurities. Brené Brown in: The power of vulnerability, says it best.
- let our self be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen.
- to love with our whole hearts even though there is not guarantee.
- to practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror when we are wondering: can I love you this much? Can I believe in this as passionately? Can I be this fierce about this? Just to be able to stop and instead of catastrophizing what might happen just say, “I feel grateful to feel this vulnerable means I am alive.”
- I am enough
- believe I am worthy of love and belonging
- courage to be imperfect
I apologise if this sound preachy and kind of like a sacrament meeting talk, this is just me working things out in my head and coming to realisations I needed to move forward.