The past year or two since I’ve started Kindling has led to a lot of self-reflection and self-criticism. I try to be as honest as I can with myself about what I’m doing right and all the areas where I can improve.
There’s one overarching truth about me that I always come back to, struggle with, and then find a way to avoid. There’s one overarching truth about me that I seem to resist at every turn.
The truth about me is that I use mental concepts and abstractions to avoid feeling my feelings. The truth about me is that I use my head to avoid my heart. When I argue with people, I employ the “rational argument” to skirt around the underlying emotions at play. When I process my feelings, I actually process my thoughts about my feelings, rather than truly feeling them themselves. When I write, I write from a head-oriented, conceptual space. It’s detached, maybe even cold.
All of these behaviors of mine function to keep myself from feeling the painful, confusing, sad feelings that are inside of me. They are a way of tricking myself into not confronting the most difficult parts of my reality. I know that what I need to do is operate less from the head, and more from the heart. I know this because just thinking of it fills me trepidation and a thousand reasons why not to.
I’m not trying to suggest that everyone should operate mostly from their emotions, or “all you need is love”, or some such staid message of living from the heart. In fact, I think there are a lot of folks out there who would be well-served by living more from their head and less from their every whim of an emotion. There is no one-size-fits-all path to personal growth.
What I am trying to suggest is that wherever each of us meets obvious resistance in ourselves is where we most need to invest our focus and energy. Where we most do not want to go is where we can most activate our highest selves and most contribute to those around us.
This is the grand bargain of life. Great treasure is available to those of us who confront our fears. It is only through that fear that we ever really find peace and meaning.