Curiosity, patience, and grace.

My counsellor is excellent. She listens well, gives me great guidance, and is single-handedly responsible for the boundaries I’m finally starting to maintain. She’s also building a supportive and beautiful community. A world of mentally healthy people is what her practice is working for. Towards that end, she, along with the other therapists in the practice, produces blogs and videos on various issues that relate to mental health and personal growth. March is about exploring curiosity.

I’ve been curious about curiosity for some time. I’m not nearly curious enough.

image credit: Listening Pays

One of the many drawbacks of mental illness is that it tends to make one, or at least me, somewhat self-centred. More than “somewhat” most of the time, if I’m being honest. When you’re fighting mental illness, the world is very much about you in the default setting. I bristled and got angry and deny-y when first presented with this information, but it’s true. When my mental illnesses are raging, if I’m not careful, the universe quickly becomes about only me.

Arrogance often comes along for the ride, two stellar qualities when experienced in combination. The end result is unsympathetic judgementalism, and isn’t that really the person we all want to be?

(sidenote: as I was writing, I had the thought that maybe I should be curious and somewhat confrontational [i.e. ask questions] with the “friends” who ghost me when my life gets tough but get in touch when they want good times or support. The aforementioned counsellor would disagree. I’ve done it before and it doesn’t get me what I want/need. Reciprocity is not the name of the game.)

Self-centredness rising isn’t the astrological sign I was looking for, but because I’ve struggled with being mentally ill and insular for long periods, curiosity isn’t a habit I’ve developed. I need it though, and for more than finding out about extremophiles.

Without curiosity, there’s no grace.

One could define grace as having “courteous goodwill.” I like it. I would also include kindness and the aforementioned patience. For me, grace is less action and more a state of being. I want to be someone who lives in a state of grace. This isn’t possible if I’m a ball of vindictive rage, or if I refuse to lean in and learn.

I find facts annoying at times. Vindictive rage is easy. Grace is hard and complicated. It’s full of greys, like life. It requires patience, also like life. Why can’t “easy” be the right choice? Technology advancements, however, have taught us to demand things right now. We’re like toddlers when thwarted, or is that another just me? Patience is something our grandparents had. But understanding, the end result of curiosity, vital for grace, can’t be won without it.

(header photo credit: Bloom Magazine)

(One can also be graceful in the physical sense: I try for that one, too To move with purpose, intention, and grace is a thought that bounces around the back of my mind always. It’s more challenging these days, what with the oppressive pain and the near-constant cane, but I try. Notwithstanding the fact that I’m also a clutz, I think I mostly succeed. Yoga helps.)

17 thoughts on “Curiosity, patience, and grace.

  1. Everyone is self-centered Em because we live in our head. If you’re looking for an interesting read I just finished Falling into Grace-Insights on the End of Suffering by Adyashanti

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I can reserve books online from all the libraries in the county but books like that are limited. Still we have some beautiful libraries with great couches and views.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. A great reminder this post was.

    As to getting in touch with your ‘friends’ – confrontation is in my nature – not meant to cause conflict but to resolve it. Usually, what happens is nowhere near what I hope for because they either don’t understand what the problem is, shift the blame, or get defensive which makes things even worse.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear you: I don’t think I’d be able to get what I want either.

      Wouldn’t it be nice if we could have “back to school” days for adults so we could meet people and colour and find new friends?

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  3. I often wonder if I’m being too self-centered, and perhaps that terrible n-word, narcissistic. Maybe at some time in life we were lacking in a proper support system and came to rely too much on ourselves to meet our own needs. Sounds good to me. That’s what I’m going with.

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  4. You do very well to be self-centered. I have been too selfless in my life. I had to hide, because I was a victim of domestic violence, and therefore I have no desire to be seen around because I am always afraid that he will recognize me and come and get me and make me pay. I always live with the constant fear of seeing him again in front of me. So I always have to use fancy names and I can’t put pictures of myself anywhere. I live like a shadow, I hide and I don’t like being noticed. But sometimes all this makes me so sad. I also suffer from anxiety and panic attacks and therefore I know that having a disease is something that makes life different from everyone else.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry. Giving too much is a definite problem, though in this case, none of the blame lies with you. I’m sorry you’re still going through this, still living in fear.
      But you’re right: having mental illness does make you different than the neurotypical 💖

      Liked by 1 person

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