***It’s long, I hope you stay to the end.***
I can remember as a younger person, I would sit and listen to others around me bitch and complain about the world, the people in it, the government, religion, guns, politics, schools, and mostly just other people in general, but mostly anything negative. Gather around a family function as a kid and listen to the adults complaining about the world thinking kids aren’t listening even though all we can hear is the latest family gossip and who fucked up their life this time. One day, not all that long ago someone asked me why I complained so much. This took me as a bit of a surprise as I didn’t realize I was such a complainer, I was given all kinds of advice about making my own happiness along with countless bits of other advice, so was I really a complainer? A Negative Nancy? Clearly I never understood the worldly advice I was given throughout my life if I was seen as a complainer. Doesn’t everyone complain? That’s all I hear when I try to listen to the world or anyone in my listening vicinity no matter where I am.
I am not 100% sure if I didn’t understand because the advice just didn’t apply to me at the time or if I was just too busy ignoring my own issues to feel the need to take it (more likely I was ignoring my own issues), but for some reason I filed it away in my brain and now that I am doing this little journey of getting to know myself this advice comes out in these little a-ha moments every so often and they make perfect sense. I notice them more when I am in a situation that it applies to, we truly never understand something until it happens to us.
Since I have been on this journey I have discovered so many things about myself that I just never even knew existed. I know that sounds crazy, it just has to, I’m 44 years old and I am just now learning about myself? It’s absolutely absurd to me that I didn’t know myself. I only knew what “they” wanted me to be and it wasn’t working for me. I am learning the whys of myself I guess I could say. Why certain things make me angry, sad, anxious, scared, negative emotions and what kind of conflict that emotion is stirring in me and how to acknowledge it and release it as it really isn’t any good for me, or anyone for that matter. And weirdly enough we ALL have these things inside us but for myself I noticed it was much easier to just blame someone else for the way I felt when in all actuality I am the one feeling it and there isn’t anyone else that can make me feel any certain way. That’s my power and I’m taking it back.
(I have been told that my style of writing makes others think and have also been told that I am mean with my words. I want my readers to know my stories and my struggles and think about their own lives and their own actions. My goals are to never make anyone feel bad about themselves, just to make them think about their own actions. All of my theories here have only to do with me and my experience with learning myself, they are not meant to point fingers at anyone and make them feel like they are an awful person, they all pertain to me and if for some reason others relate then awesome, I’ve helped someone feel not so alone and maybe I’ve helped someone realize their own toxic behaviors. We cannot save the world until we save ourselves! This is how I saved myself.)
The first thing I decided to do was stop my prescriptions. Ahhhhhh. I can hear my readers losing their shit because I stopped my meds. (I stopped them cold turkey too.) Scary huh? Not really. I had trouble filling them one day, my pharmacy didn’t take my new insurance so I transferred my script and the new pharmacy never filled it and I’d already gone a week without them so I said Fuck it, I don’t want them anyway because I basically abuse them so to say, so I quit. Let me explain what abusing prescription drugs means because I know society has us programmed to think the worst, I did not take them as directed….I took them when I felt like it, I didn’t take too many at once, I took them when I would remember, they didn’t really help me other than causing me to gain a bunch of weight and have the personality of a zombie so I quit them and decided I could change and fix myself on my own. I made an appointment with my doctor a couple of months later to check in with her. Told her I’d been off them for weeks and she said she’d see me when I crashed and needed to have them. I told her I’d keep in touch. That was more than 18 months ago. I haven’t taken a prescription medication since. Maybe 4 ibuprofen and lots of vitamins in those 18 months. I did go back and see her just for shits and giggles and to show her that the power of the mind is incredible and she was all about the work and research I had done. (Research, research, research before you decide to quit your meds please.)
The second thing I discovered about myself is that alcohol and I do not get along. I’ve always drank, even before I was of legal age to drink but I never thought I had a drinking problem because I didn’t fit the typical stereotype of an “alcoholic” I never even considered myself to have a problem because I didn’t always feel like drinking when around others that were and I didn’t drink for shits and giggles and I didn’t drink alone until 2017 even though it was only 3 times I was drinking alone. And besides that everyone drinks right?
