My first post when I revived my personal blog was about Rediscovering the life I love(d) to live and I eluded to my own reassessments over what is important in life and what matters to me. I feel that I need to elaborate on that a little bit, for my own sake and for the sake of writing down my story, more so than for anyone else’s benefit or entertainment.
I have done a lot of soul searching lately, for many different reasons but primarily because of a series of events that have played out in my life during the past 12 months that have not been good for me. Some of them work related but most of them frankly things that I have refused to acknowledge, or even admit to myself, for way too long. We are talking about at least two decades of “crap” that I have suppressed and bottled up inside, rather than process and deal with them. And needless to say, that is not a sustainable approach and most of us understand that at some point things just unravel and life starts falling apart. So also for me.
Without going too much into detail, I made some choices in my life that were not healthy and chose a path that was far from productive, if not even destructive. I tried to do too many things on my own. I tried to always keep my head down and carry on – never show my own weaknesses or vulnerability, and never ever ask anyone for help. Luther taught us well, that asking for help and not being able to cope are two of the biggest mortal sins, right? So I was the good girl. Always. I made all the right and sensible choices. I put everyone else’s needs and desires before my own and I kept the mask on at all times. I built a wall so high and so thick that no one would ever see the real me. The weak me. The vulnerable me. The little girl inside that was never allowed to be just that. Little. And not able to cope on her own.
And it worked for a long time. It worked very well. So well in fact that when the wall started cracking and I could not cope anymore, no one understood what was going on. Least myself. So no one even asked. Or dared to ask? Because my defense mechanisms were so well designed and so deeply engrained in my own and everyone else’s perception of me, that questioning my own health and well-being was never an option. But then one day I made a bad decision. And one bad decision quickly led to another and very soon the snowball started rolling and gained momentum. Until it came down so fast it almost pulled my entire life with it.
Luckily the snowball did not quite create an avalanche that buried me, and it didn’t wreck my life, but it gave me a much needed wake-up call and it made me realise that I had to stop and reflect over every aspect of my life. I had to reassess my entire existence and the path I was on. I had to make some changes and I had to make them fast. So I did.
I decided that it was time to talk to someone. The shame of admitting to myself that I could no longer cope on my own, or that I could no longer demand of the people closest to me to do the coping for me, was less than the pain I caused myself every day at this point. I needed help and I got it. But I also made an important realisation, in the sense that I understood that I could not just hire someone to fix me. I would have to do the work myself and invest in every level of my own health and happiness and be prepared to do the heavy lifting. I was ready to face my fears and chase the ghosts away and the only way I could be strong enough to do that, was if I took good care of myself physically, as well as mentally.
So I started cutting out the negatives in my life, replacing them with positives. From people, to habits, to behaviours. Because cutting out things that were bad for me was not enough. I had to fill the void with something and I had to find sources of inspiration and happiness, to compensate for the things I needed to lose. All those changes have made things a lot easier and given me so much strength and energy, to deal with the important stuff and address all the things that I had ignored for so long, that were the underlying problems.
And it feels great! I have barely started this personal journey of mine but I have already made so much progress on the things that really matter, and that inspires me to keep digging. Keep working. Keep improving. In a way, I have probably just replaced one obsession with another, because that is the type of person I am: I don’t do anything half-assed but I go all in and I always strive to go all the way. But one of my main goals right now, one that I work on everyday, is to do “just enough”. To let go and to allow myself not to be consumed by every goal I set. To learn to take small steps and celebrate every one of them, as an achievement in personal growth.
I have grown a lot in the last few months but perhaps even more importantly, I have stopped beating myself up every day for not being or doing “enough”. And that to me is the biggest achievement of them all. I have accepted that I am myself a mere “work in progress” and I love the work that I do in terms of personal growth. Every day.