I have a friend I have not seen in ten years who, while in town on business, made time to be my guest last night. Even though we have stayed in touch through email, it is not the same as being in the presence of each other. We talked all evening until after midnight and again this morning we continued. Our conversations are always deep and meaningful with time evaporating quickly. She is one of the more spiritual people I know and like me is a seeker in search of meaning and truth. However her knowledge and experience covers much more time and ground than mine, so I always learn from talking with her. It did me much good to have my guest room used by someone whose company is always enlightening.
Another remarkable part of the morning came at a regular Codependents Anonymous (http://coda.org) Saturday meeting I attend 95% of the time. Someone who has been coming to the meeting for a few months had a breakthrough. She had struggled to find her way in the program, yet believed in the process and was determined to make it work. Today was the day when the pieces began to fit together for her. Though the refuge and safety she has come to know with the group she was able to share deeply of her self. It is quite emotional for a person arriving at such a point. Such an occurrence is touching for those attending who are honored to witness such self-discovery and realization. I am so glad for her!
As I have come up out of the rabbit hole where I isolated myself for so long, I am finding a richness not experienced before. There are more caring and wonderful people of all kinds active in my life than ever before. Once I began to stop playing the pretend game of being outwardly who I thought others wanted me to be and started to look inward, slowly, ever so slowly, I began to find “me”. The experience has been everything from wonderful to harrowing, but rewarding. In general, people are much more comfortable with me as I truly am than they ever were with the old “fake me”.
As the process of self discovery began in earnest in late 2007, my range of emotions swung widely from pure delight as I came to know being imperfect was OK to upsetting and disturbing as suppressed memories surfaced. Without positive discoveries to balance the distressing ones I could never have made it to where I am now.
On occasion others will ask about my growth. If a person is genuinely interested usually a question comes up verbalized some like “So what do you think has changed about you?” My answer will always include comments like: “I have begun to know my true self and find peace with who I am, just the way I am. The contentment that comes from consistently practicing the principles I believe in is something I have now; not all the time but most of it.”
The content of my answer is further well stated by Jane Collingwood who writes for psychcentral.com. She wrote: The answer to the question “who am I?” lies in our underlying principles. If we can be true to our core values, we have a compass to guide us through life, and will never stray far from who we really are. But first we have to discover those basic values.
There is more to it than that which becomes more difficult to describe. What I am stabbing at has to do with the process of slowly but surely coming to know my true self and then allowing others to know me as I truly am. It’s a tricky process as sometime it brings others closer to me while driving people away at other moments. Some people I thought of as friends in the past liked me only as I pretended to be. When the real me started to show, they stopped being around.
No matter; it is a healthy part of the long-term process of sorting “me” out. While good and necessary the discoveries bring effects which are damn painful sometimes. To have people I once loved no longer even speak to me has hurt. Through coming to know my previously unknown secrets, mistakes, faults and blunders by those people I am perceived as some “fiend or monster”. Even if that were ever true (and I don’t believe it ever was) that was then and this is now!
I am grateful to those who have stuck it out through the process of me coming to better know my true self. I am thankful for their acceptance and their forgiveness as it was called for. Also, I am also grateful to know the truth about those who are no longer in my life. Now I know better who is who!
During good times your friends know you.
In bad times you know your friends.