Friday, July 26, 2013

How Do I Love Thee, Let Me Count the Ways...

MVOR and I talked a lot about self-worth in our latest sitting. Clearly it's a reoccurring theme in my life and we bring it up a lot.  I'd spent a good many years (my whole life) tearing myself down and so I wonder if now I have to spend the same amount of time building myself up?  MVOR brought up me needing to enjoy the soup of my existence rather than looking at my life as a series of individual ingredients.  She didn't put it quite like that - being much more eloquent and poetic than I - but this is how I remember it:

Take everything that you are and put it all together, heat, stir, let it simmer - sometimes for hours - and then you have the soup of your life.  The soup is a dossier of the important bits that make up our person(a). If you think about what goes into your soup it can be quite humbling - perhaps it's the loss of a family member, the love you had for your pet dog, the wife who left you, the happiest marriage ever, the love in your heart for your child, the brother who failed to emotionally check in, abuse, love, joy, bullying, family holidays down by the lake, illness that stole people far too early, being heartbroken and those whose hearts you have toyed with recklessly - it's all there.  Whatever they are, good and bad, all the flavours contribute to the whole.  The soup ceases to be simply the sum of its parts once it has been cooked - it is no longer onion, cumin, celery etc, it's something completely different.

MVOR pointed out that I am picking apart ingredients and judging my whole 'soup' on one little bit.  Cumin tastes like absolute shite on its own, but in the soup it probably adds to the flavour.  I'm looking at the cumin and giving the whole soup a bad review based on that singular flavour only.  It's true that sometimes when you take a spoonful of the soup you might get a mouthful of chilli, or cumin or whatever and it causes you to splutter and fail to swallow but still - the soup is more than this mouthful.  We are more than the sum of our parts, even though the parts make the sum.  Does that make sense?

My soup is an series of ingredients which I have thus far refused to enjoy as a cohesive meal.  I've taken this rather negative perspective on my life instead (as best paraphrased by a conversation in the movie Clueless):

Cher: she's a full-on Monet 
Tai: What's a Monet?
Cher: It's like a painting, see? From far away, it's OK, but up close, it's a big old mess.

I see myself in the microcosm - the Monet up close and as the list of ingredients rather than the whole soup.   According to MVOR I should start looking at myself as the whole soup rather than the sum of the ingredients and if I find myself spluttering on a mouthful of cumin I need to reposition that as part of the whole rather than as a defining part of me - yes it exists, yes it's bad, yes it's part of my history and therefore part of my now but I am not just cumin.  I need to acknowledge and respect those parts of me that are not that great but in no way should I be judging the whole on the sum of it's parts.

Aaaand now I'm hungry.

*no cumin was harmed in the writing of this post.  Feel that perhaps I was a little too hard on it. It's really quite a nice spice.

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