Each morning I roll out of bed rub my eyes, stumble to the kitchen, and, yes, still continue to question where I am at in life and what the future holds.
Like those of you reading this, each morning brings with it the turning of a page in the book of our existence. As each leaf is turned, it doesn’t always place perfectly on the other side; there’s the chance of a wrinkle, bend, tear, or fingerprint that reminds us of the date, time, and “where we were” when that moment of time presented itself. There isn’t a page in our presence that is ever exactly the same.
One of the toughest lessons I’ve had to learn in my life not only encompasses my illness and how far away from life it took me; it also has reminded me of how my ability to build, maintain, and enjoy the various relationships in my life is an issue intertwined with my illness.
I recently explained my climb to the top of a mountain a few months back. What I didn’t mention was the very reason for that journey to the “top of the world.” I was finally at a point in my life where I was willing to try anything; it felt right, I wanted to finally allow myself to feel what I knew had been fueling pain, insecurity, and doubt for over a year. I pulled the iPod from my backpack, turned on songs that reminded me of a past relationship, bringing about positive and negative memories. These songs I had either avoided or began to hate because of what had transpired during the last 12 months, but I knew something had to change. It was quiet at the top, the music was low, and I re-lived each moment, good and bad, and prayed to “let it all go.”
Although my aim that afternoon was to solely focus on one experience from my past, I realized something new after each step toward the bottom. Those feelings of hate towards those songs, memories, and feelings of not being “enough” were simply a lack of willingness on my part, to acknowledge my perspective on relationships (and life) was at root of that pain.
Now, I knew walking down that mountain that everything wasn’t going to be “perfect” and that memories and feelings would definitely still present themselves from time to time, but I hadn’t merely changed the way I perceived how things had gone in my past; I changed how I viewed myself entirely.
Why is it that we have to sometimes change just to be who we really are? When we are trying to be successful (personally or professionally) or trying to accomplish something in our life, it’s ironic that we never first look at what we are doing right and how great an idea it is, but instead we wonder what could be wrong with it and question our intentions entirely.
In searching for my “professional calling” or in pursuing my relationships, I’ve found that emotionally I continuously doubt whether I am “right” or “wrong,” whether I need to alter myself to be accepted by someone else, or focus on what’s needed to gather “what’s missing.” If we think about it, when a career-path presents itself or someone shows interest in us romantically, do we not sabotage any future if we begin to change the exact reason the interest was in-place for initially?
In the process of “Letting It All Go,” I am continuously realizing a deeper connection that by improving my life and the outlook on my life, I don’t need to change in order to accept myself, “warts and all;” instead, I WILL change myself by accepting myself.
The lack of good parenting skills, the unanswered telephone call, a passive-aggressive or dishonest email, having my heart broken, or the absence of a willingness to view an outside perspective are all issues I am realizing are underneath many current struggles. Interestingly enough, I am guilty of every past hurt I am mentioning here. It may sound hard to believe, but in my opinion patterns often do repeat themselves; but it’s how we choose to end or alter the pattern that counts.
People mature, they grow up and they understand and learn things that they had not previously been able to comprehend. We eventually develop a broader view on the better way to deal with things. But the heart of a person and the core of a person, I believe, never change.
Just because I was (and still am) ill, doesn’t mean I am broken.
I am not broken, I have nothing to be ashamed of and I am not changing; I’m simply accepting, and that’s just me. I happen to be different, I happen to not fit a stereotypical-mold, and THAT, in fact, is the ultimate in “Letting It All Go.”
We all eventually come back from our past and can begin our new future. We can feel the lessons of that tear, bend, wrinkly, or fingerprint left in our memory, but we can grow from it. That hypothetical fingerprint may have had us broken down, questioning how we would ever resuscitate a life we were afraid to face, but we can build ourselves back up again.
Maybe we didn’t do as much as we could have, and didn’t figure out what we should have, but holding onto the memory of “what was” or of “what might have been,” is not serving anyone, it ultimately stops us from feeling like we are enough when we progress towards our future.