Don’t kid yourself. Your thoughts have impact.
Your thinking determines the direction of your day.
It’s true. it is also true to say that we are very interesting creatures.
We come from an interesting society; but more, we come from a life-long training center of how to live, how to think, how to go and how to be.
It is by our very design that we live and we breathe. We laugh and we dance. It is by our very right that we have the ability to go, or be, or do. Further, it is by our choice that we decipher ourselves between the two factors of living or existing.
It is by the tales of our life that we are remembered. But more, it is by the grace of our yesterdays; whether they be graceful or elsewise that we can look back at our youth, that we can relive our tales, or rethink our triumphs, or revisit a memory so real and so true.
It is by sound and by smell as well as by touch and by taste that we can re-feel the old moments that mean so much to us. We can think about these things. We can think about our daily comparisons, such as the feel of rose petals as it relates to the warmth of our Grandmother’s skin.
I can see her now, my Grandmother I mean.
I can almost hear her voice. I can almost remember what it was like to be small and sit in her lap for one of Grandma’s bedtime stories. While it has been nearly four decades since this happened, I can still remember how her hands were so soft – like a blanket meant to swaddle a newborn and welcome them to this world. I can remember how delicate she was and how meaningful her presence was to our house. “Grandma’s here!”
It’s been almost 40 years but still, I can remember.
I can say that while this journal is about nostalgia, there is more to share, which is why I have invited the memories from my past. I have invited the old feelings and the old recollections.
I have invited the good and the bad for no other reason than to show the world that, above all, it’s okay to be real. It’s okay to be human. It’s okay to laugh and think and to cry or reflect. It’s okay to have a past. It’s okay to fall apart sometimes. And yes, it’s okay to be lost or even be hopeless. It’s just life. It’s no bigger nor smaller. To be honest, this is all just an association game.
For example, I spent decades running from an unforgivable past until I finally learned that it wasn’t the past that needed to be forgiven – it was me.
It wasn’t the intrusion of my unresolved tensions or the post-traumatic ceremonies which took place in my life. It wasn’t the acts or the instances and it wasn’t the world around me. No, the answer to my equation has always been me.
The association and the process of my memory has, by design, set me back on more than one occasion.
In fact, my relationship with my past or the reflections of my past (and its inaccuracies) have led me to think along the lines of habitual patterns which became my math. This is also known as “more of the same.”
I never saw how I added to my difficulties or made them harder. I never realized how I involved myself in the confusion when, at some point, I could have walked away.
I could have changed my mind or changed my direction. Should this be unclear or too vague, then please, allow me to explain.
There are memories of mine in which I wondered why I stayed in the position I was in. There were social groups and cliques that I wanted to get away from, but I never did.
I wondered why I kept up with the same crowd. There were times when my bouts with the irrational ideas of lonesomeness or not being included, as if to say that this would somehow validate my worst fears, which were (of course) sad but out of all my fears – my worst fear is that I would forever be unwanted or unable to fit.
I often discuss this when opening up to a classroom before discussing the pitfalls of insecurity. I explain that while the origin of this began when I was young, insecurity is a breeding ground with roots that burrow deep. Don’t let anyone fool you. The way we think has everything to do with the way we live.
Therefore, should we nurture the fear or anxiety, then like any plant or seed – the nurtured will always grow.
It’s amazing to me how I can stand in front of a gymnasium filled with sixth and seventh graders. I can talk to them plainly and have them nod in agreement.
I can do the very same lecture in front of high school juniors and seniors. I can do the same lecture in front of college students and graduate students as well. I can recite this very same information to a corporate setting and still, the reaction across the generations are the same.
No one wants to be picked last. No one wants to be the odd one out. No one wants to fight for their position in this world. No one wants to be unloved, to be unwanted, or to be canceled, as in invisible. Certainly, no one wants the fear of loss. But either way, these are all aspects of life.
I can recall a client of mine who was an incredible athlete. This person was “the one” on the team. This was a person who was loved and admired. This was a person who drew attention. Everyone wanted to be like this person. Everyone paid attention to them and for a brief period, everyone came to them during a game when they were hurt.
This meant the athlete was out for a few games. This meant they were in too much pain to play, which meant there was an alternative to the pain; also known as pain killers.
While the injury was painful, the injury was not season-ending.
However, while sitting out on the sidelines, someone else was playing in their position. While someone else was playing the starting role, they were creating a new dynamic for the team which was successful.
This meant the starting position was now in question which also meant that the old star player had to give way to the energy of the new star player.
It was here in their fall from grace that the athlete saw their attention dwindle and go to someone else. It was here that while the physical pain subsided, the emotional pain increased. However, there is an alternative to pain. Correct?
I believe they call them pain killers.
Pain is pain, right?
Whether physical or emotional – pain hurts, right?
