Wednesday, 23 June 2010
Walking a Different Path for the Next Generation
The experience of having no socially approved role has really tested me. So too has the experience of having no income. I've been self-employed for six years and this is the first time I have not been able to pay my own way. It leaves me feeling raw, unproductive and, to be frank, a burden.
As I've grappled with this over the past few weeks, every mention of money at home has increased my inner drama of failure and panic. I've wished Dirk would tell me I'm not a burden daily... even hourly, if he would. I thought he could reassure me. I thought if he soothed and consoled me enough, I'd feel it was ok... that I'd find some sort of peace with it.
I've come to realise two things. First, it's not his job (or anyone else's) to make me feel better. Second, I must heal myself. The words of others may soothe me temporarily... they may ease my feeling of failure and embarrassement in the short term. But they are just band-aids. The opinions and comfort offered by others can not heal my sore points. That is my work.
I don't know how to heal this permanently. But I know the first step: change my attitude towards it. Instead of falling back into shame and guilt, I can accept it. I can decide not to follow my normal train of thoughts that lead me down into those dingy halls of shame and guilt.
I can practice not judging myself, but accept that this is a phase. It is a moment in time. It is also a very different experience: it offers me the opportunity to accept gracefully, to grow beyond my idea of financial self-sufficiency, to begin re-balancing an inner belief that says I'm only valuable when I'm earning.
Just as babies have to learn to self-comfort, so too do adults. I find it takes strength and self-discipline to do this: it would be so much easier to ask Dirk to say things to make me feel better. But this is my journey, my responsibility and, ultimately, my rewards.
Ultimately, in my quest to heal myself (as much as we ever can!) so that I pass on a little less of my shadow side - my fears and anxieties - to our baby, it is another small step along the path.
There are many ways we can make the world a better place for the next generation. For me, creating a home and family environment that is as free from fear and anxiety as possible, is my current path.