Last night I watched Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a play at our local high school.  Although I majored in English and love literature, here was a classic I have never read.  How interesting a subject, the opposition or juxtaposition of both good and evil inside each of us.  I laughed at how he thought the solution was to split apart the good and the bad making characters of himself just like I suggested.  He split his personality, unfortunately, with very little gain.  When, in the end, he could not control Hyde, who turned out to be a murderous wretch when set free without restraint, he stopped Hyde by also killing Dr. Jeckyll.  Such a tragic ending.  In this case better to stop at all costs rather than keep killing others.  But, really, is there no better solution than getting rid of both?

“I’ve got one less problem without you.” The words of a popular song echo in my mind.  The antithesis of what I believe, that people are valuable.  In fact, so inherently valuable that they are priceless.  

Personal Paradox

modestly dressed young woman ponderingJust like this character was in direct opposition to himself, I noticed that I have values that are in direct opposition to each other.  For instance, I want to be completely dependable, and I want to be completely free.  This self-contradictory state of being seems like it could not be.  But, just like some inherited traits that aren’t either dominant or recessive, many of these apparently opposite characteristics and desires can co-exist within us.  

If we want to win or succeed at what we are doing, we are going to have to mediate this internal opposition as well as all of the external challenges.  The same is true, and maybe more so, for our state of being.  If we want internal peace, we have to get along inside ourselves, and that can sometimes seem impossible.

 

Blindness

For example, when I wrote my last article about myself, I noticed that Daysee, the persona I didn’t mind publicly claiming is a very dreamy part of myself.  I didn’t even list any of her weaknesses.  Why was that?  Why couldn’t I see her weaknesses?  Blind spots light up for me like the fourth of July, and I get excited.  I had to ask, why?

Why do I not see her weaknesses or fear her?  Daysee is the part of me that does not act.  She reads, imagines, listens, reads, and at most writes.  She is content.  Others might enjoy her company because she is quiet and doesn’t need or expect anything.  She doesn’t annoy or talk too much.  Why could I not see the weaknesses?  It isn’t because this part of me doesn’t have any.  I think I couldn’t see them because I wasn’t looking.  Her weaknesses are the most terrifying to me.  I don’t want to face or deal with them.  

I think all of us have parts of ourselves, truths we want to hide from and even if they are obvious to others, they can be so invisible, so hard to see in ourselves.  Mr. Hyde, I feel, was not accidentally named like the shadowy character he was.  He represents our secrets we keep from ourselves.  

Laziness and Death

woman-768702_640Daysee looks lazy.  I am often very upset with the part of me that wants contentment, that wants the easy life.  Contentment is in opposition to progress and reaching potential.  This relaxing, retiring part of myself is slowing me down!  Or, at least, I fear it will.  She might spend her whole life learning and thinking about life without ever really living a life of her own.  

In family therapy, our counselor said, “If what you are trying to do a dead person could do better, that is not living.”  

Could a dead person do it better?  I looked at myself and what I was expecting from my children and lit up in terrible recognition.  Silence?  A dead person could do it better.  Not cost any money?  Only a dead and buried person with all their accounts settled has a chance at this one.  Not make mistakes? Not hurt anyone, ever?  No human can say they got that goal.  I know because this greatest fear, my great desire to never hurt others, was forcefully proven impossible when my Dad died.  My Dad, in innocent death, harmed so many of us because he was so good!  I realized it is impossible to be alive, impossible to live without hurting others.  This is something I still grieve.  I don’t want to hurt anyone. But, I know I can not fear it.  I have to risk living.

Admit it

To cause any change, you have to first admit that a change is needed.  I have come to realize that I do have a problem.  I am afraid of things I greatly desire.  And, I desire things that are truly impossible. How can we reconcile these things?  (I assume I am not the only one with a puzzle of internal perplexities.)  

Hyde’s solution

A tragic flaw in Dr. Jekyll’s plan to experiment on himself was the inability to clearly think and control his own experiment.  The solution to Hyde also killed Jeckyll.  Because I know that my weaknesses (I’m not talking about intentionally harmful acts like murder here) are literally caused by the costs of my strengths, I am not willing to run them onto a sword.  Thankfully, I hope at least, I can still think clearly.

