How We Cope With Our Misgivings

Jill Eng

We must live the life we get. Though people have differing opinions about how life happens, still, no one has a way of escaping what they find occurring in theirs (at least up until that point, which will always be the moment of reflection when one is contemplating).

We want what we want, and we are always up against this conundrum.

Acceptance is a wonderful tool

Many therapies, religions, and mindfulness practices utilize it. Often when there is a level of acceptance, however, life throws us a new issue to tackle emotionally.

This brings me to remember that what my mother most longed for was peace of mind.

However, it seemed she was striving for it via the hopeful attainment of that which she desired to acquire and keep.

This revolved primarily, if not solely, around money, though health as well.

She vocally yearned for ease and security and looking back, it becomes apparent she assumed those things were “normal,” i.e., certainty was something she believed should be happening rather than having things to worry about.

Either she felt entitled or just didn’t realize life was inherently challenging.

Now of course people’s lives vary wildly and for some, it does seem they are continually being hit with overwhelming circumstances while others experience yards of luck.

Whether my mother assumed superiority (and should not have had to have gone through such things) or had been innocently sheltered and blinded to such difficulties is hard to know.

She had a narcissistic personality so the former resonates, although she had also been quite protected in her upbringing.

Nevertheless, her language smacked of a superiority complex.

Comparing herself to others

I don’t make that last remark to be mean, only truthful, and I raise it because I believe that stance (largely inherited from her family) exacerbated her pain.

She felt deserving of exemption/immunity from hardships, and was consumed with the belief that other people did not suffer as she did.

Or, rather that no one else could possibly be as hard up as she (including my father, who was actually the one going through rounds of illnesses).

My mother felt alone, I suspect, not only because times were tough and the future was unclear, but because she was sure her lot was undeniably unique.

Above all else, it was just downright wrong.

This relates to my own life now

Shimmers of her mentality weave through my disorientation with my financial situation.

It isn’t that I feel I am entitled to a different lot, but there is a semblance of the theme that I should be able to figure something out to erase my troubles (in the style she proclaimed).

I experience a level of shock that I cannot wield my way out of my circumstances.

My mother was terrified of being financially insecure for as long as I can remember; and yet the way her life unfolded (which wasn’t a breeze in the park), finances were not the issue in the end.

Normal fear

Much of what I am discussing is normal fear for all of us, especially when there is an obvious reason to be concerned with our welfare.

But I am narrowing in on the similarity of confusion I experience to her emotional distress.

There is bewilderment that I am not able to snap my fingers out of my current condition, which reminds me of her mental plight.

I gain much comfort from learning of others’ situations that present (or once did) similar to mine.

Google is helpful

The age of online research is a true gift compared to my mother’s time. Not only was psychotherapy unpopular — and quite stigmatized — when she was in her thirties (the 1970’s), but there was no internet!

It is amazing how many things I search on Google to find out how other people manage things I deal with.

This type of comparison I find to be healing; it makes me feel normal.

Although I am sure my mother would have felt superior to others sharing her struggles, I do not doubt it would have brought solace, or at least diminished the shame and humiliation she felt in her personal nightmare.

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I am a mindfulness author and teacher. I blog on healing from emotional trauma, guilt, anxiety, divorce, relationships, women, writing, parenting, and gratitude.

Portland, ME

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