Note: I’m trying to get used to writing more often. It’s super challenging, and I wish I had an answer already. Working on it! Please be gentle with whatever I write as I go through this process.

I have fallen apart enough times to be able to tell you this:

what breaks us is not being there for ourselves

Sometimes people say to you “it will be ok”. And you want to scream in their faces because
a) they don’t know if it will be ok; in fact, they know nothing about your pain.
And b) they are kinda telling you that your pain is not all that painful; it’s as if they were saying “it’s not a big deal”.

Not. Helpful. At. All.

Here’s what helps: telling yourself that it will be ok. But only after you have allowed yourself to cry and to fully feel the general crappiness of things.

When you allow yourself to feel as hopeless, lost, afraid, broken as you feel, it’s as if you’re saying to yourself

“I’m here, I can see things are horrible, but I’m not going anywhere; I’m staying here, I’m not impressed by all the horribleness, I still care about you”.

After the tears have been shed, you can say to yourself “It will be OK”: the part of you who is not going to abandon you when everything falls apart is reminding you that she will be there for you. No matter what.

See, it’s not that “things will be ok” means “nothing bad will happen”.

Rather, it means “no matter what happens, I’ll be here, and me being here will make it OK; because I care about you, and I’m not leaving you”.

It’s caring for yourself that makes things OK. It’s being there for yourself that makes things OK.

In short, it’s “you” deciding that things will be OK what makes things OK.

Because what breaks us, quite literally, is abandoning ourselves when the going gets rough.

But if we stay with ourselves? We cannot possibly break. Ever.


Sara · January 26, 2013 at 10:58

I was reading you and thinking that the idea of “not being there for ourselves” is familiar. I have heard this described in many ways including “hope”, “inner strenght” or “faith”. I have come to particularly like to call it “faith”. Faith in myself and in others around me keeps me going.

Mary Tracy · January 26, 2013 at 22:55

I found that “faith” is just about the most impossible thing we can practice. That’s because we are hardly ever pushed to “believe” in things “despite” the lack of evidence.
Which is why people report having a renewed sense of “faith” when the proverbial fish has hit the fan: because they have nothing left to lose. It’s at those moments when you can either: have faith, despite the fact that nothing indicates that life’s gonna get better, or you can “abandon yourself”, as in “you have failed to make a good life, I don’t want to be with you anymore”. (which, yes, only leads to self-harm of one form or another)
Practicing faith is super difficult, but it’s paradoxically really good for us. Because it reminds our subconscious that we are not in control of “everything” which means that if things go “wrong” we can be nicer to ourselves.

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