I Found (It!) – Entry Thirty

Now that we have found ourselves past the doorway and entering the ideas of change, it is time to ask ourselves a simple yet very important question.
Do you love your life?
Of course, as simple as this question is, the answer itself is not always so simple. Better yet, what does this even mean?
Does this mean that we love everything that happens to us? Do we accept the good with the bad?
Or, does this mean that regardless of what happens and regardless of the challenges we face, or regardless of bad news or good news; no matter what happens, does this mean that we sincerely love the life we’ve created?

This is an important question because although we usually pay attention to our physical selves, our emotional fitness and mental health is just as important as our physical health. 

Years ago, there was a young girl who used to visit my workplace. The girl was related to a coworker and she would often visit with a smile. To her, her life was plain and ordinary. She seldom saw the good in herself and often lost to the comparison of her friends whom she believed were more attractive or desirable.
I was never quite sure how our conversations began or how this developed. Maybe this was something she said that opened the doorway to our talks. Maybe this was a simple fact that she felt comfortable or maybe this was only a trigger in my perception and this was more about me than it was about her.
Or, maybe we were two people in the right place at the right time and, for the moment, there was nothing to interrupt our talks.

There is one visit that stands out in my mind. This is when the young girl vocally admitted that she did not “feel” pretty and that as she saw it, her friends were all better looking. They were in better shape. They had better figures and that more boys noticed them than her.
She questioned her own beauty to which I offered a small, but helpful suggestion. I recommended an observation when looking around and comparing ourselves to other people.

No matter how pretty someone is on the outside, if they are ugly on the inside then they can only be average at best. “And trust me,” I advised, “There is nothing average about you!”

Perhaps this is more about something in me than this is about a young girl or “person” in this world who failed to see their own beauty. Perhaps this is about the need I’ve always had for validation and/or acceptance and my desire to receive attention.
I detail this both honestly and with all humility because this is true. There is a piece of me that fears being ignored and unwanted or not included and uninvited.
Perhaps this is why I always looked for validation in ways that were fleeting or short lived – and in the end, perhaps this is the birthing ground of my character flaws and where my shortcomings began to grow.

My list of shortcomings or failures, or my list of moments where my conduct was poor or my better judgment was interrupted by cognitive traps and, yes, my list of thinking errors is long. Yes, like you or like anyone else, I have made mistakes.
I have blurred boundaries. I have sought relief through selfish needs and allowed myself to indulge or find comfort in quick fixes. I have submitted to moments where the need to feel better outweighed the common order to maintain a moral competency. I admit it.

I have cheated and lied and manipulated and coerced. I have given into thoughts that were less than helpful and all the while, as crazy as this sounds – my only goal was to either improve or make my life more favorable.
But why?
Why would I look at myself and see me as imperfect or unwantable? Why would I assume that I am challenged? Or why would I be like 75% of the world and struggle with the difficulties that come with Imposter Syndrome?

Where does something like this come from?
Is this where the internal narcissist is born?

Perhaps this is so.
Is this where our selfishness to feel something (even if only for a minute) comes along and for a while we can create a fantasy and achieve gratification – even if this comes at the risk of someone else; or better yet, even if this comes at the risk of someone we love. Is this why we defy our better judgments?

It would be inaccurate to say that we are always at our best. It would also be inaccurate to think that is not human. Therefore, it would be true that we all have our moments of poor decisions.
We’ve all taken advantage at one point or another. We have all sought through a less-than-innocent adventure to find a thrill or seek a moment of fulfillment or enjoyment. 
We’ve all done something; although whatever this might be, we’ve all done something that was unfair or unfortunate.

Look at it this way:
We all have our character flaws and shortcomings. Dare I say this, but we’ve all had a closet or two that has been filled with skeletons – so-to-speak. We all have moments of shame or mistakes in our past which stand out in our mind. Therefore, without removing the remnants or the guilt and shame of these pasts, it is nearly impossible to create a new future. 

Forgiveness . . .
Even if no one else will forgive or forget, we have to find this within ourselves to both forgive and pardon ourselves from the remnants of our past.

