Imagine having something so valuable and then all of a sudden, it’s gone. Imagine this is something that money cannot buy.
Say, this is more of an accomplishment. Or, say this is something internal like an achievement that no one in the world thought you could manage yet you did.
Imagine the thoughts and the feelings that come when this is gone. Or more accurately, imagine this is something you gave away in a moment of haste.
Could you imagine?
This is a real thing in life. People give up on themselves all the time. People accept trades and settle for less than their worth. People quit. People can be impatient and when this happens, we often cut off our nose to spite our own face or shoot ourselves in the foot. This happens all the time.
How many times have you heard the question, “How does someone let it get that bad?” Of course, the emphasis on “it” can vary. In this case, the word “it” can mean literally anything. This could be a struggle with body weight. This could be a struggle with relationships. This could be about a situation in which we’ve fallen too deeply. You look around and think about the situation you’re in and you ask yourself, “How the hell did this happen?”
Keep in mind, there are accidents and then there are accidents that aren’t so accidental.
Also, understand that we are an interesting breed in which we often set ourselves up for our own failures or as other principles suggest, we rise to the levels of our own incompetence.
We can often become the sum of our thoughts and a display of our feelings and emotions. It is easy to say something; however, it’s impossible to unsay something. There are times when I have said things. There are fights in which I’ve hit below the belt and I am sure I am not alone with this.
Of course, anger has a way of unleashing our tongue. At the moment, we argue like two countries at war. Each word is like a heat-seeking missile set to detonate and destroy.
And then what?
Then comes the aftermath. Then comes the devastation and the regret. Then comes the collateral damage and the cleanup which can sometimes be too messy or irreparable.
There’s a suggestion to think things through. Think before you speak (or act).
Think, think, think is something that I was told. Think your actions through. If you don’t know what to do, then don’t do anything. At least, not right away. The answer will come to you. Give it a second. Watch out for emotional responses.
In the pits of our despair or when our thoughts become problematic or troublesome – and when we are not at our best, it is easy to misstep or make mistakes or say something we wish we hadn’t. But yet, we do. Maybe we continue this and ask ourselves, “When am I gonna learn?”
I worked in a life that taught me to measure twice and cut once.
Think about this. There’s a simple significance to why I bring this up. However, I have seen what haste does. I have seen what frustration does. I have seen what depressive thinking does to our decision making ability and thus, I have seen what anxiety does to our thought process.
Rather than measure twice and cut once; I have seen people cut a board three times and it was still too short – understand?
I have a shirt which reads 5 out of 4 people are bad at math. I love this shirt for several reasons. One is because I was never good at math. Two is because I see this shirt as a representation of inaccurate thinking. I see this shirt as a connection to us and our thinking errors.
The third reason I love this shirt is because it shows how easily words can trick the mind and something inaccurate can be seen as a notable fact.
Our personal math is important.
We are always calculating. We are always adding and subtracting and, yes, we often divide as well as multiply.
Our math is our worth. This is our value. This is more than basic addition or subtraction. This is the way we calculate the figures in our mind and come to conclusions. Sometimes, our math is inaccurate. Often, our thinking errors can lead to miscalculations.
We subtract from our worth. We divide from our true selves. We add the characters of our fears and the sum of our doubts which add like negative numbers and put us in loss columns.
As a kid, I was never much for math class but what I do remember is the saying, “A negative times a negative equals a positive.” But when you multiply a negative by a positive, the product is always negative.
Now, this is not a math lesson per se. This is more about us and the way we add the sum of our thoughts or multiply the doubts in our head, which results in the product of our behavior.
I am saying that our math can be inaccurate. I am saying that we are capable of inaccurate estimates. I am saying that we add wrong and that when we miscalculate, we assume that our math is correct.
I have never been good with finding the coefficient of x, y, or z.
I have never been good with algebra, geometry, calculus, nor have I ever taken an advanced mathematics class. However, I can say that I have met brilliant people with brilliant minds, both mathematical and otherwise. Yet, the inaccuracies of personal math can even lead the smartest person astray.
Today is a day that brings me back to a decision I made 31 years ago. This is when I found myself in the pit of my aftermath. With nowhere left to fall and no place to turn and no one else to blame, I found myself on the other side of a poor decision. I was in the dark. I was sick again.
In the midst of my thoughts and fears or my doubts and emotions, I made a choice to give away my value. In my discomfort, I did not know what I was worth. So, I went back to a cheap fix.
This is where the division came in.
I did not know the difference between my face value or my place value, in which I mean, I was lost in the superficial ideas of face values and given to my inaccuracies, I never noticed my place value, which is the value of my every number. And I truly am a number of different things.
They say Value = Face Value x Place Value. And like I said, I’ve never been good at math, especially my own.
I had to learn how to add up otherwise, I would only subtract from my worth and further divide me from my hopes and my dreams. I was lost to the inaccuracies of unknown numbers and misassumed facts, which I used in my personal math.
The one thing I know is that if one number is off then the equation is wrong. Therefore, I had to find a way to simplify my personal math. To note this simply, I came to the understanding that I am always the square root to my own equation.
I have said this to you before and perhaps I say this too often. However, in my case, perhaps I don’t say this enough.
In order for me to keep my sanity, I need to simplify my math and follow the steps. Otherwise, it’s like I’m back in “the special” class in eighth grade and thinking that I’m too stupid to get it.
What happens when we add or multiply the people in our life who are not healthy for us? What happens when we add or multiply our poorly made decisions or, in other words, what happens when we add up the things we know we’re not supposed to do (yet, we still do them)?
What happens when we add our fears? What happens when we multiply our insecurities and assumptions?
I made a decision to leap into the world of mental health and mental health advocacy for the simple reason that our mental health is a math equation. And me, I know what it’s like to be stuck without a good calculator.
Today is a day that links back into the depths of my emotional history. Today is the day that I stripped myself down to the sum of one.
It was here that I had to learn to build and add. I had to learn to produce and find my worth. I had to understand that I am worth more than the sum of my fears.
I gave away my value because at the moment, I believed I was worthless. I submitted to my assumptions because I believed in my insecurities. As a means to “feel better” I went back to an old source of comfort that divided me from my truth and my worth.
See, the mind does not really forget. The mind remembers pathways of thinking and unless the mind is given a distraction or replacement, the mind is still thirsty or hungry.
To put this entry to rest, I was both hungry and thirsty. In fact, I was starving for an answer and thirsting for hope. But at the time, I was otherwise hopeless.
I allowed my math to take me away from my true value and as a result, I traded myself for a cheap fix which led me to forfeit my commitment to this thing I called my sobriety.
We often complicate our math and fail to simplify our worth. I know I did. However, in the pit of my aftermath, there was no one there but me. I saw my reflection in the mirror. I saw what I had done and how I traded myself (or settled) for a much lower value.
Truly, I say that a person who understands their worth and knows their value is not swayed by outside opinions or inaccurate assumptions.
I’ve never been a mathematician but for the last 31 years, one day at a time, I have come to the understanding that I am one. I am the square root to my own equation. Though my math is not always perfect, at least I know the value of one: Me.
April 1, 1991 was the last time I used a recreational substance.
It’s because I know my value.
It’s because I’m worth more.
And so are you.