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Hope Forward: Surviving and Thriving through Emotional Pain: Less is More Sometimes (More or less anyway)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Less is More Sometimes (More or less anyway)

Often when we are struggling with relationships, with career issues, mood issues, we start to think that more would be better.   And sometimes it is.  We can sometimes have more.  And in fact in therapy having more is often a goal or a theme to explore.  But more of what is really the question.  Because we can't always have more of everything.  Some things, if we have more of them,  create more problems, more issues, more pain, more conflict.  Other things, though, we can have more of.  And these are most often the things that we should really be striving for.  Like more serenity, more inner peace, more humility, more satisfaction with our sense of self, our relationships, our jobs, our environment.
A friend of mine recently told me that her 12 step sponsor told her that her life seems to sometimes be a combination of Peter Pan and Eeyore.  Part "I don't want to grow up" and part "Poor me."  I asked her if she was offended by this observation.  And surprisingly she said not.  She told me that she thought her sponsor had a point.  That she has often approached life this way, wishing that she did not have to take care of herself, do her part in her relationships, consider other people's needs, points of view and  foibles.  And that she often does lapse into self pity, thinking that everyone else has it better, comparing her insides to other people's outsides (often with a lot of help from Facebook). 

We talked a lot about how those parts of her are not the only facts, not the only parts of her.  She is also funny and kind, generous and a great listener.  She is quite a good photographer and talented graphic artist.  Sometimes we and others can tend to focus only our (and other's) pathologies and not also account for the rest of our parts. 

Still, my friend felt helped by her sponsor's honesty and candid comments.  She felt that by accepting all the parts of her self, she could begin in real earnestness to have more.  Not necessarily more spouses, or lovers or hobbies, jobs or money- though we do sometimes need to assess whether a change in relationship or job or living environment may be the way to go-   but more peace, more insight, more joy, more attention to her spirit, and more ease and more relief.   And because less is more sometimes: less self pity, less self attack, less reliance on others for too many of her emotional needs.

And somehow we got to thinking that it's first things first sometimes.  It may be better to have a better internal life first rather than attempting to change our boss, spouse, kids.  When we have more inside, it's much easier to figure out if, when  and how we need to have more outside.


Anonymous said...

Amazing post! Thank you.

Melissa Groman, LCSW said...

Thanks Anon.!