Becoming More Comfortable with Self

One of the biggest mistakes I see people make in relationships of every kind is trying to get more comfortable with others and not with themselves. To do this is to place loyalty to others above being true to oneself. Worse, it leaves us stressed and reactive to every new person and situation.

I’ve spent the past several months watching people be weirded out by the empty space where the rest of my right leg should be. It’s cool when kids do it. I so enjoy the innocent look of, “Wait, what?” I shoot them a smile while their poor mothers die a hundred mortified deaths. I want to yell after them, “Lighten up, mom!”

I’m more aware of the expressions we use. I laugh at the looks of horror when folks realize they’ve made a reference like, “not having a leg to stand on” or “he cut the legs out from under me.” Relax, people! Apologizing while I’m laughing just doesn’t make sense. Slow down. Think it through. It’s not about you.

I’m different. I’m easy to hurt and hard to offend. Motives and intentions are everything to me. I’ll take it according to the person I know you to be and I’ll react/respond as I expect me to be. It’s about staying true to myself.

I expect a lot from me. If I can laugh about it, I will. Doesn’t matter what it is. I crave the release of levity and the feeling of knowing to the core of my being that I. Am. Okay.

I had a moment of excessive pride and defiance as I left the hospital last summer. I asked my son, “You know what really broke me?” He waited expectantly only to hear me say, “Not this!”

This missing piece can be replaced. Compare it to sewing together the pieces of a broken heart and it’s nothing. Compare it to the pain of my childhood, the angst of being working class poor, or the other hits I’ve taken and it’s laughable.

So I laugh.

And I cry. I didn’t want this to matter and of course it does. So I accept it, and in doing so, I ensure that this loss does not cause me to lose more. I refuse to let this take away from my joy or my serenity. This causes well intended people to call me an inspiration.

That’s cool and weird and unintended. I’m just trying to be the best version of me I can be. I’ve found the more accepting and loving I am toward me, the less I have to worry or stress about how anyone or anything else is.

“Fill what’s empty. Empty what’s full. And scratch where it itches.” – Alice Roosevelt Longworth

 

 

Jim LaPierre

About Jim LaPierre

Jim LaPierre LCSW CCS is the Executive Director of Higher Ground Services in Brewer, Maine. He is a Recovery Ally, mental health therapist and addictions counselor. He specializes in facilitating recovery (whether from addiction, trauma, depression, anxiety, or past abuse) overcome obstacles, and improve their quality of life. Jim offers a limited amount of online therapy to those with very flexible schedules.