Above all things, doubt is the real killer.
Thus, if we doubt ourselves or if we doubt our possibilities; if we doubt the life we want to have could ever be a reality, then we tend to look to settle for the next best thing. Therefore, we settle.
We settle because having something is better than having nothing, right?
Having a life that is not suitable or matching our dreams becomes degrading. This leads towards an ongoing or chronic resentment where we seem to be angry at the world. But in reality, we are angry at ourselves for accepting the trade. We’re pissed because although we wanted more, we settled for less because we never believed that getting more was possible.

I have worked more of my life than played. In all fairness, I am closer to the end than I am the beginning. I am not young nor am I so old that I do not understand the humor in childish things.
I am still breathing and still kicking. However, there are times when I do see the brilliance and convenience of Velcro shoes. (Just kidding . . .)

As of yet, I have not lost my hair but I’ve noticed several of the gray ones. I do not believe that I appear as a person who is about to face my 50th birthday. But, there are times when I want to stand or I want my body to move or bend; and it is at times like this – I can see that I am not as young as I used to be.

At this time, I am a person who is employed. I work long hours and at more than one job. I have my original career. I was/am and will always be a proud union member. Plus, I write articles for a labor publication. I write my journals. I am a professional life coach as well as a recovery advocate and a content creator for personal wellness and corporate wellbeing initiatives. Safe to say that I have a full plate. Then again, we all have a full plate.

I qualify this in order to detail my reasons for this journal as well as all of my journals. It is agreed that I am a person who is in need of change. I have grown in many ways but this does not exclude me from growing in the future nor does this exclude me from realizing what happens when I do not maintain my personal life. Nor does this mean I have not made poor choices and bad decisions. (Trust me, I’m really good at this!)

I worked with a man who was someone that started at his position when he was young. His sentiment back then was that he would work this job until he figured out what he wanted to do with his life.
He was young at the time and on the verge of being married. This was before having a mortgage and before children. He recently retired and never changed jobs or found out what he wanted to be when he grew up.

I suppose the biggest lesson (or the greatest takeaway) from this man’s experience is that temporary things can often become permanent.
He settled. While there were times when this man outgrew his position and there were times when management began to dictate his happiness, his resentfulness grew because he never dared to take the steps to be who he really wanted to be.

Here’s another question: When do our defects of character arise?
Is this when we are happy or at our best? Or, is this when we are experiencing an internal struggle or fear; therefore, in an effort to honor our worries, we react. We respond. We perform in-kind and as we move into the depths of our regretfulness, we seldom see where the source of our behavior originates. 

Again: Doubt is the real killer.

This is what questions everything. This is why we question people or their intentions. This is why we expect the worst. This is why we prepare for betrayals or place ourselves in unsafe environments. This is why we act inappropriately – because at the moment, we have been weakened by the ideas of doubt.

I once sat in a room with a person who detailed their home life. They detailed what happened to them. The details were unforgivable.
I have sat with people who have been convicted of crimes and people who have committed unthinkable and inappropriate acts in which, to them, forgiveness was impossible.

So why change?
Or, for the person who experienced the wrongdoings, why forgive?

I heard a mother plead with her son about his drug use. She asked if she did something wrong or if she was the reason why he pushed needles in his arm. Do you even love me, she asked.
Of course, I love you.
Her son explained that he was sick; that he could not shake this and that although he knows the difference between right and wrong – but he cannot seem to straighten out.
I have recorded this before and with this topic being important to me, I often classify our unhealthy patterns and habits as a self-destructive response disorder. We are responders to the unfortunate and unfavorableness of our life.

Once more unto the breach – which means let’s try this one more time. This comes from King Henry trying to encourage his soldiers before launching an attack.
This was also said by Winston Churchill. “Once more into the breach, dear friends.” 

We are all facing a battle of some kind; however, more than the battle are the remnants of personal wars. This is where we harvest our scars that keep us reminded of the pains we’ve faced. 

We all have our share of embarrassing or humiliating secrets. We all have moments of doubt and shame. We’ve all settled at one point or another but in order for us to love ourselves and dare I say it, to love our life, we have to let go of this. We have to remove ourselves from the wrongs and wrongdoings of our past. This way we can see a better future. This way we can love ourselves, our life and our future.

This way, we can all be beautiful.

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