If I let the worry and anxiety of what other people think creep into my mind it will ultimately destroy me. It's been such a long road for me to believe in myself enough to realize that I am enough. For so long I thought and spoke only in past tense. I wanted my old life back so badly that it hurt. I wanted to push the rewind button and have a do-over. Instead of existing in the present I was wrapped up in the past and only cared about living for others. I wanted to keep up with my friends and be immersed in their lives as deeply as I was pre-bed bound times. I gave too much of myself away to everyone around me all the time, and left 0 reserves for myself. I didn't even factor my feelings into the equation, I just saw my body as this independent sick being that I tried to feed medication to and then got mad at for not cooperating. There was no actual connection there for me where I loved myself and embraced myself as a whole being. I was too busy running around in the past and wishing to teleport back to it. I had what they called, "Rosy Retrospection," or "The Good Old Days Syndrome." I saw my life as only being whole in the past-tense, and felt like 'back then' was far superior to the 'now.' What an unhealthy and draining way that was to live. Of course at the time you could not have convinced me otherwise. I was set in my ways for so long that it took a whole life shake up to nudge me awake.
The tides began to change for me throughout the course of this year. I realized when I relapsed and experienced crushing depression that I didn't want to live like that anymore. In fact, I couldn't keep living like that. I had given away so much of myself that I was then left with nothing but an empty void that felt hollow in my heart. Everything started to shift once I became actively aware of the things that were breaking me down. All the things I held on to like my need to please others, feeling like I was never enough, worrying what everyone thought about me, and not feeling deserving enough to put myself first were all huge components. Once my eyes were opened I could see just how damaging these thought processes were and I was able to slowly make changes in my life. I had to re-learn how to approach each day and actively chose to stop and assess each situation before I reacted. It is a slow process to let go of old deeply wired ways of thinking, and I still stumble frequently. Often times my family will remind me to let things go and see them from a different perspective, and I'm thankful for their encouragement because it's been crucial to my progress. With each situation I am faced with I learn to choose the option that benefits me the most and keeps my stress levels down so that I can properly heal.
I look at life very differently these days. This year I didn't have the energy to photograph and make my annual Christmas card, and at first I had lots of worries that I would let everyone down. I was so sure that all these friends and family members would assume I didn't care about them enough to even send a card. Notice how my worry & sadness over not creating a Christmas card had nothing to do with ME, but everything to do with how I thought it might make others feel. I had to catch myself and stop that way of thinking before it took off like a runaway train. I didn't have the energy, it wasn't smart to overextend myself, and that's okay. When I was able to stop and look at it logically I realized it is highly unlikely that anyone would even remotely misconstrue my silence this year as a lack of caring. Anyone who actually knows me also knows my heart and that reminder put things into perspective. These are the kinds of situations and moments which I actively work on in order to ground myself in the here and now.
The other day I came across a poll question which asked, "If you had a TV remote for your life which option would you use: Rewind button, fast forward button, pause button, or guide?" Without hesitation I answered that I would want the Guide, because having someone to help light my path in the present felt like the best choice. I didn't realize until days later what a huge milestone it was for me that I didn't instinctively choose to rewind. I no longer wish to live in the past, and I also no longer wish to fast forward through life. I wish to embrace this life I have now and like a magnet I want to draw in all the goodness in this world. The most important thing in my life has been always been healing, but only now I am fully willing to give in to every aspect that comes with the word "heal." I am willing to cut out anything that is stressful in my life no matter the cost, and focus only on things that serve me well and are healthy for my well being. I am willing to fully submit by choosing to live my life with joy, MY joy, and not worry about the perceptions of others.
"Tomorrow is tomorrow.
Future cares have future cures,
And we must mind today.”
I am here in this present moment right now, and what a blessed thing that is. Happy 2016 everyone!