29. Defend Your Life
June 5th, 2020, Friday
I am about to write something that I do not want to write. I always believe that when you write something you should try to be positive, and there is nothing worse in life than complaining without the desire to change. But sometimes complaints can be used as a map to show you the way forward, because behind them there is anger, and anger is not meant to be ignored.
Anger shows us where we want to go. It lets us see where we’ve been and lets us know when we haven’t liked it… Anger is meant to be acted upon. It is not meant to be acted out. We are meant to use anger as fuel to take the actions we need to move where our anger points us.— Julia Cameron
On Wednesday I went to a birthday party of a friend that I knew since I came to Berlin. She is a year older than me who is in her seventh year living in Germany. She had a lot of stories to tell, but after knowing her for a while I could see that she had mostly been telling the same stories, all centered around herself, serving her ego, putting others and the world down without sufficient actions to support her goals. I could see how she is similar to the narcissistic part of my mother. Perhaps that is why it had been so triggering for me, and why I would like to break away from this relationship. I am tired of people who always tell stories to glorify their victimhood and use pride as a way to justify inaction because nothing is ever good enough for them. Pride, as I have learned, is a defensive mechanism to fend off risks of being known for the fear of being rejected, which is a tactic that I am intimately familiar with. I have been telling myself to be mindful of my pride and learn to interact with as many people as I can instead of dismissing everyone as unworthy of my attention. But the reality is complicated. The truth is we only have limited time in this world, and everything we say yes to entails something we say no to, and saying yes to people who you know would not make your life better based on the past experience is a form of suicide, for you are taking a part of your life with them as you decide to say yes out of a sense of obligation without deliberate considerations. Perhaps it is a very cruel thing to do, evaluating people based on how they make you feel, for many times people who make you feel inadequate might be the people you need to propel a positive change in your life, but it is time to have faith in my judgment when I know in my gut how I do not want to hang out with certain people anymore without feeling guilty. Sometimes saying no is the only way towards freedom, and I need to accept the guilt that comes with such decisions without losing myself. I was raised to be loyal, not independent, but it is time to evaluate what kind of life I would like to have, and I would like to say no to narcissistic takers who have no intention of giving just to live in a morphed world invented to serve their egos. I cannot change them or save them, just like how I could not change my mother. All I could do is to move away and remain my integrity. It is important to be kind, so these words would never reach the ears of this friend, for you should never offer your feedback to people who do not want to hear them, despite your good intentions. People only change when they want to, not when people who hold their best interests at heart tell them to, not to mention I couldn’t possibly hold her best intentions at heart, for we are at the end of the day not that acquainted after all.
Instead of wondering why I seem to always attract narcissists into my life, I need to evaluate what needs does this particular dynamic fulfill. When I was young, living with a mother who was always the victim and the martyr of her stories who only gave acknowledgment when I was on her side, it taught me to listen and adapt to her wishes in order to get what I want, which was to know that I was worthy of her love, that I was a good person, that I deserved to be happy. Cause and effect. Neurons that fire together wire together. I associate that emotional attachment with a particular input, and if you change the input, you no longer have the same output, which is love and self-worth. Part of growing up is about understanding how you are conditioned and break the unhealthy bonds by setting up your mind to do so, and I intend to break such connection by introducing new inputs. Examples: meditation and journaling. By the end of a meditation or journaling session I could feel a sense of self-acceptance far greater than the tiny shreds of acknowledgment given by my mother when I emotionally accomplished what she intended me to do. When you see that you no longer need to rely on the old input to get the desired output, a new pattern would emerge. Human minds are more like moist programable machines than anything else. You need to train it as long as you set a clear intention, collect data on input and output, and experiment.
The fact that I still find it hard to break away from this friend means the dynamic is triggering an automatic process, because she is giving me the old input, and my old process is activated because I want the old output, which is love and respect. You should know by now that such love and respect are only shadows, for they are given to your shadow personalities and not to your true self. Your true self would tell the truth, and your shadow personalities only tell what makes the narcissist happy, for they do not like their worldview to be challenged and would hate you for pointing out their distorted perception of reality. Only love and respect given to your true self count, and you need to learn to stop accepting scraps of acknowledgment like a beggar by understanding that you can feed yourself with far more fulfilling meals if you simply try to take care of yourself. I have been eating scraps for my whole life and see it as the only way to fill my stomach. It is time to change, and you can only change if you decide to. Not someday, but today. Not sometime in the future, but right now. By saying no to scraps you will experience resistance, so you will need to create good habits in combination with saying no. When you clear out some space for new things to come in by throwing away old things, the change would be easier, but you must be vigilant. Do not let old things reenter your sacred space. Beliving you can make others happy before you can make yourself happy is a form of delusion that will only take away your life until your last dying breath. Honoring the life that is giving to you starts with defending it with your will and determination. The rest will follow.
The past does not exist. The future has not begun. The present is an infinitely small point in time in which the already nonexistent past meets the imminent future. At this point, which is timeless, a person’s real life exists.— Leo Tolstoy