An example of this is I'm told that I used to hold my breath until I turned blue because I was angry. And I can see so clearly now that holding my breath was my attempt to quit. If I couldn't get this life thing right (because everyone kept telling me I was doing it wrong) then I'd just quit living! Did I really want to die? No, but I think it was my way of trying to communicate to the adults around me that I could.not.take.anymore. I really needed confirmation that what was most important to them was ME and that I was there with them, and have them lay aside the fact that I wasn't picking up my toys, or hurrying fast enough, or eating my spinach. That the fact that I wasn't doing what they thought I should wasn't truly making me unworthy or "bad". That what mattered more than those actions was who I truly was, and that they loved the real me no matter what I did or didn't do. That was not the response I got.
Last night, as I explored the feeling, I found another, more freeing "I quit". "I quit" as in "I realize that the game we're playing here isn't important to me. I really and truly don't care if you approve of me and what I'm doing, or not. So I am going to lay down this rope here that we have been tugging back and forth, and step out of this arena into the blissful peace of knowing that I am okay no matter what your opinion of me or my actions. Your words fall like concrete outside of my awareness. I am free of this struggle, free to find my own way by listening to my own heart and inner voice." Aaahhhhhhhh. That feels MUCH better! Of course, as a kid that would have been difficult to do. The spankings, the punishments, the unkind words that would have happened to get me to PICK UP MY SIDE OF THE ROPE! if I had attempted that type of quitting. I wasn't so confident in my own worth then. What others said about/to me was more true than what I thought of myself. And those things just crushed me, and I picked up my side of the rope again, in the hopes that what I truly wanted would come from the people on the other side. That they would see ME and love ME and accept ME. And if I couldn't have that, then praise for conforming to their expectations would have to do.
You know, though. There are kids here now who have refused to pick up the rope. We may have all sorts of specialists who make the rope look attractive so they'll take hold and engage in the tug-of-war that we have been conditioned to believe is "right". Polite, inauthentic, disconnected communication, most preferably of the verbal variety. The successful, or not, accumulation of "skills" that make a person worthy, or not. The idea that there is one "mold" for all of humanity, one perfect way to be, and the less you fit that mold the less important, worthwhile, desired you are. Are these really ropes we WANT to be holding?
Please don't misunderstand me and think I'm saying that there should be no early interventions, no therapies. I'm not saying that at all. I have been on two sides with that. One side says "You're defective. You have problems with things "normal" people don't. You need to be made "normal", or at least to appear as normal as you can. Then you will "fit in" and therefore be worthwhile. I will help you with that." I do admit, I was once there. But now I see another side. This side says "You are whole and perfect and amazing just the way you are. You have all of these gifts that you struggle to communicate with others, all of these things you see others doing that you want to experience too. I will help you learn skills to do what YOU want, to help others see how brightly YOU shine. To help you navigate this world easier so you can reach more people with your message. Your message to drop the ropes. Life is so much more blissful and peaceful without them."
What ropes might you be happier without? What will it take for you to completely drop them? What ropes are the children around you refusing to pick up? Instead of shaking the rope wildly at them, furious that they won't take hold, could you just drop your end too? How much more peaceful could you be if you did?