Somewhere within us all is a reservoir. This is an untapped resource and we search for this. We look to find this source of energy in other people, places or things. We look to each other; as if someone else can give us this wellspring and somehow quench our thirst or fix the broken features of our lives. And the truth is we all want to be whole. We want to be satisfied. We want to be good and more than anything, we want to be justified in the eyes of the world and of ourselves.
There is a journey that we all take. Our steps are different. Our geography is different and our landscapes are not the same. Yet, as we walk along, we find ourselves searching for something familiar. We look for things that make sense; and we choose people who make sense. We look to keep certain people in our lives because they connect somehow to our personal mathematics. Whether the reasons why people make sense are psychological or this is because of the imprinting of our upbringing or from the messages we’ve received and processed throughout our lives; we are an extension of our experiences, our lessons, our losses, our ups and downs, and our emotional reactions that chemically take place in our minds. We can feel this, by the way. We can literally feel all of this.
The idea of us being a prisoner to the mind is true. We are the prison. We are the warden. We are the captor, and yet, we are the liberators as well. We look for something or someone to set us free. We look to our resources or to the ideas that perhaps love might find us and that someday, love will help us answer the unanswerable questions of our past. We look for the answers with hopes to justify our pasts and our pains. There has to be a reason. There must be a reason.
It is not me or you. It is not me and you. It is me. It is you. And between us are a million different ideas and thoughts, opinions, emotions and feelings. Between us are the interpretations of experience and opinions. Between us, there is history and the lack thereof. There is me with my misunderstandings and you with your misperceptions. Together, all we are trying to do in this world is figure out the best placement for ourselves.
Where do we fit?
Where should we go? What should we do?
What should we eat? How should we speak or think?
How do we dress?
What part do we play in this act?
The world itself is a quandary; it is filled with complexities and uncertainties. The world is filled with highs and lows, ups and downs, tragedies and satisfactions. It is ugly and beautiful and yes, there is beauty in everything. Believe me there is. There is so much out there in this world and yet, the most divine and useful resource is also the most untapped and unexplored.
This is you. This is me.
There is a piece inside of us, which is overflowing with all that we need. This is our source; this is our true energy, which we have, yet, we often trade ourselves away because we often misunderstand our worth.
There are pitfalls in life. They come with names such as envy or jealousy. These are distractions that blur our vision. This is where we lose our balance. The fears, the worries and the concerns that we will lose, that we will be forgotten or excused, or more, this is the worry that someone does not see us as enough or want us; and thus we find ourselves rejected.
Imagine what your level of energy would be if fear was no longer part of the equation. What would your level of energy be like if there were no such things as irrational fears or anxiety? Imagine life without the impact of the inner critic or the overly critical internal monologue. What would our energy level be like if there was less concern about life beyond your control? You could open the door to an entirely new existence this way. Imagine what life would be like if the focus was on our efforts instead of the outcomes. Rather than be dependent upon people, places or things; what would life be like if we were to find balance on our own without the use or the addiction to outside remedies?
See, my point is very simple.
There is a river of wealth inside of you. There is love. There are hopes and dreams. There is passion and purpose, direction, and desire—which, for some reason, we have been trained to look for an outside source to open this door. We have been trained by societal programming that tells us, “This is love,” or “This is success,” and that unless we find this, we are left in search of something that has always been within us. But yet, we never knew.
It’s not what you wear or what you drive. It is not your home address or your position at work or if you work at all—the secret to your life is inside of you. This great big resource—this well of hope and enlightenment is in you. And to be clear, I used to laugh about this. I used to laugh at people who spoke about spirituality or personal balance. I’d shake my head and go back to my own levels of toxicity. I’d go back to my aggression and to my anger, my envy, my jealousy, my fears, my blame and my guilt — and I’d go back to my reasons for shame and regret. I would sneer at people who would tell me about my untapped potential. I would see people on different levels of better-than or less than. I’d see people as smart, not smart, wealthy, poor, desirable or lacking. I was caught up in the papers on the wall; otherwise known as diplomas—and I would give into the ranks of social snobbery and lose myself in the comparison to others.
I would see myself and my art (or my words) and find myself as too raw—or too unpolished. And who wants that? Who would listen? Or who would care?
See that? Do you see how this goes external and degrades the internal? I was never enough. Nothing was ever enough. There was always something off or imbalanced. There was always something uneven or unfair. For the life of me, I never knew that it was me. I was the most unfair.
I had been looking for so long to find someone or something to unlock the door. I spent so much time investing in resources that were not supportive to my goals. I found myself lost. I was in a spiral, which is more than addiction. This is more than social anxiety and depression. This is more than Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD) or Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) or the long list of other labels (including Emotionally Disturbed) which were given to me since I was a young boy. This goes beyond my learning disabilities that were undiagnosed and unaddressed; and therefore, I acted out. I followed a path of self-destruction. But why? If I had all of this wealth and I had all of this potential and possibilities; why would I forfeit them and sink into the degradation of quitting on myself?
I had spent nearly all of my life, believing that there was something missing.
And there was. It was me.
I like me now.
In fact, I love me.
And this has taken me decades to learn.
I would not wish my path on anyone nor would I wish my pain on them or my feelings of desperation or the emptiness or the worries that I am somehow lacking or less than. But I’m not there anymore. I grew up with this. I grew up with the inaccurate mindset that somehow, there was something faulty about me. But I am not faulty. I am not depression or anxiety or addiction or anything else of the sort.
My name is Ben. I am me.
You are you.
And this is perfect.
I want you to be better at whatever it is you choose to be better at. I want you to be the best you can possibly be and believe me, no matter what you choose, I will be proud. I want you to find your life and not the life people tell you to have or the life you think you should’ve had.
I want you to have peace at heart. I want you to realize your own resources. Know yourself. Know what you can do, which is far more than you can possibly imagine.
Make this you. Be your own person.
Make this world belong to you and only share with whomever you choose to. Be advised, this is everything, and yet, this is nothing to anyone else. This is only you. So treat yourself with care.
You are the best person I have ever seen in my life. You are better than anything I have ever been. Everything you do. All of your choices and all of your days are part of something so big and incredible.
I just want you to see this.
I want you to know it.
I want you to feel it
be inspired by who you are
not by me
or by anyone else
but by you.
Because to me, you are the most incredible thing in this world.