Optimisim, You Say?

"Optimism? It's a mania for insisting everything is great when, really, we're all wretched." - Candide

Friday, May 28, 2010

Confession: I Try to Understand Everything

I’ve had a difficult week struggling with my demons. They’re things I’m not really proud of, but they’re on my mind and I have to get them off my chest. One of them is that I cling to the past. (That’s a demon to battle another day.) I also realized I’m sometimes defensively judgmental – on other words, I subconsciously judge because I think I’m being judged. (Also a demon to battle another day). The one that keeps rearing its ugly head, though, is that I’m frustrated about my condition. Since that’s directly tied to another demon, it makes the most sense to mention it right now.

See, it’s often hard to make other people understand that my fatigue is different than being tired or sleepy. Even when I’m so tired that my muscles ache from exhaustion, and I’ve explained the situation over and over, the compassion of those around me is limited.

In part, I can’t blame them. First of all, no one can be compassionate all the time. Second, the compassion or pity of others isn’t a necessity – it’s a luxury. Third, I’m not even sure I WANT pity or compassion. And finally, no one really understands, and I can’t even expect them to remember that I’m ill. I mean, even El Senor (who lives with me) will say things like, “Why are you so tired? You slept 11 hours last night.” Also, I work with a pretty . . . . shall we say . . . unique group of people – as I’ve mentioned before, I’d love to blog about my job. One of my issues with them is their misplaced (or lack of) concern for other human beings. I’ve seen them take bets against someone’s sales efforts succeeding and call a hospital when they think someone is staying there (because they all agree that no, there is no way this person could be telling the truth about being sick.) It’s just how they are.

But there are still times when I just wish I could make people around me understand.

I realized this morning that my frustration is as much with myself as it is with them. Even I don’t understand my cancer, my hypothyroidism, my other health issues. This has been a great source of recent anger and bitterness; as I mentioned before, I’ll often blame myself for being lazy when I’m sick. I have an issue with being over-analytical; I’m a bit anal-retentive and I’m calmer when I’m well-organized. I know even my health is better when my life is neater and simpler. So, I like to understand everything, compartmentalize it all, give it all a nice little label.

It hit me today that, not only is it impossible for me (or anyone else) to understand everything, it’s also unnecessary. Some things happen that we’ll never understand, and wasting time trying to figure them out could rob us of the experience and/or lesson. And, when I think about it, the mystery of some memories and occasions only makes them more beautiful and remarkable.

For me, trying to understand everything is often a barrier to progress, as well - because it sometimes prevents me from just accepting things as they are. It also leads me down the dark road of being judgmental. This usually stems from my need to identify, understand, and label all of the things and people I encounter.

Seems like I am spending an awful lot of energy doing this for things and people I’ll never be able to, or truly need to, fully understand.

So my goal, even if it’s just for today, instead of trying to analyze, understand, or force things into a category or compartment – is to try to accept all things as they are.

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