"People spend a lifetime searching for happiness; looking for peace. They chase idle dreams and addictions, even other people, hoping to fill the emptiness that plagues them. The irony is the only place they ever needed to search was within." -Ramona L. Anderson
It’s 70 degree outside on an awesome fall November day. I’m sweating, a bit tired, gazing at an amazing North Dakota sunset with a million thoughts racing through my mind. Where in the heck is my life going? How could I have possibly lost four friends this past year? I’ve got to be insane to think I can find someone to help write my memoir and truly let the world know every detail of my life, about my illness and recovery. In addition to my job, I’ve got grad school, my new position with NEDA and personal relationships to build. “Troy…can you realistically envision yourself attaining these goals while you continue wading in the eating/exercise addict frame of mind?”
If all of your life’s ambitions and perceived dreams have not gotten you to a point in your life you wish to be at, there may be a missing tie; a relationship with yourself. Now, I firmly believe that not everyone (maybe no one?) will ever have their lives 100 percent figured out. In fact, this is what makes life so interesting. We imagine ourselves at a point in time relishing in a goal we have been working and/or waiting for. Yet, when that time comes, we often find ourselves somewhere different; we’ve veered off to a different point and wonder where things changed.
Once again, I have been introduced to some remarkable people since my last entry. It never ceases to amaze me that those who have struggled in their lives; whether it’s addiction, abuse, mental/physical illness or otherwise; the people who have endured the worst things imaginable are somehow the most compassionate, caring and genuine influences on God’s green earth. Two of the individuals I’ve met go way past making difficult choices in their lives. I honestly have never seen anyone move past such severe, traumatic and emotional hurts as they have. Their trick? They made a CHOICE to be happy and they made the CHOICE to get back up despite their circumstances. I want to have their mindsets; I admire their strength and their relationships more than anything. It’s funny, but with all they have been through, they still managed to counsel ME and say, “Troy, you just need to be okay with you.”
Life is good. Is it fantastic all of the time? No. I’ve accepted that we are all on a certain crossings in this life. At this point, I feel like my crossing and entire existence has been rearranged. I am made of something much tougher than I used to be; it protects what once was very vulnerable for nearly 20 years of my life. Time will tell in all that happens and what we endure as we go on in this life, but we are amazing individuals and YOU are an amazing individual. This isn’t because of what has happened in our lives, or how or when or why, but because we have simply continued on after its occurrence.
I can’t believe I am about to say this, but I’m finally beginning to be OKAY with compliments and encouragement, and I’m actually moving closer to the realization that things I have done, or will do, are important and “good enough.” Why? Because ME, MYSELF and I have made a CHOICE to accept that. It isn’t up to anyone else to tell me where I am on a pass/fail scale or explain how my words and/or actions construct my character.
Owning our choices is not always accomplished in a subtle way in our lives. It really is a refining process physically, spiritually and emotionally. Once you actually release beliefs you once held about personal choices, you may find that others around you have got to make a choice to either adjust to the new you or move on. Are we going to run into some people who give us pushback? Absolutely. However, when those individuals pose challenges, we know our choice is best for us and that’s all that truly matters. To reach stability, acknowledge that others have choices to make in their own lives. All others are not going to understand the new you. The distinction is that you now recognize that you are free to release those judgments, set-backs and relationships that may have held you down in the past.
Often times, once you start making choices for your own benefit, you find that it frees you from the pain, suffering, depression, guilt, fear, etc., that at one point held you back. Good things happen when we are free to make choices and free from the limitations we seem to have placed on ourselves due to the belief that those limitations are unavoidable.
Despite the intermittent racing thoughts, be assured through this process we can achieve great things. Despite not being at a place we once envisioned ourselves, we realize we have a choice in where we eventually end up. We can choose to be happy, healthy and full of life. Through the trials and tribulations that our crazy, complicated and stressful lives bring about we can choose our path and our responses to any experience we face. Understand that we don’t have to hold onto beliefs we once held if we no longer feel they are taking us where we wish.
I had to learn so much about this illness, how it affected me and my responses to it. The strength in all of this is realizing that we all have the potential to learn and grow, like it or not. When you start making choices on your behalf and you choose the outcome you truly want, there aren’t any closures in any selection, only openings.
The path to “The Three R’s” (as I have termed them) is one that is about you. First, it is realizing that you are in control of your life at every moment, even if you don’t seem to be where you envisioned. The relationships you surround yourself with make a marked influence in your personal well-being. Once you decide to make your own choices, not those of others, all relationships you have can become much healthier. Lastly, we come to the term roots. Anything that anyone struggles with in life has a core, a center, a root that must be identified in order to change and move past it. Interestingly enough, almost every issue in life has the same root: emotional hurt.
“The Three R’s” (again, as I have termed them) can become choices made by you to attain inner-growth, discover your own truth and exist with a sense of dignity inside of yourself that matches with what appears on the outside of yourself.