When the Eyes Open

More and more, I think the farther I move away from my former self, the more I realize that I am more than who I ever thought I could be. I am more than my surroundings. My eyes are open now; or better yet, maybe I’m not afraid to see anymore. Maybe I’ve given myself the permission to move on. I have gone beyond the crossroads and come to the understanding that I am more powerful than the influence of my environment. I can change. I can improve. I can say goodbye and walk away. I can learn new things and choose a new life.
The more I grow as a person, the more I realize that this is all within my grasp. I do not have to submit or allow myself to be overrun by circumstances. There is no law that says I have to be defined by my situations. It’s true. In fact, if ever there is a miracle it is the day we realize our own abilities to walk away.

On the day of one of my biggest changes, I found myself in a new atmosphere. I was alone, but not lonely. It was clear that my new agenda did not coincide with others, which was fine. Above all, this taught me who was true to me. This showed evidence to those who were friends out of convenience, or proximity and opportunity. But more, this showed me who truly cared about me as a person.
A true friend is the person who will introduce you to your true self. This is the person who will help you cut through the dilutions and insecurity—and patiently, this is the person who will introduce you to your abilities and they will celebrate them as if your victories are their own. There’s no envy or jealousy, just joy, just happiness that says “Yeah! You made it.”
This is a true friend.

It is funny how people succeed or advance their careers to the next level and almost systematically, there is always someone around just waiting to see them fall.
There is always someone cheering for the adversity to be overwhelming, which is not to say this is about the success of anyone else. Instead, this is about them and their own inabilities to dare or try.

Now, slightly unrelated, I remember an older friend of mine whose idea of a dope fiend (a drug addict) and an alcoholic went something like this: “The difference between a dope fiend and an alcoholic is they might both steal your wallet if they need to, but a dope fiend will help you find it.”
I say that this is only loosely related because this is not about recovery; but more, this about the people that we choose to include in our lives. This is about people who cheer us on; yet secretly, they’ll look to trip us and watch us fall—only to be there and nurse us back to health as if they cared.

I have seen this happen. I have seen the crabs in the bucket theory proved more times than once. I have watched people pull at the legs of those who look to climb out of their environment; only to keep them down so that they don’t ever rise above again. I have seen people wish others well through their mouths with crossed fingers behind their backs.
I can say the world loves a good success story. And we’ve seen this happen. But the world also loves controversy. We’ve seen this happen too. We’ve seen people fall from grace and meanwhile, there are people who gossip and rumor reporters who are standing by at the scene, pointing at the Karma-clock and telling everyone “See? I knew they were full of it!”

The most amazing realizations that we ever come to—or better yet, the most meaningful realizations we come to are the ones we come to on our own. This is when our eyes open. This is when we make a true connection in our thinking.
We can give ourselves the range to update our thinking errors. We can remove ourselves from the inaccurate calculations that we’ve tried to add up but in the end, the math never seems to come out right.
We can stop this, right now. We can choose to subtract ourselves so that nothing divides us anymore. We can add and we can multiply. We can allow this at any time. We just have to open our eyes.

There is an unmistakable change that occurs when we choose to stand on our own. Something powerful happens when we choose us rather than to succumb to the voices of the crowd.
The worry, the anguish, the anxiety and insecurity can take a rest and for the first time; if we give ourselves the permission, we can rise above, stand tall, improve and go left or right.
We can collect our personal data and challenge our past assumptions. But more importantly, at the end of the day, we can come to a constructive conclusion and choose what’s best.

Life is not meant to be lived the same as everybody else. And yes, there will be people who differ. There are people whose amazing talents can set them apart from the rest. There are people who are tall and people who have less of a reach. There are people of different sizes with different shapes and yet somehow, our past thinking allowed us to be seen as better or less than.

The feeling of freedom comes when the need is finished. When the interpersonal habits are broken and the dependencies are gone; this is when we are free.
When we let go of our limitations and accept our abilities to nurture them. This is when we start to grow.
When we walk away from the constant need for validation and find acceptance within ourselves and when we stop the thirst for attention because the lack thereof leads us to rejective thinking; then when we are free.

When we learn to utilize our benefits and when we learn to understand who to confide in, we can find ourselves on the verge of personal empowerment. This is what freedom feels like. No limits. No thoughts about others or their approval. No more games. No more banter, back and forth or sarcasm. No more passive/aggressive digs.
It’s all over.

To me, I found my freedom in a very small, select group of people who saw me at my worst and reminded me of my best. I learned how to differentiate between acquaintances and true friends. I learned the value of mutually beneficial and reciprocal relationships. But more, I learned there were people who care and people who don’t.
I came to the understanding that there are people who listen because they care; there are those who do not care at all and also, there are people who listen to your problems, only because they’re happy your problems are not theirs.

The kind of person I want to be is the one who inspires and encourages. I want to be the person who can keep a secret, even if the relationship is over. Even if the fallout is tragic, the kind of dignity I want in my life is to be the one who holds to my word. And as such, these are the friends that I look to have in my life.
I choose loyalty like this because loyalty improves value and since I am my first, most precious investment, I choose to invest wisely. Otherwise, I might lose my worth.

When I came to a turning point, I walked away from the sarcastic pokes and backhanded comments. After all I have lived through and all that I have seen, felt or experienced, I came to a moment of realization.
I updated my thinking to improve my thinking errors. I allowed myself the freedom to change my direction and when I looked back—I was on my own. But when I looked to my side and when I looked ahead, I saw the most heartfelt and heartwarming smiles. I arrived at an improved level of awareness and learned that I was never really alone.
I only thought I was. My true friends were with me all the while.

Today is November 14, 2021.
It is morning where I am now. The sky is blue and the sun is bright but there is no warmth in the air—at least not right now. There is frost on the ground and on the windows. The heat is moving through the radiators and I am warm. Then again, I suppose warmth is relative. I suppose I was coldest when I found myself in the heat of the crowd. But not anymore.
The crowd is gone now. The need for them is gone as well. I’ve changed my habits. I’ve updated my thinking and to the best of my recollection, I have never felt as warm as I do right now.

My eyes are open.

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