As I am getting older, I am starting to realize that we are constantly having to face the truth of ourselves. This may be something you have already come to terms with, but for me, it has been an adjustment to cope with the reality of this. More than anything, this is a good thing. Let me explain. There are a handful of events in my life that have shaped me in a certain way. We can all relate to that because that is a part of everyone’s journey, but how many of us find it easier to categorize certain events under ‘ignorance is bliss’? I know I do. And this is why having to face the truth of ourselves is a good thing. We have to learn from everything we have gone through, been through, and survived; If we leave parts of our story out, we take the risk of never healing our whole selves…our true selves.
June has forced me to take a look at the shame I am still keeping buried, and the resentment I am still holding towards those from my past. I have been trying harder to sit with my emotions instead of run from them. I am learning to trust myself, my choices, and my purpose here on earth. Although I have been in recovery for 35 months, I still struggle to keep my head above water, but I am also discovering that recovery is not the ‘end all be all’to my problems. Yes, it is a step in the right direction, but it will always require hard work on my end to keep this ship afloat.
We all struggle. Period. There is no way around that fact. Whether you are going through, or have been through a divorce, you lost someone close to you, you battle with mental illness, you are living paycheck to paycheck, you lost your job, or you feel lost and aren’t sure which path to take in life…we are all having to figure out what step is next with each day that we are given. Below are just a few of the things I picked up along the way while doing my best to make it through June. Maybe you can relate, or maybe you are not ready to learn certain truths. Regardless, hopefully the below can make you feel less alone, and a little more healed.
Getting Honest about the Blame I put on others
It can become an easy habit to fall into when we find ways to point blame at others for our shortcomings, irritated mood, or bad day. When I find myself assigning blame to someone else, I have to question my own actions first and make sure I am not doing this as a way to avoid whatever is truly bothering me. There are multiple examples I could give where I have allowed emotion from a prior situation to spill over into a new one; completely misguiding the rational part of me. When referring to deeper wounds, trauma, or abuse, we mustn’t allow the emotional intelligence (or lack thereof) of another person to keep us from healing. Understand that those who have caused you harm in any way were only able to act from the level in which they themselves are healthy. Do not hold yourself back because you are expecting an apology from another person. If you are constantly waiting around for others to take ownership of their faults, you are always going to fall victim to their imperfections. Instead of pointing blame, let’s instead, forgive others and ourselves for any pain we may have caused or have been subjected to.
Facing my emotions = Less Distractions
I have been very unaware of how much effort I put into distracting myself from my feelings. I am learning how to pay attention to my thoughts, and not allow them to dictate how I am feeling in that moment. I am beginning to notice just how often I am distracting myself from having to feel whatever is going on at the time. How often do you give yourself time to just be? Do you ever just take ten minutes to yourself to breathe? Very rarely am I able to do this for myself, and it takes a conscious effort to slow myself down. Understanding what I am feeling, and why I am feeling it is a challenge that I face daily. When I notice myself reaching for a distraction, whether that be with food, television, social media, or even a book, I ask myself what I am feeling, and try my best to categorize it. When we can trust our emotions, we can trust our choices, and that is the ultimate goal I am striving for.
Allow people to be who they are
We have no say in who people are, but we do have a say in the people that we keep around us. I no longer try to dictate or control the relationships in my life; emphasis on try. It can be hard to watch others either not live up to their potential, or become someone you no longer recognize. If you are anything like me, you spend a lot of energy convincing yourself that some people need your help in some way, and then you drain yourself of energy trying to show them the person you see for them. This is unfair to both you and that other person. Here is the good news: You are off the hook. This never was, or ever will be your task to complete. We have to let people be who they want to be and focus more on the person WE are becoming. We can only hope for others the best and wish them well on their journey. If someone has other ideas for the outcome of their life, let them learn what is wrong and what is right. You are only in charge of yourself.
“It is not my job to make others happy about themselves!”
This is a good follow up to the last one. Repeat after me: “I am under no obligation to be someone else’s reason for happiness!” The sooner we learn that happiness can only be created on the inside, the sooner we all start pursuing what makes US happy. We cannot please everyone, and nor should we try. Could you imagine how exhausting that would be? What kind of world would we live in if it was up to others to fill the happiness meter inside of us? It is everyone’s responsibility to find what works for them, and what they know can bring them out of a tough time. I know for me when I am experiencing one of my darker days, a trip to the gym, a phone call with a friend, or an hour of reading can remind me of what I am grateful for. I do not expect someone else to pick me up off the ground; that is my own job. I allow myself to feel what I need to feel and do my best to fill up my 'happiness tank' so I can move forward.
You cannot learn something until you are ready to learn it
Someone can write the lesson that you need to learn on a board in front of you, but you are not going to be able to learn it until you are ready to see it for what it is. Sometimes, we are not yet equipped to handle certain truths about ourselves, and our minds do a good job of putting off what is inevitable. We may even be well aware that we need to learn something, but we avoid addressing the problem because we either don’t want to let go, or we already know deep down what needs to change. This is scary for most people; me included. When we confront the parts of ourselves that are keeping us damaged, broken, or guarded, we are faced with deciding how we want to go about solving it. We are always ready to learn which areas of us need more attention; it is up to us to make the change that is needed in the betterment of our lives.
Thank you for reading. I appreciate you.