Inner Strength: thoughts on our discomforts

Tonight as I wind down, I ask myself how does one find the strength to handle all that life throws at them during both the periods of silence and noise? I find myself struggling so often between a version of myself that is good and kind, that is responsible, understanding and leveled. Then there is another side of myself that feels scattered in feelings, feelings that are not always so good and kind.

I was heavily contemplating taking a social media break today and even now I am still considering it. Not out of desperation and it’s nothing personal against the app. It’s not because of a binge session wreaking havoc on my self esteem because that hasn’t happened in awhile and it wasn’t related to the content that was popping up on my feed as that can effect my mood from time to time too. 

It’s really the fact I feel this need to post like that time in college when I was sitting in a huge lecture, stressed before an exam, when I suddenly thought to myself how nice it would be to go outside and light up a cig, in the middle of broad day light and not as a social act at a house party like I had grown used to but because my body felt the desire. My next thought was disgust at the urgency I felt. How it felt apart of my persona then like that’s something I should be doing when it was never something I use to ever want or associate myself with. It in fact was something I was strongly instructed not to partake in when I was 13 years old. My oldest brother was moving his belongs into a U-Haul moving to college, chain smoking cigarettes with my dad as they became walking contradictions repeating the surgeons label and telling me to never do it in between puffs. I listened for a long time, at least a couple years and through out high school but offering up some of your pack was a great way to make friends and in a weird way, I felt validated. I feel the same with social media. 

Cigarettes however are not social media and the comparison is terrible. It’s just my brain making dramatic and unrelated connections to prove a point about the dangers of the web. Dangers that cause me to forget that I can exist offline, in other places and still feel an insanely powerful sense of worth. Dangers that have caused me to change how I perceive time, how I feel I’m always racing against a clock. I no longer want to feel this way. I want to reject this and live freely. Is one ever free though? I remember at the beginning of the year writing the question ‘are we restless forever?’ for my zine on being Twenty Something. I don’t know why I’m thinking of that question now but again, my brain making those connections. 

Anyway, feeling like I’m in this crazy transformation period still and have been in one but lately I’ve been focused on action rather than talking myself up. I ended up doing a tarot reading to find some sense of answers to what I need to find this inner strength I desperately seek. Shockingly but not so shockingly, the cards told me what I already need to know: our discomforts come from leaving the people, places and connections we have made. Our discomforts come from loosing what we love or it never being what it was or when we have to think about and eventually accept a loss. Our discomforts come from our stubbornness, our inability to seek the support and love from others (or when we push it away). Our discomforts come from the feeling of feeling alone and that is the most painful feeling in the world. 

The strength lies in us. The strength lies in our ability to find that inner strength and use it to guide us even if it means guiding ourselves to collapse in the arms of a friend. The strength comes in knowing there is so much we can not change but our reactions to this make all the difference. Acceptance in our lows and our highs, forgiveness when we slip and the ability to forgive those who have slipped around us, a strong sense of direction, self guidance and a love for ourselves and others are all rituals we can use to fight these discomforts. Strength comes from daily action and practice. Constant reassurance and reminders to self that it will all pass, both good and bad. 

Oh and a note to all future doubt that in moments when it feels you are at a stand still, movement is happening. 

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