Follow up piece to: "Do the Work - Part I"
To have anything in life that sustains us, we have to work towards it.
Your happiness and the life you deserve is no different.
Work your job to feed your belly, work on healing to feed your soul.
I made a promise to myself after my mother took her life and that was to never, as hard as it got, give up on myself. I swore to my soul that I would do whatever it takes to heal all the broken pieces of my life, to face both the light and the dark within; and continuously move forward every single day. I would crawl if I had to. I would wail to the sky above me and pound the ground with my fists. Whatever it took to settle the affairs of the past I would do, so that I may look towards the future with eyes and heart wide open.
It all got to be too much at the beginning. Life had ripped away fragments of my heart and soul, leaving me tattered, beaten down and exhausted. I wanted to feel nothing. I wanted to shut down and never think or feel again. At the pinnacle of where the past and the future collided – I could have just given up on life.
Instead, I embraced it. All of it.
It hurt like a hell I never even realized was possible. Seeing everything clearly, knowing and not knowing at the same time what I should do, where I should go or who I could trust. Finding the energy to face every single day
I am no superhero. I am just like you. I deeply feel; I become overwhelmed at times, lose my way in the darkness and have to fight the urge just to lay down and hope for the best. There are days when I just want someone, anyone, to save me when I become convinced I am incapable of saving myself. I’ve been furious and spiteful; mean and hateful; vengeful and petty during the process, as well. For many, many moons my shadow side controlled everything in my world. I was angry. At life. At my mom. At people who contributed to her mental illness and whose meddling in my life ultimately destroyed everything I knew.
I could have let it devour me. I was tempted. Anger is an excellent motivator, until it burns you up from the inside out, leaving nothing but ashes scattering to the winds.
I could have given up and checked out of life. Not feeling, not hoping or do anything more than the bare minimum needed to survive.
I could have turned to substances to dull everything; especially my tumultuous emotions.
But, I didn’t. Instead, I did the work.
I didn’t know where to start or what to do. I just knew I needed to do something. I figured out pretty quick there isn’t a set of instructions or a step-by-step guide to the “work” and the first big lesson that made itself clear to me; that was the first step in actually doing the work. Figuring out where to start and then actually starting. Making the commitment to myself to see my way through to the other side of all of it.
This is where most people stop because they can’t figure out what to do first. They quit before they even start.
I see it all the time in comments on the posts on the Random Thoughts Facebook page. One comment, in particular, I see over and over again and every time I see it I want to scream.
“Easier said than done.”
Well, no shit. Who knew? I will tell you who knows; someone who has done the work or is doing the work. You know how they know? Because they’ve shut themselves up and done the work. It is hard. It is easier said than done. But, they did it anyway because they knew the alternative was a life without meaning, a life that hurt every single day and they feared that pain more than the hard stuff they had to face and deal with while doing what was “easier said than done.” If it were easier, we would all be happy, well-adjusted human beings and life wouldn’t be the constant barrage of memories, reactions and emotions we seem to have to contend with whether we want to or not.
So what if it's easier said than done? Do it anyway.
Phrases like: “Easier said than done” and “I’m not stronger enough” and “I don’t know where to start” are just ways of talking yourself out of doing the work. Because work is hard. Work makes you uncomfortable and challenges you. It’s exhausting.
So damn what?
The amount of effort you spend not doing the work, time you spend convincing yourself everything is fine, and happiness just isn’t in the cards for you in this life, is the exact amount of effort it would take to, oh I don’t know, do the damn work needed to have the life you really do in fact deserve. Happy, content and moving forward.
You are lying to yourself when you say things like: “I’m not strong enough” because you are. You’re still standing after everything up to this moment. You have felt like you were going to break, but you know what – you haven’t. You are strong enough. You’re just afraid.
Use that fear as motivation.
I can hear it now; “But, I am depressed and overwhelmed!” I get that. Do something about it. Try a hundred different things to find one that works. Stop blaming what happened, stop using it as an excuse to do nothing. Depression is a very real thing. Ignoring it doesn’t make it better. It doesn’t give you an out or a free pass not to do the work, either. Yes, I know it’s hard. I watched my mother ignore her depression and bipolar disorder every day for over thirty years. The damage it inflicted was irrevocable after a while because she never did the work needed to get better.
Take the first step. Then, take the next one. You will be amazed by how subsequent steps appear, almost as if by magic, to take you onward in your journey. In the beginning, set your goals. GO BIG. What makes your being come alive? What do YOU want from this one life you’ve been given. Stop listening to what the world is telling you that you need and what you think life is supposed to look like and learn what resonates within your soul. You may not know at first, but trust me, you will when you stumble onto a truth you needed to figure out. You’ll know, and you will hang onto them as your lifeline.
Happiness and contentment are found within the work. With each piece that falls into place, your confidence builds. When you jump the next hurdle, more strength is discovered you didn’t even know you had. When you plant your feet and confront your demons, you find your voice. When you decide that you matter – you start to learn your worth. When all the work begins to come together – you discover your truths.
When you discover your truths, when you get goosebumps up and down your arms and the back of your neck starts to tingle – that is your instincts telling you that you’re almost there. Because once you settle into yourself, find your voice and appreciate your worth – every single thing in your life takes on new meaning and the motivation to move forward springs from a well deep inside your soul that you have never allowed yourself to tap into. You see clearly the life you deserve, and it takes on meaning deeper than the ocean because you are the one who got yourself to this point. You did the work. You did.
You are unstoppable. You are worth it. You are capable. Yes, it’s easier said than done. I’m not saying it isn’t but so what? To have anything in life that sustains us, we have to work towards it. Your happiness and the life you deserve is no different. Work your job to feed your belly, work on healing to feed your soul.
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