A Case for Change
For the last 30 plus days or so, I have been on a deep internal pilgrimage of sorts. I think it's fair to say everyone has an innate "what am I doing here / what am I supposed to do?" inside them that drives them to make choices according to what they believe that internal voice is saying. August was no different for me.
First let me reassure you that, NO I did not join a cult, NO I will not be coming to your house to distribute literature, and NO I will not be condemning anybody to any place of torment or any place of bliss for that matter.
What I will share is the nature of the personal change that manifested itself a month ago.
I've forever been a "self-helper". I have always believed that there is a greater purpose for us all on this planet and that there are just too many things that don't make sense to me.
While listening to an audio book in late July, it occurred to me that I had let some bad emotional habits creep in and stick around like some unwanted house guests. Much like Cousin Eddie in Christmas Vacation. They just magically showed up and had no plans on leaving.
After analyzing and sorting out the emotional gremlins that needed to be exorcised, I realized that my biggest issue came down to habits...or lack thereof.
If an alcoholic seeks to become sober, they can join AA and get a myriad of tools and support from other alcoholics. If a drug addict seeks to come clean, they can join NA and get much of the same. What does an emotion-holic do?
Yes EMOTION-HOLIC! I had become addicted to a certain set of emotions that I used to define my existence. Those emotions ran my life in a way that was not only destructive, but also led me to behave and think in ways I never had done before, and therefore needed to make my own support system.
Let me back track a little.
Right at the time I secured the business loan needed to acquire my new press and warehouse property, I was informed by a family member that they were no longer able to care for my mother and would be dropping her off for me to care for in her last years on this planet. This part of the story is actually quite long, but I mention it only as a reference of what set me off into an emotional tailspin. The reason for lack of detail and context here will make itself known at the end of this blog.
Please do not offer "OMG i'm so sorry" or anything like that. I'm not seeking any supportive measures. In all honesty I am 100% ok with all of this now. It took some time and serious work, but I have moved on and realized that caring for mom in here last years here on earth was the biggest blessing I could ever have. I'm merely painting the picture of where and how this all began.
I think anybody in the same situation would be of the same mindset..."YOU F@#$NG MOTHER F(*@#$R I WANT TO F@#$@%NG STRING YOUR A$$ UP FROM A BRIDGE!"
I let that exact mentality rule me for over two years. THAT IS NO WAY TO LIVE!
I allowed that anger, hatred, frustration, sadness and self-pity start and finish my day, every day. I woke up dreading how it would all work out and went to bed scared of waking up.
The epiphany I had in late July was these emotions became habits. I was so lost in "feeling crappy" every day that I forgot how to get myself out of this mess, like I used to.
What's a man to do? I created new habits. I literally went from anger one second to overjoyed the next. I realized I had all the tools I needed to not only get out of this horrible headspace I was in but could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Step One: Identify Triggers
Find the "things" that set me off on a regular basis. I literally picked apart my head and started writing down everything that I could, so I could create tools to counter those triggers.
Step Two: Create Those Tools
One thing I had become excessively good at was having an argument in my mind, that never even existed, and I let it make me angry as though it had actually happened. (yeah I know. that's really dumb) So I had to put a hard stop to that IMMEDIATELY. I had to start saying out loud "that's a fake conversation and is only imaginary" every time I would start to have one of those moments. I also created a whole list of things to be grateful for...and it's a BIG F@$#%NG LIST! When you realize what you have, how awesome it is and that you are blessed beyond measure, it's hard to stay angry for too long if you truly appreciate those things.
Step Three: Meditate
I started meditating every day for 10-15 minutes. Nothing fancy, just sitting in silence and learning to clear my mind a bit. WOW what a difference that made in the direction of my day. Seriously, I never thought something so simple would make such a huge difference.
Step Four: Positive Self Feedback
Purposely fill my head with positive words only. I listened to almost no music for a whole month. I literally spent the entire month focused on books on audio, motivational and inspirational videos on YouTube and uplifting podcasts. I found some great videos to play during my sleep as well. I have spent my entire youth being programmed by alcoholics and drug addicts and those programs have played out for the majority of my life so it was imperative to me to start making drastic changes in what goes into my ears and eyes.
I've had to forgive myself as well as the people I felt "wronged" me in anyway. My life story had always been about being raised in a messed-up family. WHY? WHY would I let that experience stick around so long? It's what most of us do. We have an experience and therefore we become that experience. When I realized that it all amounted to a giant "who cares" in my world, I was able to find new stories to cling to as defining who I am and what I'm about, but it came at a cost. Forgiveness. You have to be willing to let all that go. No more hanging on to it, no more telling others about how you've been wronged. No more repeating the drama and or trauma you went through. It doesn't mean it never happened, but it means you're choosing how you define who you are and how you move forward with the remainder of the time you have left.
So there it is. My last 30+ days of personal, emotional rehab. I hope this story can resonate with some of you to the point it will serve as either inspiration to make changes in your own life (if needed) or serve as motivation to keep going to break through. Some will say “but it’s so hard and I just can’t”. Honestly what was hard is being hurt and angry every day and letting my self be triggered by events and people that were no longer in the picture. Once I saw the path out of the woods, it was the easiest thing to step on to. It never felt like work. Every day is now a joy to wake up and fill my mind and soul with kindness and thoughtful living.
I wish you all nothing but the very best in life, love and prosperity.
If you are having a bad day, be kind to yourself.