One day a few months ago one of my very good friends asked me how long it had been since I’d had a drink and I had to think about it, I think it was sometime between April and May of 2017 unfortunately I didn’t write down the date I had my last drink. She also asked me how I realized I was an alcoholic and I was actually kind of shocked. I am not an alcoholic. I didn’t have a drinking “problem”, drinking itself was the problem. The reason I decided to quit was after all the research I had been doing to “fix” myself and deciding to stop my meds, researching alcohol and the consequences it had on mental health, on medication and off medication I experimented with it and for me, alcohol is a no. It’s a depressant, we all know that. But do we know what it does to someone who suffers from depression? Actually we all should, it’s not a secret. I think research concludes that alcohol is a giant risk factor for suicide. Have I ever mentioned that my brothers BAC was .27 when he took his life? I decided to experiment with myself and test just how it affected me personally, yes I did this knowing that my brother completed suicide while highly intoxicated. I wrote, I took mental notes of how I felt the day after drinking and it truly affected me in such a negative way that I decided I’d never drink again, and I haven’t. Call it willpower, call it whatever you feel like. I call it a decision to stay alive. Period.
Next up… sober, no pills, clear mind, I looked myself in the mirror and shit got real. I didn’t have an audience, I didn’t share it with anyone, it was something I did for myself so that I could figure out how to fix myself so that I could get the life back that I had lost. I looked at all the fucked up things I’d done in my life, how I’d treated people, how people had treated me and how I reacted, I looked at how I’d fucked my kids up by not being healthy. I looked at my irresponsibility with money, my reckless behavior with myself and others. I even looked at my eating habits and the garbage I put in my body, after all I do have an eating disorder. Getting to this point right here was long and excruciating I’m not going to lie and I absolutely wanted to just go back to what I knew and what was comfortable but I couldn’t. I wasn’t welcomed back so I had no choice but to give up or buck up and I realized that I can’t just change because I want to (poof I’ve changed!). Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way, yes we have to want to change, but we can’t really know what to change until we take a step back and actually look at OURSELVES, our own toxic behaviors and acknowledge that WE can actually be the toxic one. This is where I spent the greatest amount of my work and still do. I practice awareness all day long, as long as I am awake I am being aware of myself and my surroundings.There isn’t really much that I don’t see but I keep a lot of it to myself because I’m so eerily aware it scares a lot of the people I mention it to. It scares most actually so I keep a lot of it in little files in my brain.
Mind you doing this step was by far the most scary thing I think I could probably do for myself but what it did for me was by far the most beautiful thing, I just can’t even begin to tell you the weight that lifted from my soul when I finally quit lying to myself about my problems. I finally accepted the fact that my life was right where it was because of me, and only me. My marriages had all fallen apart and I was going through a job every year or so and my life was very inconsistent. I am sure it is not 100% my fault but I am aware enough of my own bullshit that I had a nice part in it….. This is information that I don’t share with others because it always begins the it’s not your fault routine and then the comfort of denying my shit comes back, or I get some horrible story from someone and they want me to explain to them how that horrible thing that happened to them is their fault. It’s not my job to figure out why certain things happen to others, I am only responsible for myself and why I do the things I do and why things have happened to me the way they have happened to me and my own reaction to those things. I’m so far into this now that the old comfortable feeling that I used to long for is very uncomfortable and I will not go back there, so uncomfortable that I would rather just not even involve myself with toxic people and I usually don’t. It makes me terribly sad because I have lost quite a few friends that I love dearly but I have unfortunately outgrown. I keep most of my life to myself and am only sharing this because I want to help others now that I am more aware of myself I see more and more despair in the world, and I am able to read others so much more and the compassion I have for others is beyond anything I’ve ever had previously. I don’t even get mad at others for their toxic behaviors I just kind of tip-toe my way away from them and the low vibration they give off. I have a really hard time even talking negatively anymore, the hair stands up on my arms when it’s around me, I try to avoid it at all costs and spend more time thinking about what I really want to say versus just barfing out my opinion of something, especially something I don’t know a lot about.
