A few days back I played along with Magpie Girl’s 8 Things. I have had visits and email from other people who visit Magpie comment to me or send me email. Likewise, I read and visit the sites that play along with the 8 things. Polly had in her list that when she stops painting she knows it is a warning sign. The powerful addedum was what the cessation of paint actually meant.
She said, “When I feel insignificant I stop painting because I do not feel like I am enough.”
I add the emphasis on the word insignificant because THAT sensation, that emotional state, is the head of the nail. Power resides in feeling relevant and significant, if only to oneself. But when I feel insignificant, I am powerless. And I never feel like enough. Like any impotence, 90% of the mental and emotional flaccidity is self-originating. I could digress on a dissertation on erectile dysfunction and its causes. The clinical assessment is that ED is caused by poor circulation caused or compounded by high blood pressure, diabetes and cigarette smoking. But it is compounded by the idea that things don’t work down there. If it might not work, then why try? If I can’t get it up then why even bother? So, we sit there and smoke and stuff our faces and sit like couch potatoes…compounding the very problem that makes us feel like shit!
The same insidious psychological doubt causes other impotence and powerlessness. If I can’t win the race, then why run? If no one reads what I write, why write? If no one sees me or wants me, why bother dressing nicely or looking good? Feeling significant solely for one’s own pleasure and satisfaction feels empty and lonely after awhile. And if one can perpetually feel strong and confident…they seem a bit narcissistic or delusional. No one is that certain! We want some kind of validation and we want to know we please others. It is what makes faith so fundamentally challenging. How do I know He is pleased? How is it I am assured God approves? If I am not wanted, successful, surrounded by friends or confirmed by peers….where is my certainty that I am worth anything? Polly hit the nail on the head. Even Jesus had solitary moments, times when he separated himself apart and was not sure….was he making a difference? Was he doing it right? And he was the freakin’ Son of God! Holy crap…if he wasn’t certain (and he was God as Man)….how can I manage this?
And THERE is the assurance. The perfect paradox. It is human nature, human folly and the core of humanity. We lose our power at times. We lose our way. We can’t find the keys to start the engine so we can’t move the mountain. We can’t decipher the legend that lets us read the treasure map. We have no friend cheering our efforts offering congratulations. We have no lover to touch us tenderly and let us know we are truly loved and wanted. So then…when power seeps away…when we feel insignificant…how do we regain our power? How do we get our feet back under us? How do we hear the Voice that promises that we are known and worthy simply by being….when we can’t imagine counting for anything?
I think it is a tiny, common and almost invisible miracle. What else could explain how I get out of the darkness? How else can I explain the return of my power and my renewed belief that I am somebody. I am loved. I will find love. I am known. And I am wanted. While yesterday I wasn’t…..today I am. And when I fear that I am insignificant because I wish for things or people that may never happen, I further drain what little power I have stored. I want to serve my community and help other people. I want to raise sons who become strong and confident men. I want to be read. I want to win this contest. I want that person to walk through walls and love me. I want to be known, if only by a few. And I want to be a capacitor, less likely to lose my power and feel insignificant. I want a storage facility, the hurricane preparedness equivalency for my psyche. I want DC batteries to plug into when I run out of juice. And I don’t want to fall back onto the rocks that can shred me: gluttony, sloth, anger, bitterness, avoidance, pessimism and regret.
And so, I replace the negative tendencies with duty, service, work, chores, whimsy and beauty. I replace myself and my worries with another’s; empathy for someone else dilutes my self-pity. And eventually, power returns. Over time, I hope to learn to avoid exhausting all my reserves. To go green and conserve. My energy policy for the soul. Plus, it is a better choice than becoming a narcissist or delusional.