"We've got to approach that problem or boulder in our lives, acknowledge its existence and realize it's not worth trying to carry it in moving forward. We need to find the tools life offers us, utilize their purpose, and break through." - T.R.
Have you ever woke on a particular morning with the conclusion, “I have absolutely no idea why I feel the way I do. I know what I am feeling, but I just don’t know where it is coming from.” I have, and do, fairly often. After 17 months of recovery I feel that I am a complete “open book” in terms of my inner demons, struggles, and insecurities. However, the struggles and “surface issues” (exercise, self-doubt, perfectionism, etc.,) continue to be an ever-present challenge in my life.
We often try to make ourselves believe that until we are able to call ourselves “all-better,” we cannot accept ourselves, regardless of what we have been through or celebrate all of our smaller victories. In reflecting on past blogs, I’ve mentioned that healthy exercise is regarded as a “want to” and not a "have to." Well, in terms of finding out what keeps us struggling, we become too focused on resolving absolutely everything that has ever gone on in our lives. Unfortunate, too, is that we perceive that until everything has been figured out, we have no reason to be happy, or believe that we are "good enough.” Is there inconsistency in this thought process? I think so. Until we feel able to accept ourselves completely, progress is not going to begin taking place.
Now, I don’t have anywhere near all of the answers to life’s struggles. Heck, I don’t possess half the knowledge about the struggles I encounter; but I have forced myself to accept some tough conclusions about a few things. I try day-in and day-out to grasp hold of these conclusions even if my blogs and my “in-the-moment” life struggles steer my recovery path differently. Healing must begin with the thought that we are enough, even with all of the baggage and unresolved problems. Guilt is a horrible thing and I’ve found it often accompanies the many emotional struggles we all encounter in the many facets of our lives. What happens when we allow guilt to control our struggle and emotional states? Hard as we may try, although well-intentioned, we cannot battle the emotional wounds and guilt within ourselves at the same time. This tiresome process actually causes us to attack both the problem and ourselves simultaneously.
How many of you hear comments, compliments and kudos on how well you are doing, how proud someone is of you or how great your personality is? Isn’t it funny how the first thought that runs through the majority of our minds is, “What in the world are they talking about? I didn’t deserve that. I don’t possess what they are telling me.” I’ve been instructed that someone, a group of people or an entire organization can try to tell you that pigs do in-fact fly until they are blue in the face. But until we believe that statement internally, you aren’t making progress. And as hard as this particular concept has been to swallow, I’ve had to hear from my support team, friends and family time and time again that, "You're completely fine, just the way that you are.”
Think about it, we all know it makes no sense to work on deep issues with a drug addict, an eating disorder sufferer, or abuse victim, while they are high, actively engaged in behaviors or still being subjected to the abuse. Their mental state is too compromised to do meaningful groundwork, and the therapy work would drive attention away from obvious problems: the drug use, compulsive behaviors, and present abuse. We need to be in a healthy spot to start some of the toughest work that lies ahead. Why? We cannot think rationally or process emotional information accurately while our thoughts and attention are elsewhere and not focused on what is most important in the moment: us.
I’ve believed that if I tried a little harder, dug a little deeper, or steered more on the right track, I would become healthier more quickly and feel this enormous weight off my shoulders. The truth is, the burden off my shoulders isn’t going to just slide itself off. I’m going to have to continue the grunt work, chip away at each layer (whatever they may be) and remain positive despite setbacks.
We’re told throughout life that if we want to make our lives better, we need to WANT to change. Well, I surely want relief, as I am sure everyone else does, too. But simply telling someone to want recovery can force them to blame themselves when they do not recover in the timeframe they perceive as “acceptable.” Not all of us have dark secrets or major conflict to work through. Many of us simply need to work on our communication skills, relationships, low self-esteem, perfectionism, or unhealthy core beliefs. Regardless of the nature of your issues, to heal fully and maintain a lasting recovery you must believe in YOU.
Summing up this entry I’d like you to focus on one thing: YOU.
If you are struggling to discover hidden hurts or struggles and feel like giving up, keep fighting. You're an amazing, uplifting individual and deserve better than the situation you may be in. Readers and sufferers alike that I’ve encountered are absolutely inspiring. When we look around our society on a daily basis, we find many things that make life so hard, difficult to accept that God is ever-present or even the ability to discover positives from our small victories.
Don’t try to emulate something you are not. We all know copies don’t shine like originals. Society forces opposite beliefs; to feel less than everyone else, less than human, or a mistake in God's eyes. You, by yourself, as an individual, break that mold. People in my life (i.e. you, family, friends, and peers) have shown we can be productive in society, leaders, a light, or a beacon for all to look to. It’s an unbelievable feeling to know that we can find purpose; happiness and commonalities we never thought existed specifically for us. I pray that each and every one of you will discover, tune into, and utilize what makes you inimitable.
"Be confident in your abilities each day, every day. Be strong in your convictions and remain unaffected by rumors that may taint people's perception of you. Don't act on strong, in-the-moment, and powerful emotions. Instead, boldly utilize the opportunity for change they inspire."