I have learned throughout the years that painkillers might kill the pain but they never kill the problem.
I have learned that the association of my thoughts and the direction of my thinking has the ability to do both wonderful and awful things.
I have learned that I can either think myself sick or I can think myself well. To be clear, it might not always seem as if this happiness or comfortability is an option per se; but the truth is we are only as sick as we think we are.
Our association with roles and positions and our biases that we connect with success or the ideas of success have created some great inaccuracies in our thinking.
Now, in retrospect, I can think back to the times when I swore that the world was about to come to an end. I can remember the times when my anticipation for an all-out war was so dominant that all I could do was prepare for the pain.
I can remember believing the rejection was just around the corner; but more, I can remember the value that I gave away.
I can remember the co-dependent nature and how others took priority; what they thought, what they felt, what they did and how they affected me became my focus.
This meant that I lost sight of myself.
I lost to my thinking.
I lost to my sadness; but worse (and I always say this),
I lost to my depression like water loses to a drain.
I lost sight of my effort. I lost sight of my ability.
I lost sight of my value because, at the time, I had no value.
I gave this away in trade with hopes to buy something in return, such as attention and validation.
I never knew that this began from within.
No, I was that kid. I was that teenager. I was that high-schooler. I was that new employee. I was that person who was looking for attention or to be that star role and due to circumstances beyond my control, I had to compete for my attention.
But more, I had to answer to my fears that perhaps I was about to burn out, fizzle, or fade away, because, to put this simply, I was afraid that I just couldn’t keep up with the world.
I was too slow.
I see things a bit differently now.
Show me a person who does not use slander in their vocabulary and I will show you a person who is comfortable with being themselves.
Show me a person who doesn’t use sarcasm as a first or second language and I will show you a person who doesn’t need to be quick to defend themselves.
Show me a seasoned employee who does not take to character assassinations and I will show you a person who is comfortable with who they are as well as aware of the value they bring to their team.
Show me a team whose efficiency and cohesion is so strong that all appear to work together without the leader being up front or always acknowledged and I will show you a leader who can lead by example and not by fear or intimidation.
This is really what we need to learn in school. This is what we should be learning on the playground or on the swingsets or in the sandboxes.
We live in this world which becomes an I, I, me, me place.
We live in a “me first” society and I see this every day.
I see this on the street. I see this in offices.
I see the rat-race in the working world on a daily basis.
I see the degradation of our society on the nightly news because, of course, each day someone else decides to go crazy enough to teach us what outrage and violence really looks like. And I get it. I’ve gone crazy before too.
Big time. But to what avail?
I have been sifting through my memories and zeroing in on the roots of my old equations.
I can see where I was introduced to fear.
I can see where I was introduced to shame.
I can see how I held this all-too-tightly for so long that I never knew how to let this go. Better yet, I can see how I held onto my past for so long, I forgot what I was afraid of – I only knew that I was afraid and that for some reason, I had to defend myself.
It wasn’t until I let the soldiers in my head retire from their battle; and it wasn’t until I learned to surrender to win; it wasn’t until I allowed myself to free my internal prisoners, namely me in all facets of the the game.
I came to the realization that until I put down my sword and washed the yesterday from my skin, I would never be at peace which meant the war would be ongoing.
It’s funny too because there are things that I can openly discuss now without issue; whereas, at one point, these things would hurt me severely. But now, the pain doesn’t hurt anymore.
The wounds might have scarred me but rather than nurture the scab, I nurtured the wound – so I could heal.
That’s what I want to do.
I want to heal.
I want to be well.
I want to go forward
I want to be happy without the regard of an outside invitation.
I want to live without being hinged to passion or the satisfaction of an outside influence.
I say: If everything begins within – then let me begin within
So I can heal . . .
So I can be better
So I can make an impact
– and be the person that I always wanted to be
This post was amazingly insightful. Thank you so much for sharing. I really identify with your journey a lot having went through something completely different, but still similar at its core. From the sounds of it you are doing a great job of overcoming gradually the resentment of the past, which is great. Recovery is hard, resentment can be a pain in the *&^.
I like what you said about a person who does not have slander in their vocabulary. I am a little behind the eight ball, forgive the bad pun on that… I am still trying to recover, I use trying because I am not comfortable with the word success because of a clinging to the past like you mention.
Fear and shame have been the driving motivators for rage in my life, and I have lived a very rage filed life. I hope to find the same peace you speak of. Keep going, it is worth it, and you sharing this helps others like you who have the same feelings but are not yet mature enough in their recovery to voice them. I love that you posted this. It was sanely helpful.
You are making those who love you proud every day, and I feel like there may be something to be said for them being able even if it just through universal energy to feel the positive progress in the souls they were so intertwined with.
Have a great day. You already made mine by posting this.
This right here….
This made my day too