During an interview on the Today show, Mary Louise Parker said that she “had become too attached to her unhappiness……”
Have you become so attached to your own unhappiness that you no longer take care of yourself much less those around you? Did something happen to you as a child or an adult that caused you to try to sooth your pain with food, alcohol, or drugs? Have you spent a lifetime trying to bury your pain under layers of fat? Has your pain become your identity?
Or maybe you’ve been more like me…. Rather than harming yourself by not taking care of yourself, you’ve gone the opposite direction and worked your tail off only to never feel as if you’ve succeeded. Maybe you’ve tried to find the strength you wished you would have had to protect yourself in the gym. Maybe your weight training has become your this will never happen to me again training.
When we become too attached to our own unhappiness, we either isolate ourselves from others or surround ourselves with those who are just as unhappy as we are. And if we are forced to be around someone who is genuinely happy, we start acting like Debbie Downer on SNL. It’s impossible to be happy for someone else when you’re too attached to your own unhappiness.
Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled… Hebrews 12:14-15
It may be time to do a little weeding in the garden of the soul. Maybe our attachment to unhappiness or, in Paul’s words, root of bitterness, is small and can easily be pulled up. Or, it may have become a huge bush that has to be dug up. Either way, it can be remove and tossed into the burn pile.
This weeding begins with forgiveness. You may feel like you need to forgive God for not protecting you or for putting you into the family that you’re in. You may need to forgive the ones who hurt you. You may need to forgive yourself for allowing yourself to be hurt.
And once you forgive, then you’ll be able to pursue peace with all people including yourself.
And living in peace with yourself and others may allow you to begin taking care of yourself or, like I’m learning, to do the work of taking care of yourself for the joy of it.