My level of serenity is directly proportional to the amount of acceptance I have in my life, apparently. It is so terribly easy to say, "I accept it", but the process involved in this is a really long one. It takes mental, emotional, physical and spiritual practice to lever yourself in to the place where everything feels ok. Its a fine balancing act, and I have this internal seesaw that I have to add to, or take away things from, depending on how my mood is.
For example, work. Should I do a little bit, do loads of it, or do nothing at all. The implications of any of these decisions has fall out. Skint and mentally balanced but bored, or full of anxiety and stress, but having money and a career, or trying to find somewhere in the middle. I also have to balance up the practicalities and cost of childcare and try and fit in a relationship with my husband, parenting, healthy living and rest and relaxation. It's quite a big ask. Its when I see it in black and white like this, that I realise why my CPN asked me to consider giving up work until I was stable and well for a long period of time, before going back to the ring, leading with the chin!
Somebody once used the term, "Internal landscape" and I may have referred to it before, but this is what I am coming to terms with. I am no longer the sprightly, gamboling youth I once was. I'm a slightly older, slightly more mental woman of substance and I really need to adjust. But lets talk about my character, and how that plays a part in all of this. Character traits either undermine my progress, or aid me in my new persona.
Pride and ego are my major downfall. I have an idea in my head of what I want to be, as a career woman, a, lover, parent. And when you move away from this projected image, it digs at my pride and sense of self. People want to believe they are infallible, or able to do whatever they choose, and I am one of them. Women in the 21st century feel that they can have it all. The media push this image of the alpha female doing everything, having everything and having no consequences. Its a life of heaven on earth. But in reality, for me, that is all very far from the truth. I cannot have it all, and there are always consequences to everything that I do.
In my mental health recovery I am in the process of ego deflation and a crash course in humility. I need to be more modest about myself, than an inflated image of "Have it all." And then I have to deal with envy, when I desire what other people have, and I wistfully reminisce about the way that I was and what I have lost. I have to constantly remind myself that life is not always greener on the other side. And I mustn't bow down to jealousy as I will become bitter and resentful of all of those other people who supposedly have a better life than me.
I also have a stubborn streak a mile wide, and without that, I would have never as got as far as I have in my rebirth into the mentally well person I am today (Well, slightly more mentally well anyway). Stubbornness is a double edged sword for me though, in that I can dig my heels in and be truly bloody minded just for the sake of it or to be obstructive when I am angry.
I'm never quite sure how many people do this character inventory on a regular basis, but I am learning that others do not do the same things as me, whether mentally ill or not. I practice being honest about myself in all situations in my life, and a lot of people view you as some kind of idiot for making yourself so vulnerable in a hostile world. Others see it as a gift, so they can use your "weakness" for their personal gain. And still others see it as a virtue, but in no way, shape or form would they ever consider following that path themselves. Its a lonely old path at times, and I can feel very isolated in company.
I wonder some times if it is all worth the hassle.