“When you live with wolves, you learn to howl.”
A Mexican proverb that’s been running through my head on and off for years. You become who you spend your time around.
It explained how I grew so curt, so harsh. Gave me room to point to my influences–to my life experience–instead of turning in.
“Of course I lived like that. Of course I turned out like this.”
And yeah, a lot of that is true. There are habits we pick up off the ground and carry on tattered ribbons around our necks for a lifetime. Scars other people placed on us that we now must live with. I know we want to let them go, recover, move on.
I know it’s hard. I know. I know. We’re trying.
But the kind of trying I’ve been doing hasn’t been working. The wrong kind of fight. Struggling violently is only tightening the grip. It’s time for a new approach.
Time to realize I’m the wolf. That all those stories I spin myself every day are playing a big part in my hurt. No, maybe I can’t change the things that made me think that way, but I can chose to stop listening.
I’ve been teaching myself to say, “Stop.” Sometimes quietly under my breath while sitting behind my desk. Sometimes loudly and repeatedly while I’m showering in the morning or walking home from work. Every time one of those thoughts comes into my head and tries to light a fire that doesn’t need to exist.
Alarmist. Extremist. Paranoid. Delusional. Built on years of abuse and broken promises. Molded from heartbreak. Repeated over and over until I forgot they didn’t have to be true anymore. Forgot I didn’t have to give them my time, my respect, my attention.
I’m practicing stopping them in their tracks. Cutting them off completely. Giving them no time to get their claws in.
“He didn’t call me because–STOP.”
“I can’t do this–STOP.”
“They’d be better off if–STOP.”
Censoring the telegrams my learned behavior keeps trying to send.
Practice. Practice stopping. I don’t want to go where they’re going and I don’t have to follow them.