I can remember years ago when I always looked for something/someone to bring meaning and fullness to my life. I looked externally for that thing that was going to make my life better. Was there a right guy (well yes there was a right guy but that's not the point) or a lesson that was going to make my life perfect? First I had to give up on having a perfect life. There are too many variables and too many people in the world for anyone's life to be perfect. We've all gotta give up on that.
It started when I was in my early twenties. I saw an elderly couple at Shoney's when the boys were still small. The couple looked like perfect happiness to me. It got me thinking that, after living many years, maybe they had learned all the right lessons and because of that their life was now total bliss. So there I went. I decided to get a jump on it. It was time for me to cram. I wanted to learn all they "probably" knew while I was still young so that I could start being happy sooner and longer.
Okay, so eventually I learned that getting older wasn't what makes people happy. My job is working with elderly folks on a daily basis. So, the proof is in front of me all the time that age has nothing to do with happiness. I have also realized that if people never learn that they choose to be happy or sad then they will continue to carry unhappiness with them no matter what age. Once they spend a lifetime thinking that a bad life happened to them, it's much harder to get them to see that they chose it.
Now I'm going to get into the real point of this whole thing.
If you are looking everywhere to find the thing that is going to make you happy you are going to be looking your whole life. It is not out there.
Sit down and tell your story. Write it on paper, tell it to a friend or speak it into a voice recorder on your phone but tell it. Tell it, every terrible and happy detail and tell it like you are proud of it. As long as you hold back, never meeting it head on, you will keep looking for something/someone to make you happy when really the thing you are looking for is YOU. YOU, exactly like you are!!!!!! The self loathing keeps you looking for love that will take that loathing away. You can be that love. You can learn to love yourself. You want to find someone to accept you and make you feel worthy of love because you do not accept you nor do you love yourself. You think if someone else can love you your life will be complete. It's not that way. If you can learn to love yourself then your wholeness will finally draw that person your way that you can find happiness with. There are a lot of people who put the cart before the horse on this and then they end up in a relationship that won't last unless they are willing to work this all out while they are with that person. As long as you have that old ghost of you in the closet that you don't want others to see, he's gonna haunt you and you'll always be afraid someone else is going to see him.
If you think you are off the hook because you have someone you'd be wrong. If you are in a happy relationship that feels like a partnership between two people who treat each other as equals and love each other just as you both are then you are off the hook. If you cannot say that then you are still looking to find YOU. People try to shape other people because they feel themselves like they need shaping. People do not treat other people as less and they do not try to change others unless they themselves feel like they need changing. You do not treat people poorly or allow people to treat you poorly unless you don't feel whole.
Our relationships are a mirror we hold up in front of us. If you like what you see in the other person then you've already done something right or it's just to early to know. If you don't like it then there is work to be done. The work starts with you first. If you learn to love yourself the bumps will either smooth out or the person will leave (or you will ask them to leave) the relationship to make space for that person that mirrors the shiny new you. In my case I had to let the person go because they wanted me to stay the same as I was at 23. Wanting things for myself made them feel like they weren't getting loved anymore and I had grown tired of living my life for them and having nothing left for me. This can happen with friends as well.
Those things you don't love about yourself have another life. Every bad thing you can think of has an opposite. One of my things (we've discussed before/kind of worn it out by now) is that I am stubborn. That can be an asshole of a trait but there's a good side to it too. Because I am stubborn I will stand my ground if I need to. I will find a way. And I will not let anyone talk me into something I don't agree with.
Do this, draw a line down a page to make two lists. On one side put "my bad traits" and the other side write "How does it work for me?" For everything you list that you don't like about yourself, beside it, on the other half of the page, write about how it serves you in your life in a positive way. You will see that you need those bad traits because without them your paper would be blank on both sides.
If there is no good in the trait, there's a problem. You need to let go of that trait. An example of a trait that should be released is violent/abusive behavior. No one has to tell you this does not serve you or anyone else for the good. You already know it doesn't. Of all the people who could benefit from what I am saying here you need this the most. By brute force or emotional abuse you try to force people to be the thing that makes you feel better about yourself. That is not okay. They will never make you better and as long as you do this your life will never be happy. With this behaviour you try to force love and with this behavior you will always push it away.
If you allow others to abuse you, you are in a cycle that will be hard to get out of. Sometimes when people let others hurt them it is because the loving attention they get from family and friends for being a victim makes them feel valued. If they walk away they will have to learn to find value another way. This person is another person who could benefit a lot from the things I've said here. If you value yourself you'll never stay with an abuser. If you get trapped in the need for people to pity you, you will have a long struggle that won't end until you can break that cycle. You have to own your part. You make the choice of how you allow others to treat you. No one can make that choice for you.
I have to talk about this subject before I close this out because I never told you the other side of changing the way I parented. I know most people won't agree with my parenting style and you are welcome to disagree but first let me tell you how it worked. My parenting evolved into treating my children with the same respect I'd treat anyone I was acquainted with. I allowed them to have a different opinion than me. Sometimes they didn't like my answer and I knew they were mad by the way they stomped back to their rooms but I allowed them their opinion. I didn't want to teach them that their opinion didn't matter. I can tell you this for sure, when I made that change they started to respect me more than they ever did when I was heavy on discipline. In high school Lance was talking to a friend who had to get off the phone because she was grounded and he asked her why she was always in trouble. She said it was because she talked back to her parents. He said, "I would never do that to my Mom and I can't even think of a reason why I'd ever need to." He told me this story like he couldn't believe children act that way. I taught my children to respect me when I learned to respect them. Sometimes we get wrapped up in the need to be right and the need to win and be respected. When we do this we turn parenting into a battle of wills when it doesn't have to be.
I started to turn my life around more than 20 years ago and it has only gotten better every year. I told my ugly dark side so now I'm trying to give you a timeline for when things changed. I've got a lot of years under my belt of living the way I do and I would never go back to the way I was before I saw that couple in Shoney's and decided to get happy.
I have spent the last week telling my stories and I have never had so many people respond to my posts like they have to these. Everyone who responded had something positive to say. I put my ugly truths out for everyone to see because I know there is power in that. We see each other in passing everyday and we never get to see inside a mind, a heart or behind a closed door. It is easy to think that people aren't going through a lot when you aren't walking in their shoes and all you see is just a face not knowing what's behind it. I promise you that we are all more alike than we seem. I wanted to be strong and stand up because I want to encourage you to be strong and stand up if you haven't ever felt like you could. It might be the thing that's been holding you back. You can do it and when you do, it will change your life forever. You've got this. You can start today. It's never too late. You don't even have to do it on Facebook like I did, so that should make it easier.
Telling you stories frees others to tell theirs. So, free yourself and free those around you.
note: I wish I could make posts like these short so people wouldn't mind reading them but it's hard to condense it all. If you stayed with me to the end of this series love your heart. You are awesome.
note: Oh and just in case anyone wondered about it, more people clicked on the promiscuity post than any other. Actually, that is the most viewed post I have ever written including ones that have been on here the longest and had way more opportunity for viewing. I can see that sort of thing in my blog stats people. Don't let that make you feel perverted though. See I've already begun to pull your skeleton's from the closet, wink wink. It's so funny it makes me smile.