You have to learn to trust in yourself. You have to believe in yourself. Screw the rest of the world and what it wants from you. What do YOU want from you?
Once you figure that out... Do IT!
Everything else will fall into place.
We sat upon a huge rock letting our legs dangle just above the surging tide, watching as puffs of sea foam fluttered around our shoes. For the moment, hearing nothing more than the crash of the waves and haunting cries from the passing gulls, I let the world slip away and simply focused on the rise and fall of the waves as they came ashore. It felt like stolen peace. Call me a thief but I needed it. The woman sitting next to me did too.
After a few moments she peered at me from the corner of her startling green eyes and sighed, turning her gaze back to the ocean she said, "Why do I keep making the same mistakes?" I could feel the weight of each word as it left her mouth. Each word spoken heavy with defeat, wrought with self-loathing, and laced with a sadness that went straight to my heart. "If it is not abusive men then it is my drinking and if it is not my drinking then it is spending all the money I have saved and not being able to pay my bills," she forced these words out of her mouth, biting each one of them off as she said them. Her jaw clenched tight as she fought the barrage of emotions threatening to overwhelm her, looking me straight in the eyes she said, "Why do I sabotage everything good, why do I keep making the same mistakes over-and-over again?"
"Why can't I get it right?"
I looked at her sitting there, a strong and intelligent woman, a woman who had faced some serious adversities in life and yet- was still standing. A woman who couldn't be broken for she always found ways to put the pieces back together. She was strong. She was smart. However, what she wasn't - was trusting. She didn't trust happy. She didn't trust content. For whenever happiness descended upon her life, one eye was always on the look-out for the bad that had to come eventually. That was the way her life went. Though she didn't trust the good times - she most definitely trusted in the bad. She trusted it to always come. So instead of allowing herself to be blindsided by it - she brought it in herself. I think on some level thinking that if she brought the bad in then she must be in control of it. Never works that way but it is amazing what we can convince ourselves of when needed.
I know exactly how she is feeling as I am there myself with a situation I find myself in. A repeat of a life lesson that I was sure I had fully mastered but apparently didn't. Took me awhile to realize that I was repeating some old habits and when I did - holy epiphany batman! I was shocked and furious at myself. How could I find myself in a situation so close to one I had already been through? How could I have not seen it sooner? How could I have let myself so easily slip back into a pattern that I swore never to find myself in again?
Apparently life decided that it needed to test my resolve. A sudden pop-quiz to see if I had fully embraced the life lesson. Did I make it a part of my soul? Did I fully absorb the knowledge? Could I put what I had learned to use? Well, it appears maybe I didn't. My friend hadn't either. Because if we had - we wouldn't be facing the same things over-and-over again and still not getting it right.
Life lessons teach us. Life lessons change us. We came. We fought. We conquered. Right? But, what happens down the road when something comes up that you should be completely prepared to handle - you've learned the lessons, you’ve earned your knowledge and are armed with a been-there-done-that attitude and yet, still make the same mistake as you did in the past? By falling into the same habits, reacting or overreacting the same way, allowing yourself to be blind to the truth until it was too late, falling in love with the same type of unhealthy partner or whatever behavior it is that felt like it was what you were supposed to be doing - but in truth isn't even remotely close to applying the hard-earned lessons of the past or trusting in your knowledge of all the ways NOT to do something?
Why are we sabotaging ourselves and setting ourselves up to always fail?
We don't trust in ourselves. We don't trust in our instincts or our guts and for some - we do not believe we deserve to be happy or content for any myriad of bullshit reasons. We convince ourselves that we deserve it. We go in circles because it is a pattern that we are comfortable with – unhealthy or bad doesn’t seem to matter. Why should things be any different? Why should I be happy? We ignore the warning signs and jump right in because at least we know what is coming and we won’t be surprised. We got this because we had it in the past. It is a viscous cycle.
We need to stop.
Look for that which repeats again-and again in your life. Certain situations that you find yourself in, lovers you choose, your coping mechanisms be they drinking, bouts of depression, or moments of undeniable rage. Look to that which repeats for this is the lesson you most need to absorb into your soul once and for all. It keeps happening because it is what you are bringing into your life by not getting it all the times before.
For my friend and for me too - the repeating circumstances are ones that we have faced more than once. Each time falling into old habits and pulling the shield of old fears around ourselves like a cloak. We handle it over-and-over again because we know that we can - we did before right? It is a bad that is known. It is a bad that we beat before. It is kind of like stacking a deck of cards - if you always know what is coming next, you will always know how to play them but in doing so you limit yourself to doing better. You limit the highest possible levels in life that you could reach.
Look for that which repeats in your life. Ask yourself why. Why do you resort to destructive behaviors? Why do you allow your depression to control you? Why do you take toxic lovers? Why do you constantly let a certain type of person always have an emotional hold over you? Do not be afraid to ask these questions and be less afraid of the answers. Be truthful with yourself even if the answers are painful and honestly, often times they are. However, the answers will highlight your weakest points and while no one ever wants to see them you need to see them. You need to address them. You are only as strong as YOUR weakest point and identifying it and working on making it stronger will only make YOU stronger.
Trust that the lessons of the past will prepare you for whatever the future holds and when faced with someone you know isn't right for you or when something you have faced before and conquered comes around again - do not sell yourself out because you feel like you deserve it. You don't.
"When will I get it right?" she asked.
When you weave the lessons you have learned into your very being and trust in yourself. When you trust in the happy and when you release the comfort of the bad. I replied. When you stop making the same mistakes over-and-over again because you do not feel like you deserve better. When you learn to take care of yourself. When you learn that it is better to be alone and sure of your heart then it is to be with someone who hurts you. When you see that your destructive behavior is only caused by one thing, the one lesson you still haven't gotten yet, and that is this...
You have to learn to trust in yourself. You have to believe in yourself. Screw the rest of the world and what it wants from you. What do YOU want from you? Once you figure that out... Do IT!
Everything else will fall into place.
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