Thursday, August 30, 2012

Dreams becoming reality, Part 1

This year has been difficult at times, wonderful and amazing at others, and most definitely a time of growth and change for me.  Three years ago I was at one of the lowest points in my life. I had just turned 40 and I was miserable. I thought my life was going to be a certain way by the time I was 40, and my life was nothing close to what I had expected for myself. I was in some of the worst emotional pain I have ever experienced. My lowest point was when I was sitting on my couch one September afternoon sobbing uncontrollably and I thought to myself, "I'd rather die than be in this much pain."  It was a sobering moment for me. I had had depressive episodes before, but never once had I thought about dying as a way out of it.  The months that followed became a time of real soul-searching and the one thing I realize is that I was living a fear-based life. I made every decision out of fear. Fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of scrutiny of others, fear of anger of others, fear of judgment, fear of being hurt...quite literally, almost every decision was fear-based. I knew that I couldn't continue to do that and expect anything to change.

I was desperately, achingly lonely. I had no boundaries with anyone. I had unrealistic expectations of myself and others and situations. So while I knew I had to change things, I had no idea where to start. I went to classes, read books, got into therapy, and started to try to become the adult I was meant to be. Part of having no boundaries and living in fear meant that because I was afraid of not being liked or accepted by friends and family, I wouldn't ever say "no" because I didn't want people angry at me and I didn't want to disappoint anyone. So I did things I didn't want to do and avoided doing things I wanted to do just to keep everyone happy with me.  What I wasn't doing was making my own decisions based on what I thought was best for me.  It was nobody's fault but my own. We teach people how to treat us by what we allow them to say and do to us. I realized this fear of anger, rejection, and disappointing others came from me needing everyone's validation to prove my worth and value as a human instead of knowing inside myself that I AM worthwhile and valuable. And as twisted as this is, as much as I craved that validation of others, I at the same time looked for proof that I wasn't worthy or vaulable. Promotions not happening at work? I'm a bad employee. Not in a relationship? I'm too ugly/fat/boring for anyone to want me. No one is inviting me to go places or do things? I must be horrible company.  I wouldn't even realize I was telling myself these horrible things. They were just the voice I've always remembered being in my head and I accepted it as the truth. I now realize that they weren't the truth and I've for the most part been able to replace the negative thoughts with positive ones.  The voice still speaks to me, but I am hearing it for what it is: That hurt little girl who took mean words said to her as truth and is just trying to keep me from being hurt again.

The thing is: to live is to risk. In the past year I  have risked every single one of those fears I mentioned in the first paragraph of this post. It's not been easy to risk, and I've been worried and scared, but I've come through it all. I'm still here and I still feel really good about myself and life and where I'm heading. Not everything I've risked has turned out positively, but a lot has. And while I have no guarantees about the future, I KNOW that no matter what happens it will all be okay.

All will be well and all will be well and all manner of thing will be well. --Julian of Norwich