Oh yes, I thought I knew it all 14 years ago. I thought that working with young women as an adult nurse practitioner was the perfect job for me because I was able to help and teach these women at the same time. I thought I was accepting of everyone, and I thought I was happy. I thought I knew so much about myself.
It was not until I was 29 years old and experienced a major clinical post -partum depression, that I realized I did not know half as much as I thought I did about myself. I needed to learn “Why am I the way I am? Why do I react to certain situations the way that I do? Am I really as accepting of others as I think I am?” During months of intensive therapy, I searched deep inside myself for these answers, and when I found them, I realized I had struck gold.
When I more fully understood myself, I stopped getting so angry with myself, and I stopped trying to change who I was. At 29 years old, I began to like myself. In the words of Emmet Foxx, I let the door to my soul open “in” and I looked inside to find out exactly who I was.
I am currently reading the book Find And Use Your Inner Power by Emmet Foxx. He states that when people are faced with a challenging situation, the “natural direction of panic is to push outward.” “Human nature is very prone to push blindly when frightened or frustrated.” I thought about how true this is.
I remembered learning about the historic “Cocoanut Grove” fire that took place in Boston on November 28, 1942. The disaster became an important part of US history as people helplessly pushed against doors that did not open outwards. “Unlocked doors, like the ones in the Broadway Lounge, opened inwards, rendering them useless against the crush of people trying to escape.”
I remembered how my Kempo Karate instructor taught us how to escape the arms of someone trying to hold us in a bear hug. The way was not to push against arms of someone who was most likely bigger and stronger than we were. The way was to not push at all- instead relax the entire body, and slide down and out of the arms trying to harm us. (and then run!)
I remembered how, during that time of massive inner turmoil in my life, I was forced to look “inward” and allow myself to accept what I found without feeling the need to change what did not need to be changed. In this way I gained wisdom, found happiness, and learned not only to accept myself for who I am, but others as well. I learned to laugh at myself.
Foxx describes the “door to the soul” as opening inward. If we really want to nurture our souls, we must not push and become frustrated with the way we are. Instead, keep the door open, learn about what makes us the way we are, and let thoughts and life experiences in. This will help us to find inner peace and happiness.
Foxx uses the example of prayer as one way to “realize” the presence of God in our lives, and to guide us in our ability to open the doors to our souls. I believe in the importance of setting time aside from everyday duties. Time that is exclusively yours. This can be done in many ways, prayer being one of them that I am learning to use more and more.
Try not to push blindly against a door that won’t open in order to gain an understanding of yourself. Try to peacefully “pull inward” to open that door and look around inside. If you are like me, you may find some things that you need to work on to become a wiser and happier person… but then again… you may also like what you see!
quotes from Find And Use Your Inner Power by Emmet Foxx
Factual data regarding Cocoanut Grove from Wikipedia