What if Life is a Journey?
Thank you for trusting us Medium readers enough to reach out to us. There are many who do understand your experience and some will share back.
You are very lucky that you have a brain that is capable of observing itself. You are also lucky to have at least one small voice in there willing to speak up now and then to challenge the strong voice that is so driven by fear that it leads to exactly the dialog your described. You are also SO lucky for the observation I highlighted to start this comment:
“I’ve come to grasp that it’s not the worst thing in the world. It’s maddening, and it puts me in constant danger of just throwing in the towel, but it’s also an intrinsic part of me.”
You are lucky to observe it, and also lucky to be able to accept it. Now what?
1. Learn to love yourself. We hear this a lot, but I’ve never actually heard anyone who said it describe what it means in a “prescriptive” way. By prescriptive, I mean, in a tangible step by step model that people can actually act on. What I mean by it is to LOVE yourself in a parental sense. The love a parent is “expected” to give a child is to care about them, and HELP them, even when they go astray. The “yourself” you need to love is a very afraid child memory that somehow was established in your brain. Your brain created a strong memory about something that it thought was a danger to you. It did that to protect you. When these kind of memories are brought to light, they are very often pretty bizarre because they were perceived by a very immature mind — often earlier than 5 years old. In any case, every time a “triggering event” matches one of the fearful conditions that formed the memory, the memory screams out to protect you. So, loving yourself means talking to that 3 year old, or 5 year old “JON” and helping it see that it is now living in the brain of a very different adult Jon, and it is safe from the old fears.
2. One of the commenters, Peter Marshall, said “live for right now”. I have another way to express his point. When you look into the future, something about setting goals triggers “little JON” and scares him. So, to avoid this, what if you view life as a JOURNEY? This is the “now” that Peter was talking about. It can be a journey without a goal, like a journey of discovery. In fact, I see that another of your internal voices has already figured that out. It’s all over your website. So this message to you is simply to bring this observation to consciousness.
OH! And keep telling little Jon how life IS actually working out OK. As a whole organism, you seem to have plenty of resourcefulness to keep moving down the road.