Part of going through this journey to enlightenment and self improvement is self reflection. This is by far the hardest part about growth; examining yourself, not just the good things, but the bad things. I am not proud of who I was… at all. I am seeing myself for what I was, a negative person who was a victim of my own circumstances. It’s hard being brutally honest with ourselves, but necessary. I was a bad person to be around, I always had something going wrong in my life, mainly my marriage, or something dramatic was happening. It wasn’t because of outside circumstances like I thought it was, it was actually because of me, the choices I was making, and the people I was associating myself with. I am now seeing that many people today are in the same boat that I was in. I was putting holes into my own ship, and wondering why it was sinking. Yes, I do suffer from depression, anxiety, and PTSD. But my mental illness wasn’t what was causing me to have the problems I was having. The problems I was experiencing were my fault.
Here is the thing, we can’t control what happens to us in our lives, but we can control how we react. This, right here, is all the power you need to take control of your life. I am sharing my experience in hopes that I can help anyone else who is going through something similar.
Have problems in your marriage or relationship? I guarantee that those problems can all be solved by how you react, or by how you choose to handle the situation. Let me give you an example. If you are unhappy in your relationship, and it is the same recurring problems, instead of constantly wallowing in your misery over what is happening, ask yourself what you can do to change it. If you can’t change it, and it is something that the other person is doing (repeatedly), then it’s time to walk away from that relationship. If you CHOOSE not to walk away, or choose not to change the circumstances that are within your control (walking away is one of them) you can’t expect the outcome to change. You can’t expect to feel any better about the situation, if the outcome remains the same. I know it’s hard to walk away from people that we love, but if someone is toxic, it’s time to stop making excuses and start taking action. Chances are you are both toxic in your own way.
I am giving this as an example because I had problems in my marriage. I felt unhappy in my marriage. It’s a very long and personal story, but to keep it short, all of what was happening on my end was in my control. Once I was able to take responsibility for what I was doing wrong, things started to get better. One day I woke up and I realized, if I wasn’t that happy, I should just leave, or actually work on it. Shit, or get off the pot. I wasn’t going to sit there and do the same thing over and over and expect to feel happier, or for things to change. Life doesn’t work that way. You want results, you must take action. Today I can honestly say that I am happily married, after seven years of marriage. We both worked together to make things happen, and I couldn’t be happier that we did. It wasn’t easy, but it has worked beautifully. Let me just say that my marriage has survived A LOT. Affairs included, on both of our behalves. I won’t get into much detail because I am choosing to keep that part of my life private. Those closest to me know details, but that is all who needs to know right now.
I was full of excuses before. Tons of them. I still am. But I am working toward getting rid of them, because excuses are USELESS. We all have excuses, we all have obstacles that hold us back. Those excuses are what we create, and almost ANY obstacle can be overcome. You can take control over your life, and your circumstances, you just have to stop making excuses, and examine YOURSELF and stop putting the blame onto everyone else. I had to stop being reactive, and start being proactive. I had to stop making excuses, and start coming up with solutions.
I had to examine myself. I had to look deep within and see what I was doing wrong. I was so incredibly negative. I had become completely addicted to negative thought patterns, negative habits, negative situations, etc. It was almost as if I were to let certain things go, I was going to have to find something better to do with my time and my life. I say this because the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I liked the drama. It makes me sick to think about, because I felt so miserable back then. But I enjoyed feeling like crap. I say this because I wasn’t actively doing anything to change the situation I was in, or how I was feeling. In a way, if I let go of all of the negative baggage, what would I have to feel bad about? My life would be boring! I wouldn’t have anything to complain about, and I would have to stop feeling sorry for myself.
I feel bad for the people I love, my friends especially for having to deal with how completely melodramatic and negative I was. How much I thrived on my own drama. I was a bad friend. I was selfish and self absorbed. I was the protagonist to my own soap opera, only to realize the entire time I was the antagonist. To my friends, if you are reading this, and perhaps you will, I am truly sorry. I am sorry for not being a better friend, and for always bringing negativity into our circle with problems that I could have easily solved.
Once I was able to identify that I was the source of my own misery, I was able to start to change it. I asked myself why I was unhappy, and what it was that I needed to do to fix it. So much of my unhappiness was because of MYSELF. Not anyone else around me, but me! After taking responsibility, things started to get better because I started to change. Change starts inside of ourselves. Change isn’t easy. It’s incredibly difficult, painful, uncomfortable, but possible and completely worth it. We have so much more power and control over our own lives than what we would like to admit, or notice. It’s safe to say that I thoroughly ENJOY my happy, ‘boring’ life.
It’s not always butterflies, rainbows, and unicorns, but it’s progress. Negativity exists in our world, no doubt about it. It’s addictive. The thought patterns, habits, news stories, hell, even the feelings. However, negativity isn’t something I want in my life, and if I don’t want it there, it doesn’t have to be! Remember, we have control over our lives. Do not be a victim of your own circumstances. I am not perfect, and never will be. But I am improving, and will continue to try and live to my highest good. It’s a process, and a journey that I am happy to be on. Happiness is a choice.