Every single thing about me is half-ass! My writing, my running, my counseling practice, my marriage, my friendships, my relationship with God, etc. etc. etc. I don't like commitment, I don't like putting my whole heart into something... I fear loss, failure, disappointment. I fear truly allowing another (others) to see me & know me. So I keep people at a distance, success at a distance, the chance to really make a difference and impact others at a distance. I keep the life I want to create & the person I want to become at a distance. Yuck! I don't like this about myself. I'm realizing just how much this ugly ambivalence is part of my life and just how long this has been going on. It affects every single part of my life... and probably started when i was in middle school (who knows, maybe I was an ambivalent baby, if that's possible...)
Several ways ambivalence plays out in my life:
1) I don't like to finish books that I start, especially books I love. I hate endings, from finishing books to the loss of relationships. If I quit before the book is over, I still have something to come back to whenever I want.
2) I have never finished a short story I've written. I'm constantly changing and editing until I'm sick to death of it & put it away in a box in my closet and start another writing project. At one time, I always have too many writing projects going at once. And I can never stick to just one of them. Initially I'm really excited about a new idea but when I try to put it down on paper and make it a reality, I lose interest quickly and move on... or stop writing.
3) It takes me forever to wear the new clothes I buy. (This drives Husband crazy!) I don't want to dirty them. I don't want arm pit stains or spaghetti sauce stains that never come out. I don't want to accidently throw them in the dryer and shrink them and then I can no longer wear them. They're safest in the closet; they look the best hanging in my closet with the price tag. (I know, what an awful waste of money this is! I do eventually wear them but sometimes months and months after I buy it.)
4) I desperately want to lose weight & exercise consistently. But I have a love-hate relationship with food, exercise & the gym... throw into that mess, issues with my body image and, need I say more? There's a lot there...
5) I'll probably be stuck in grief over the loss of my dad for the rest of my life if I continue in this ambivalence. I tip-toe around my grief, i jump over my grief, I walk away from my grief. Yet it's always there, within me. There was always a lot of ambivalence in my relationship with my dad. Perhaps that's where a lot of this comes from...
6) I'm lonely. And I say I want deep, authentic, rich friendships but as soon as relationships start moving in that direction, I distance myself. I push away. I isolate myself. The whole push-pull dynamic that describes so many of my friendships and romantic relationships throughout the years (not to mention relationship with God).
7) I long for our private practice to be a success. But when it comes to taking the risks & putting in the time and energy to work towards making that a reality, I bail. Sure I'll put 50% into it (or less to be more realistic & honest). Then if it never flys, I can do something about it, I can pretend I have some control & do something about it. But, if I put my whole self into it, and it still fails... what then can I do? Then I'm completely out of control. Then I'm completely dependent on God. Not a comfortable place for me.
And that's what a lot of my life has come down to - personal comfort - in my marriage, in my relationships, in my work. Limit risk, limit heart involvement & therefore, limit loss and pain. And as a result, limit passion and joy and success.
This has been a huge discovery for me in the last couple weeks. I don't want fear to win over. I want to want more for my self and my life and my marriage and my career and my relationships. And I do. Desire and fear are battling it out in my heart. My hearts been at war for so many years now. But to move past ambivalence, I think it takes more than just wanting things to be different. And I'm not clear yet as to what else it's gonna take...