Strength – I am responsible for my own feelings

A friend of mine writes a blog on which she ends each post with an affirmation drawn from a deck.

The latest is I am responsible for my own feelings.

I stop and think about what this means, and (surprise) my first response is a defensive one. So – if someone hurts me, this means it’s my fault?? No. It’s what I do with those feelings of hurt that I’m responsible for. Do I turn them into bitterness, fear, anger…do I hold onto that hurt and bring it out, again and again, and continue to use it to hurt myself? Or do I find ways to move on, absorbing the pain, finding the lessons it brings, and ultimately use it to make myself stronger?

An old friend used to talk about how we have all the resources within ourselves to bring about the changes we wish in our lives. I always thought that was a perfect way to describe my world view. Our feelings aren’t isolated reactions to isolated events. They are responses to the world brought about by a million different factors at once – things from our childhood, subconscious associations, pride, love, things we want to believe, things we want to hide, previous experience, the weight of expectation. Self-awareness is the first rung on the ladder to bringing about change within ourselves. Or perhaps it is the entire ladder, since we never really step off that rung, even when we have kept a foot on it for many years. It’s kinda what I find in Tarot, with it’s insistent prodding at hidden elements of our selves, it’s insistance that we face up to what makes us us, stripping away the layers of crap that can build up around us, and become better at being simply amazing people.

A Tarot card for this idea?

I spread them out and scan through, hoping the image rather than learned meanings will suggest itself to me. The Queen of Swords? I’ve always thought of her as someone who sees both sadness and joy in the world – who stays strong in the face of a less-than-perfect world, who has experienced pain, but is wise, supportive and a force for good. But this card, for me, focuses too much on the negative, and too much on the intellectual. If I am responsible for my own feelings, if I have the resources within myself to create my own actions and reactions in and to the world, then this includes the good and the bad, the joy as well as the pain. I browsed through the Cups, searching for symbols of self-awareness and strength.

Strength!

A card I frequently overlook because I’ve been unsure of what it means to me. I drag some learned interpretations up from the recess of my memory – and find there’s not a lot there. Endurance, that was one. Courage was another. ‘A gentle control’. But it’s more than this. Enduring stuff doesn’t make you strong on its own. And courage isn’t conjured from nowhere. The strength in this card is about facing your fears head-on, understanding all the joys and pains in the world that make you who you are, and transforming these into something useful, something that can benefit you. It’s all there inside us, the good and the bad. Some of it was invited in, some of it came anyway, and it’ll keep on coming. But it can all be resources for self-awareness, and thus change.

True strength is about how we react to the stuff life keeps chucking at us, and choosing to respond with something positive, powerful and useful. It’s about taking responsibility for our actions. We’re not just silent recipients of pleasant experiences, passive victims of pains inflicted from outside ourselves. All that stuff that’s made you YOU…what are you going to do with it?

strength tarot rebuilding by kiri moth

(Rebuilding by Kiri Moth)

PS 5.4.11

Today (the next day!) I read this amazing blog post by Barbara Moore…puts it far better than I could, and goes deeper into what I was dancing around trying to say. Thank you Barbara! x

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One comment

  1. Chloe says:

    Barbara’s post was great, but don’t put yourself down – I found a lot worth reading in yours, too! I loved your comments about the Queen of Swords: very insightful. And you’re absolutely right about us always being active participants in the world. I also really liked your choice of Strength to represent what you were getting at – not a totally traditional interpretation, but it really works.Fab image of Strength – wish the artist would create a whole tarot deck, but then I’m a tarot-aholic ;-b

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