I started with reading everything I could about my astrological sign, Cancer, it was something I was familiar with, I spent hours and hours reading about my sign, natal charts, ascending houses, you name it I was reading about it. I was surprised to find a lot of what I read quite accurate. I ditched everyone I spent time with to research, I stayed in my room for days and read and studied my thoughts and my emotions and asked myself lots and lots of questions, I even studied the signs of all the people I hung out with so that I was able to interact with them better. But that just wasn’t enough, I still didn’t feel like I knew myself and I stumbled upon a personality test one day. I had taken one before years ago at a place of employment and I remember I was the odd one I just couldn’t really remember what the personality was, well it was the INFJ with the Myers-Briggs personality types. Oh boy it was the odd one of the 16 types! What a relief it was to find out I was odd!! I was literally reading all about myself while I researched this finding about myself. All my life I had felt bad that I didn’t fit in, that I wasn’t chosen first for much of anything, I was often forgotten and my life had just been this fight to be liked and remembered and trying to force people to pay attention to me when in all actuality I don’t really even like all those things! I was so miserable because although I thought I wanted to be liked and I wanted to be this person that was popular or whatever but I actually hate attention! I don’t like the spotlight, I don’t like all eyes on me, I don’t like surprises, I don’t like anyone knowing my business. I spent half my life trying to do all those things, get attention, be popular, be in the spotlight and tell anyone that would listen my business (Facebook). This was all stuff that I already knew but like a friend of mine had told me once, we all have the knowledge inside of we forget it because of our social programming. She basically used the phrase, you just forgot who you were.
I also spent quite a bit of time researching the foods we eat and the effects of those foods on our physical and mental health! I took a good long look at my history of foods that I ate, dinners I made and junk that I put inside myself. I have implemented better eating habits, better food quality consumption and actually cut out ALL caffeine, coffee, caffeinated sodas and then limited my non-caffeinated sodas to rarely.
Lastly and probably the most important for me to do was forgive myself. Of course I had heard this kind of advice most of my adult life but somehow after coming all this way, ditching the prescriptions, choosing no alcohol, eating better, acknowledging all my flaws and mistakes it all FINALLY made sense to me. It made sense to me this time because before when I tried to forgive myself I didn’t really know what I was forgiving myself for as my mind was either clouded with pills, alcohol, junk food or denial or all of them simultaneously. Once I got rid of the distractions and acknowledged my bullshit forgiving myself was actually quite easy. I forgave myself for not acquiring the knowledge to cope, I forgave myself for being the asshole in my relationships, I forgave myself for being that mom that was too wrapped up in her own drama to teach my kids how to cope, I forgave myself for not being able to save my brother, for not knowing he needed help, I forgave myself for not even being aware of my actions. The point is I forgave myself. Other’s have also forgiven me and had before I had even forgiven myself but nothing felt right until I actually forgave myself and meant it. Once we forgive ourselves it’s much easier to forgive all the one’s that we thought harmed us in some way. Now that I have forgiven myself I spend my days being compassionate and optimistic and actually being that person that I want others to be, of course it can be difficult to maintain depending on my company or what kind of stimuli I have around me but for the most part, my days are spent in self-reflection and goals. We cannot change others until we change ourselves!!! It’s impossible. We MUST be the change we want to see in the world.
I do apologize for the length of this read and hopefully I didn’t lose too many of my readers due to its length. Trust me I could have gone on and on and on because I am a big picture person, another of the quirks to my personality that I am very well aware of now. My whole point to this was to show the world that our life is how we make it happen. The consequences we have come from the decisions we make……. That’s it. If we don’t like how our life is going we actually have to be the one to change it and we cannot do that until we get real with ourselves. Period.
Don’t practice what you preach. Preach what you practice.
What are your thoughts on changing the world by changing ourselves? Do you agree or disagree with changing ourselves? Feel free to like, share and comment with your thoughts! I’m always up to hear others! Rock on my beauties!