“We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers – but never blame yourself. It’s never your fault. But it’s always your fault, because if you wanted to change you’re the one who has got to change.” ~ Katharine Hepburn ~
Would you like an apple, orange, banana or peach?
Would you like to go to the opera, a football game, shopping, out to eat or sit by the pool?
Would you like to listen to country, pop, rock, jazz, a piano concerto or silence?
Those questions are probably quite simple to answer. I bet you had the answer by the time you finished the last word of each question.
Is your temper out of control?
Do you have a drug or alcohol addiction?
Are you always lying, cheating or stealing?
Well, those questions are a bit more, shall we say, uncomfortable to answer. If you have to give the answers to other people, you may actually avoid or lie about them. Heck, you may even lie to yourself. Why?
Our character weaknesses are not things we want broadcasted on the nightly news. They are embarrassing. Our flaws are not things we are proud of and so we try to keep them a secret to the vast majority of people. However, if we do not admit them to ourself we will be unable to change or correct them.
We can’t be better if we don’t recognize where we need to improve.
Let’s not talk about you for a minute. I’ll talk about me because that will be easier for you to hear…um, I mean read. (wink)
At the “beginning of becoming more of an introvert” I was young, but what happened to me strongly affected the next twenty years of my life. Why only twenty years?
Notice that I said it “strongly affected.” In all truth, it changed my entire life on many levels. After that experience, my self-esteem dropped to an all time low and became self-loathing. Each time I let a new experience slip past me without making any attempt to participate, I hated myself a little bit more. The times I did branch out, I compared myself to other people and in my eyes, I always fell short and thus the self-loathing was strengthened.
I faked loving myself and was a big advocate of self-love which I believed for everyone else, but couldn’t live or believe my own advice for me. By the time I gave birth to Alyssa, I was pretty sure that my existence on this planet was useless and that the only thing that I had ever done to add value was have a child. So I wholeheartedly dedicated myself to motherhood even though my marriage kept falling apart.
Inside of me the gnawing mass of pain caused by life experiences and no self-love was a huge abyss that often threatened to overtake my very existence.
The abyss of dark self-loathing and insecurity grew.
Then a few years ago the unthinkable happened. I found myself thrust into a world that I knew nothing about and with an inability to cope. Somewhere in the midst of all that Hell, I discovered that the new PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) affliction had brought all my issues to the surface. In order to heal the PTSD, I was going to have to admit, sort through, understand and cope with ALL the other things in my life that I had stuffed down.
ALL = A LOT.
I am a professional emotion stuffer.
I’m so good at emotional stuffing that I should receive an award and go down in the annals of history.
Who was to blame for my emotional stuffing?
“Blame” isn’t really the right word because no one is to blame for my emotional stuffing. The practice of stuffing my emotions was a coping mechanism because I didn’t know how to cope any other way at that time. I did the best that I could and that meant stuffing the pain down.
When confronted with the path I needed to take in order to heal and rid myself of the trauma, I had several options and NONE of them were desirable.
OPTION 1 – Admit Nothing – Remain In The Grip Of Your Weaknesses
Since I had stuffed my emotions so far down into the darkest recesses of my soul, they were not obvious to people. Between the emotional stuffing and being an introvert, my secret weaknesses and insecurities could remain safely hidden forever…or so I thought.
My first option was to admit absolutely nothing to no one including myself. What was a secret could remain a secret FOREVER. Of course, I would continue to suffer pain, but at least my private thoughts and emotions would be hidden.
The HUGE drawback and con to this choice is that nothing is solved, healed or changed if we don’t admit our weaknesses are out of control. That means that all weaknesses would mess up my life by remaining in control of me and greatly influence my future. Let’s not forget that I would also remain in pain. For the record, I don’t like hurting.
OPTION 2 – Admit Nothing Or Admit It All, But End It All By Killing Yourself
A sure fire way of escaping immediate physical and emotional pain is to die. Since we can’t just die at will, the only way to make it happen is to kill ourself. Suicide. No matter how you do it, the end result would still be the same – you would take your own life.
Suicide = Murdering yourself
Obviously, it is irrelevant if you admit your weaknesses or not. Since you’re going to be dead anyway, who cares what people think?
Suicide is not the answer to your problems. It is too final. Besides, it doesn’t fix the problem. Suicide allows you to run from the problem and leave everyone in your life upside down in pain from the loss of your presence.
OPTION 3 – Admit It All To Yourself, But Don’t Seek Help From Anyone Else
Being independent is an admirable trait, however, no one is an island. There are problems, weaknesses and character flaws that can’t be conquered alone. Before anyone chirps in and says, “Just pray and God will help,” I will address you first.
