And Thus We Are Led to Today...
The ship is in ruins and I am stranded on an unfamiliar beach with half my original crew either dead or lost at sea. This story consists of two major elements - 1. The search for the exotic scent and 2. Relationships. Both appear to be entirely unrelated, but are directly intertwined. My reaction to each stems from my reaction to my own personal upbringing.
Let's talk about relationships.
I avoid letting others get close out of the fear of having the life sucked out of me the same way it's been sucked out of me through my relationship with my mother. When I do get close in relationships, I have a natural predisposition towards putting the needs of my partner over all of my own needs. This creates a vast separation between my mind and emotions which in turn fuels an incessant internal battle. I put the needs of my partner above my own, suppressing my emotions and needs towards myself until I feel numbed and annoyed and then oscillate towards the opposite direction - ignoring the needs of my partner.
In a futile attempt to suppress my emotions and live a life based purely off logic, I demonize my emotions, believing them all to be nothing but lies leading to weakness and pain.
This distrust of my own emotions manifests itself through a distrust in others. At its core my need for superiority and external validation is ultimately rooted in a distrust of my own self. My shadow self. The core emotional part of the psyche that has been ignored and criticized for so long.
Perhaps chasing that ghost ship into treacherous waters was exactly what I needed to recognize the Truth.
Intimacy is sharing your reality with someone else and knowing you're safe, and them being able to share their reality with you and also be safe. However, if we are crippled by fear of our own shadows we can never truly be intimate with another, for we will manifest that shadow through projecting it on them over and over again. Tied up by own self-imposed shackles in front of a fire of our own construction, we watch the walls as our own shadows dance upon them. Transfixed by a show we are convinced is independent of ourselves. Unless we recognize these shadows as our own, they will forever cripple our relationships and make intimacy, and thus individuation, impossible.
Most people likely hold the belief that most of our lives is spent avoiding the classic negative emotions such as pain, fear, anger, sadness, and loss. I disagree. I think the emotion we spend the majority of our lives avoiding is anhedonia. If that is even classified as an emotion at all. It's not pain we fear so much, but the feeling of Nothingness. Of emptiness. Of absolute lack of meaning. The "death" emotion.
The irony is that unless we spend time with anhedonia there can be no intimacy with the Self. And without self intimacy there is no relationship intimacy. Because anhedonia acts a mirror to one's self. It forces one to see the Truth. To see one's total self in all its incompleteness, the shadow and all. To face the Shadow is to face our greatest fears and the things we hate most. Within the Shadow we see every single thing we resist against.
The truth is that relationships are like divining rods for locating one's own faults and weaknesses. There has been so much anxiety surrounding the "relationship" of Jude and me. The pressure of this need to uphold the image of the "perfect partner" accompanied by the fear that if any of my shadow were to show itself she would run to the hills screaming. Maybe I am attempting to mold myself into the perfect partner out of a deep need for affection as a result of the emotional neglect experienced in my childhood. Or maybe I am just so doubtful and distrustful of my own value as a person that I am constantly searching for reasons to doubt and distrust her, just so I can avoid the pain that could potentially accompany intimacy. An excuse to break things off just for the sake of being able to say "it was my choice." The illusion of control.
Since the beginning I distrusted Jude. I felt that she was intentionally distancing herself or not being entirely up front and truthful regarding her feelings and inner world. Perhaps she may be doing some of that, but the Truth is that I have been the one distancing myself the entire time. I have been the one who hasn't been up front and truthful regarding my own feelings and inner world. I am the one who distrusted my own self.
Because no one could possibly see the real me and care for me.
No one could possibly love that.
No one could possibly see who I am and not run the other direction.
No one could possibly want to spend time with me for who I am and have no ulterior motives regarding their own self interest.
I am finally beginning to understand the meaning of the phrase "you cannot truly love someone else until you love yourself."
And that means the whole Self. Including the Shadow. Especially the Shadow. Once you learn to exercise compassion for the shadow self, you can exercise compassion for all beings. Unconditionally. Because you see people for who they truly are and you don't shrink away, because what you recognize in them, is you. I understand now that my crippling fear of Mel being manipulative was due to a fear of myself being unconsciously manipulative towards her. My fear of her lack of faithfulness was due to my lack of faithfulness in my own ability to remain committed to a single individual. My distrust in others is ultimately at its root a distrust in myself. I feel others can never love me, because no one could possibly love me. Especially, I could never love me.
We tend to see the world in terms of our own struggle.