My Inner Charlie Brown
By: Jessica Burnham
How many of you grew up watching the famous holiday cartoon- Charlie Brown’s Christmas? Or, reading the loveable character’s foibles in the comic page of your newspaper? Charlie Brown always felt depressed- and usually his depression came from his commonly chattered statement “I can’t do anything right!” Just recently as I trudged through my own inner turmoil regarding my life’s ups and downs, I heard myself saying just that. Tears streaming down my eyes, fear and frustration curling over me like a heavy blanket, I roiled “I can’t do anything right!”
I took a deep breath as I observed myself engaged in this belief system. I realized that I had to embrace this part of me, my inner Charlie Brown. And the tears came tumbling down at light speed! What can I say? In the daily work we all engage in called life, we have this perception of ourselves. We know we are working hard and trying to deliver what we envision as our greatest self- so why is it that when something doesn’t go as we expect it to go, it is so easy to spontaneously combust over our self judgments? It is so easy to attach to what someone says about us and then to take the flag running into our self inflicted fire.
I have probably watched Charlie Brown fall apart over his disappointing Christmas tree a couple hundred times. Yet every time I watch it I feel great compassion for his character. How many times does Charlie have to stumble upon his belief that he can’t do anything right? How many times do I need to stumble over this same belief system about myself? I sometimes find myself wishing (foolishly!) that I also had an inner tape recorder that released a statement to my mind like a red alert every time I start to go into this story- “Jessica, please take a look at yourself- do you really believe you can’t do anything right?” And the answer would be “YES” from my mind’s point of view. But it is just that, a point of view. And just like all points of view, they can easily be adjusted to create a journey that is more empowering and in line with what you ultimately deserve in this life.
I have full confidence that since I have chosen to accept the part of me that truly believes and lives this belief system every day, “I can’t do anything right,” I will be able to choose something that aligns with my heart. I have lived this work deeply over the past two years, so I know I can trust this process. I now have the choice to feel compassion for the Charlie Brown that lives within me instead of judging him like Lucy or any other of his harsh critics. Life is difficult enough as it is, juggling everyone else’s belief systems and projections. How much easier could my life be if I opened up to what is available from the universe that sees me for who I truly am? Rather than always seeing myself through filters and lenses that are attached to points of view?
Nietzsche has been quoted as saying “There are no facts only interpretations.” Interpretations, opinions, points of view- are they not all the same? My dear friend’s grandfather taught her growing up that one of the most important ways of being in life was silence, to not open your mouth. This is something I look at with the deepest awe. To not respond with an opinion, an interpretation about our behavior, as well as others, gives us the space we need to experience the emotions of being human without sacrificing the truth of who we are. And the truth of who we are is not an interpretation or a limit- it just simply is- bound by nothing, open to the possibilities of the universe.