God gave you a brain. God put other people on the planet. God gave people talents that can assist humankind. Therefore, with all that God has done, He knows that you are capable of seeking help from an educated person who can help you overcome your trial. Praying alone is not going to get rid of your problems especially things like PTSD, drug addiction, alcoholism, abusive anger and/or abandonment.
The first step in fixing anything is that you have to admit to yourself that you have a problem. Without seeking help from educated people who can help/teach you how to rid yourself/cope with your problems, you will remain stuck in the grip of your weaknesses. Admitting that we are not a superhero and need help is hard, but it can be done.
OPTION 4 – Admit Everything To Yourself And A Professional, But Don’t Apply What You Learn
In order to change, overcome or conquer your weaknesses, it is necessary to embark on the process with passion. You need to work as if your life depends on your success because your life happiness DOES depend on successfully overcoming your weaknesses. Admitting everything to yourself and a professional, listening to all the advice, but then doing nothing with the knowledge is just a big waste of time and life. Truly free happiness can’t be acquired without work.
You can always just thwart the whole process by rationalizing.
Don’t even bother rolling your eyes, shaking your head or denying it. Rationalizing that this does not apply to you doesn’t make it untrue. Rationalize all you want to rationalize, but as long as you do so, your weaknesses will still control your life and rob your happiness.
Are you really willing to lose so much by rationalizing and remaining out of control?
Haven’t you already lost too much?
I think the price is too high especially since life is so short and it just seems to be getting shorter and shorter for me.
OPTION 5 – Admit Everything To Yourself And A Professional While Working Like Your Life Depends On Your Success
The ONLY way to banish your weaknesses is by working on them. It is constant work.
Helpless hopelessness, procrastination, rationalization, anger and pain will accompany the struggle to overcome your weaknesses. You will feel completely out of control, but by intelligently releasing part of the control, you will be able to get a grip on reality. Working smartly will help you face your weaknesses and finally control them.
There is no shortcut. You must admit your problem to yourself, admit it to a professional and then work like crazy to obliterate the weakness from your life. Of course, Option 5 is the least desirable, but it is the only one that really accomplishes the end goal which is happiness.
The kind of happiness that makes your heart sing and feel as though it has wings.
That may sound “fairy tale-ish” to you, but the overwhelming happiness almost takes my breath away. It hasn’t been constant, but at times, I feel the glimpse of a wonderfully peaceful life filled with happiness. My mind, heart and soul have never known the freedom that I am beginning to experience as I eradicate PTSD and all my other long standing weaknesses.
The “work” to gain control of my life is worth it.
No Longer In The Grip Of My Weaknesses Or Out Of Control
Those are the five options/choices we all have to get control of our weaknesses. We either consciously or subconsciously choose an option. Whatever we choose will determine our life opportunities. If we wait too long to conquer a weakness, our whole life will be enmeshed with unhappiness. We will miss our full potential. We will never become what we were meant to be.
When faced with PTSD, I had to decide which of the five choices I would take in order to get my life back. At this point of my blogging, it is obvious that I chose Option 5. I worked with a vengeance to obtain mental health. I think it is obvious that I am more mentally healthy than I have ever been in my life.
Unresolved pain, sadness, hopelessness, abandonment, etc. are being booted out of my life one-by-one.
I have not only worked to overcome the grip of PTSD on my mind, body and soul, but I am still dissecting and destroying the hold my past insecurities and inadequacies has on my life. I will win this war. Yes, it is far more than a battle. This fight has become an all out war to have the life I deserve. A life where I am loved, appreciated, respected and honored. A life that allows me the capacity to help others who are still fighting their own war. A life that allows me the opportunity to flourish, progress and feel complete happiness.
Sometimes I slip back into the grip of my weaknesses and lose all control, but it is a temporary condition. After reasserting the healthy me, the unhealthy me has to succumb.
You can gain control of yourself, your life and future. If I can do it, you can do it too. Don’t you want to have mind blowing, life altering happiness like you’ve never known?
It is so much closer than you can imagine.
Take the first step.
Admit your problem out loud to yourself and a trained professional. You can do it! I know we can all be successful at this adventure if we just keep our mind focused and our heart open.
Yes, it is time for a change.
In the words of Carly Simon…
All those crazy nights when I cried myself to sleep
Now melodrama never makes me weep anymore
‘Cause I haven’t got time for the pain
I haven’t got room for the pain
I haven’t the need for the pain