Validating

Today I went to my first men's group where I heard two men describe separate but similar stories of ambivalence towards making the right choice. In one man's story I recognized a theme of feeling bad for his consideration of the wrong choices. In another man's story I heard his own knowingness of the right choice. Technically these stories started out as requests for advice, but to me, and this I told them, to me, the actual dialog felt more like a mirroring back of what they already knew: that they were not bad, but good and capable and worthy of making the right choices.

In my own request for advice I was overwhelmed with thoughts and ideas I wanted help with. I told them as much and eventually a central "problem" was understood. I was told that this problem was common to most men and not at all unique. In my complaining about the problem and explanation of all of the work I had done related to it, I expressed doubt as to the fairness or value of said work. Afterwards one man said I should be "honored" for the work I had done. This was incredibly validating.

In the same way that the other men's queries for help turned to requests for mirroring of their worthiness based in their ability to make the right and obvious choice my complaint of the unfairness of the work I had done turned into a request for mirroring of the worthiness of myself for what I had already done. Afterwards we all hugged and I felt a subtle but noticeable sense of warmth and goodness in my chest on down through to my stomach.

I drove home. Along the way I picked up an oreo milk shake at Cookout as a reward for myself. After arriving I sat down with my Dog Wyatt, sharing my attention between him and the milk shake, but never sharing it with him. Eventually I ate it hole and fell asleep watching Carl Sagan's Cosmos. Through the first half for which I was awake and the conclusion for which I woke up just in time to hear, I understood a theme. The cleverness to connect it to the theme of this story evades me but upon awakening I can report that while the warm feeling in my chest was gone there was still a feeling in my stomach although it was not the same at all as the feeling before.