For example, I know that when I am task oriented and fully focused, I will not be my most patient, easy-going, friendly self.  In order to become task oriented, I have to lessen my sensitivity to others.  It isn’t because I don’t still love them.  It is because I have to do that to focus.  I can’t prevent that side-effect if I want to powerfully get things done.  

Don’t starve your favorite child

“Don’t starve your favorite child” is a saying I created for myself to make sure that I didn’t accidentally give away what I most desired.  The Daysee part of me thrives on uninterrupted quiet time (which is usually found alone.)  I feel like I can only have this time, only allow myself this pleasure, when everything else is done.  But, like Cinderella’s step mother, I can always find more for me to do!   If I am not careful, I would never give myself the time for quiet pleasures like reading, thinking, dreaming and writing.  

It didn’t occur to me until today, that maybe one reason I starve this part by not giving myself enough free time is because I’m so afraid.  Would she become so complacent that she would learn, read and dream forever?   Would I really become lazy and just settle?  It is tempting.  I have what I need, and I am the one always challenging myself and making life harder than it has to be.  

It is all important

woman-731887_1280Like I recently realized that everything is hard, I keep returning to the arguable fact that everything is important.  Doing everything is certainly not important.  But giving all of your being a chance to thrive, is.  For example, I know it is important for me to have times of contentment and quiet reflection, or I have no hope of maintaining happiness.  But I also need time to push forward, not settle, let myself ignore people and do my projects and meet my goals.  Living fully is far too important to me.   That is why it is all important.  I need balance and wholeness most of all.

I want to live.

I want to live well.

I want to live well together (with you).

I want it all.

Wanting it all

Because of opposition and costs, it is absolutely impossible to get everything I want at the same time. If I let myself, I could always be crying about what isn’t.  When you focus on one thing, you ignore a thousand others.  It really is an ongoing paradox of life, a constant jumping the fence to get what is on the other side.  

I read that it is human nature to not want to lose anything.  We want to hang on to what we have more than we want to create something new.  Another way of saying that is that we fear loss of what we know more than we fear the loss of potential or what we do not know.  

My solution

As much as the Big D part of me hates acceptance, I am back to it again.  Sometimes I have to accept ‘no’, for now.  For example, in seasons with lots of little children I am not going to have a lot of time for reading because I have to keep my eyes on them to keep them alive.  But, it isn’t ‘no’ forever.  It is just accepting the limitations, trade offs and costs of the situation.

That is just it.  I have to accept the limitations that actually exist without throwing a fit.  The consequences of my choices will always have a down side–always.  I have to accept that it isn’t all roses all the time.  I might have mistakes, regrets, and failures to boot.  But, mercy, DarEll, that is the way it is!  There isn’t a way to avoid all negative everythings and still be alive–only a dead person could do that.

Self Improvement- To read more of DarEll's articles, click here.

Self Improvement- To read more of DarEll’s articles, click here.

Jekyll’s fate is not what I’m aiming for.

I hope you will risk it all with me.  

Let’s dare to live.

(Even if that means being brave enough to be silent, look lazy, and just dream for a while)

Namaste,

DarEll S. Hoskisson

About DarEll Hoskisson
DarEll S. Hoskisson loves to do hard things, but not too hard. She shares her own challenges, goals and experiences as she guides you into a realistic path of self-reflection and self-improvement. She shares tips on how to find, know and trust yourself so you can decide if other’s suggestions are right for you. DarEll has the world a little upside down—where work is play and play is work. She actually thinks other people’s problems are fun to try to solve and lights up with a personal challenge. She loves people, harmony, and excellence. She also loves useful things like tools and ideas that make work faster, easier and more fun. DarEll married in 1993 and graduated from BYU (1995) with a bachelor’s degree in English and Secondary Education. Since then she was adopted by 5 children and has worked with many non-profits. She is currently a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor—leading pilates and yoga at her local YMCA. DarEll lives in Florida where she enjoys her family, nature, her work, and encouraging people to live well. She periodically posts her poems, what she is learning, and service opportunities on her personal blogs: https://personalabridgements.wordpress.com and https://darellhoskisson.wordpress.com

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