A man bought a new house and decided that he was going to have a very beautiful lawn. He worked on it every week, doing everything the gardening books told him to do. His biggest problem was that the lawn always seemed to have dandelions growing where he didn’t want them. The first time he found dandelions he pulled them out. But, alas, they grew back. He went to his local gardening store and bought weed killer. This worked for some time, but after the summer rains, alas, he found dandelions again. He worked and pulled and killed dandelions all summer. The next summer he thought he would have no dandelions at all, since none grew over the winter. But, then, all of a sudden, he had dandelions all over again. This time he decided the problem was with the type of grass. So he spent a fortune and had all new sod put down. This worked for some time and he was very happy. Just as he started to relax, a dandelion came up. A friend told him it was due to the dandelions in the lawns of his neighbors. So he went on a campaign to get all his neighbors to kill all their dandelions. By the third year, he was exasperated. He still had dandelions. So, after consulting every local expert and garden book, he decided to write the U.S. Department of Agriculture for advice. Surely the government could help. After waiting several months, he finally got a letter back. He was so excited. Help at last! He tore open the letter and read the following: “Dear Sir: We have considered your problem and have consulted all of our experts. After careful consideration, we think we can give you very good advice. Sir, our advice is that you learn to love those dandelions.” ~ Marsha Linehan’s Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder (adapted from Anthony de Mello’s The Song of the Bird)
In this instance, the dandelions represent the intense emotions of the borderline personality. We spend our lives trying to escape feeling, whether through dissociation or impulsive behaviours, both of which create more problems in our lives, and at some point we have to know when enough is enough.
Self harm, suicidal ideation, promiscuity and other risky behaviours are only ever a short fix, like drinking and taking drugs. So how do you move past this? You need to learn to love the emotions, bad or good.
Your pendulum of feelings are what make you so special and needed in this world, your motivation, enthusiasm, passion, let every emotion drive you to achieve. You don’t need to hurt yourself.
I was told that anger is only a surface emotion hiding the pain and sadness beneath.
Observe and learn to recognise what you’re really feeling, do not be afraid to go beneath the surface, to your most vulnerable place. Feel the sadness, the pain, it’s ok. Recognise where it came from and validate it, nurture it. You’re pain is valid, it is not an over reaction, you feel how you feel. Sit with it, cry, scream, talk, write it down, describe it.
Notice how the pain affects you physically, mentally, don’t try to change it. Breathe.
As long as you are breathing, you are alive and it’s ok. Just keep breathing.
Eventually, when you have given the pain all it needs, let it go, let it drift away, say farewell. You may revisit it later and that’s ok, but right now in this moment, it’s gone and you’re ok.
Remind yourself that you are an amazing person, you are unique and you bring so much to the universe, you wake us all up, you invite us into your sanctuary, into your deepest feelings and the depths of your soul. We are honoured.