How You Can Tell It's Time To Reinvent Your Life (And Tips On How)
Let's Start At The End Of My Sad Life
I am not a happy guy.
This is something I've always felt on a subconscious level, but never really accepted until recently. You see, I've gone through my life facing a seemingly never-ending series of failed relationships- including romantic, platonic, and professional. Each time, I tried to extract some valuable life lesson from the experience and move on, but I always find it very difficult to do that. Letting things and people that truly don't matter go was not my strong suit and I never really understood why that was. Let me give you a little backstory here.
I met a gal recently who was destined to become my latest disappointment, let's call her..."Spooky". We lasted 3 months, and during those 3 months, it was mostly amazing, but only because I zeroed in on her good qualities, while conveniently ignoring her bad ones. This is my pattern; if a person shows interest in me, I latch onto that immediately and try to hold on to it no matter the cost. I believed I could help them fight their inner wars, and that they'd appreciate me for being a positive force in their lives. It's happened many times before and it happened again with Spooky.
Now I wasn't a completely hopeless case. From past experiences, I get a little smarter each time and was able to notice when Spooky's happiness with me went from "overjoyed" to "meh," and I tried to talk to her about it and, realizing it was futile, I walked away...
for about 3 days.
She surprised me by actually fighting to get me back, so we worked things out and there was much rejoicing (yay). However, things never got back on track and almost immediately I noticed another steady decline in enthusiasm, affection, and overall "give-a-shitness." I tried to tell her this and she claimed I was paranoid, so I let it go. Things got even worse, and I finally realized that Spooky wasn't who I hoped she'd be and I had to cut her loose before she dragged me down into the dark abyss she was heading into. That metaphor may sound overly dramatic, but trust me, it's disturbingly accurate. Although, I do believe she can have real, lasting happiness if only she'd admit to herself that she is capable of having it, and that she deserves it (which she totally does.) It would have been great if I was enough to make her see that, especially while we were together so we still, you know...could be, but that's fate and we can't dwell on such things. Besides, I never would have had my life-altering epiphany about myself.
You Can't Keep Safe What Wants To Break
I think life is funny.
I think everyone who enters our lives, even briefly, is meant to serve a purpose to us (and us to them). After I left her, instead of the usual sorrow, regret, and second-guessing, something became shockingly clear; Yes, she is a broken "lost soul," and very much like all the other people (mostly romantic pursuits) I encounter, but this time I stopped and asked myself why this keeps happening. The answer is, because I am a "lost soul" myself, and I am full to the breaking point with negativity and anxiety. I always knew I was unlucky in love and friendship, but could never really pinpoint the reason why I kept attracting these damaged women, or flaky acquaintances. It's the law of attraction.
That was Spooky's role to play in the story of my life; I needed her to act as the catalyst for my epiphany and now that she has, she's out of my life. I know that hard choice I made was also the right one, but I think of her often and I hope she's on her way to being free of her demons, before they drag her down to the bottom. I'd like to think that one day, we will cross paths and pick up right where we left off, both as stronger, well-adjusted people, but one of the things I have learned is that it does no good to think of such fantasies. Her path is her own, it always has been. I just hope I steered her a bit towards the right one.
These negative forces always found me because my self-loathing, dependency, stress and anxiety made me a negative force and, in our relationships, negative attracts negative. For the first time, I saw myself from an outside perspective and realized how I felt about myself put out negative vibes that well-adjusted happy people could sense and wanted to avoid. Also, it often put me in places where I would meet other negative people, like online dating sites.
No One Is Going To Give It To You, You Have To Earn It Yourself
To clarify the online dating revelation, it's simple, online dating sites can be effective in matching perfectly well-adjusted people up who just don't have time to go out and meet people. However, most of them are a giant cesspool for sad, lonely, broken, horny, douchey, and pathetic people. I was one of those people, looking for somebody good and decent...in a damn cesspool. That's like trying to catch a prize fish in a toxic waste dump.
But I kept going back to these and other negative environments, again and again, hoping for different results, which, if you listen to Einstein, is the true definition of insanity. I was hoping to find someone to love and respect me when I didn't love and respect myself, and that never, ever happens.
So after I left Spooky, I started thinking differently. I knew if I was ever going to get a kind, decent woman or interesting, high-quality friends, and a bright outlook on my future, it was ME that had to change, and after many years of being in denial, I said enough. I want my life back.
Now, here's how I plan on doing just that.
My 4-Pronged Battle Plan
Now, I don't like the idea of popping a pill in hopes of feeling better and I'd never recommend meds as a cure for depression or anxiety. In fact, if you read some of the possible side-effects to certain pills, they actually say they might make the problem worse. Now, that's in a small percentage of people, but still....holy crap. So I did some research and found that Wellbutrin has the least serious side-effects and I plan on using it only as a temporary solution while I learn and master the other things I've found. This part is entirely optional for you.
Another part of the medicinal aspect is holistic/alternative medicine, such as relaxation therapy and acupuncture. I've had one session of acupuncture already, and it was strange, but exciting. The professional that administered the treatment said that new patients often see results after their second or third treatments while their qi energy adjusts.
I'm not a religious man, in fact I am agnostic (not to be confused with atheist), so when I say spiritual, to me, that means in touch with nature and spiritual energies. But for you, it can mean God, Buddha, or the guy who brings you the poisoned Kool-Aid.
I am learning new anxiety/stress relief techniques in Yoga, such as "grounding." Also, I get outside and just relax in a park, or the beach, occasionally bringing a notebook to write whatever pops into my head (so that I can get it out of there.)
There are a number of other spiritual methods to clear one's mind that I haven't even discovered yet, and that's half the fun of this.
I am also trying to get in some regular sessions with a psychologist. There are many types of therapy that may or may not work for you, and experimenting or researching ahead of time is highly recommended. Make sure the therapist really has a grasp of what it is you are going through and makes notes. If you don't feel comfortable in sessions, or don't feel it's working for you, don't be afraid to try someone else or a different technique.
Also, if you feel you can't afford weekly therapy, don't fret, there are plenty of "sliding-scale" options that fit within any budget, just be patient as the cheaper the option, the more people are going to be wanting it.
I found this program purely by accident and was extremely skeptical of any self-help programs advertised online, but some dude named Ryan Riviera made one hell of a good sales pitch for his "Triad Technique" program for eliminating stress, panic, and anxiety. (I highly recommend taking the free anxiety test, then you'll hear the sales pitch.) He gives a 7-day trial and, if satisfied, the thing only costs $67, so I figured what the hell, I would have tried almost anything to find ways to live positive.
The program is pretty damn good so far. It's challenged the way I think about problems I face on a daily basis, and provides some valuable tools to retrain your brain's way of dealing with stress, fear, doubt, etc. I can honestly say that, so far anyway, this has been the most hope-inducing step I've taken.
Goodbye To Everything I'm Leaving Behind
So that's it, that's my plan for reprogramming my mind and taking full control of my life.
There's a lyric from a group called Atmosphere that's been playing over and over in my head since I started this journey- "Well okay it's settled, no more nights inside this weed and thorn infested meadow, uh-uh, from this day forth only forward I'll pedal, get the memo, I'm cutting the strings Gepetto"
I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt, I felt halfway to happiness from just making the decision to change, and if I stick with it, without straying, I know this new path will give me everything I know I deserve: A great life, with a great woman, in a great house, with a great career, and great confidence like I've never felt before.
You can have it to. All you have to do is admit that the way you're doing things now, isn't working, and you need to change.
Here's some helpful, and hilarious, links that can further inspire you to turn your life around.
1. 4 Difficult Life Lessons (That Are Worth It)