- Mental Health»
The Changes We Decide to Make to Ourselves
It's not an easy path to take when we want to change the negatives about ourselves.
A few years ago, a friend told me they didn’t know what was going on with me, but that I had become a very negative person, and it was very painful to be around me. Then a few days after that, another friend told me something similar. It hurt, and even though I wanted to be angry with them, but I could not. Because the reasons and examples that were given were completely accurate. I had allowed myself to become a victim, a martyr if you will.
I took a very hard look at why I was being that way, when it was against who I thought myself to be. I became extremely introspective, and went to some of the dark places within myself. What I found was that it stemmed from several situations that were going on at the time. My marriage was in a death throes, my mother had just passed away, I had lost my belief in myself, lost my faith in the religion of my upbringing. Basically, I had lost myself.
I started reading everything I could find to turn the negatives into positives. I began to focus on my attributes rather than my flaws. I learned to accept my mistakes as a part of who I am. I learned to let go of the antagonistic attitudes that were pushing people away from me. I had to learn that the adverse situations were only made worse by my cynicism and snide remarks.
I could not continue to allow myself to be a victim. I could not let situations get the better of me and me not do anything to stop it. I had to stop the self-loathing. I had to take control of my life back.
The past was over with, there was no changing what had happened. I needed to come to terms with all that had transpired. I had to learn to let go of the pain. I had to accept not only the torment that had been done to me, but the injury I had done to others.
For someone who has issues of abandonment, letting go is not something that comes easily. But this matter of contention was something I needed to deal with if I was to have hope of moving on. I read books by Iyanla Vanzant, Louise Hayes, and Maya Angelou. The stories of these strong women inspired me, and showed me that letting go wasn't as painful or detrimental as I had learned to believe it was.
I accepted that this would not be an overnight process, there would be those who would try to keep me as I was, those that wouldn't accept me changing from who I had been, to who I envisioned inside of me. In the book “In the Meantime” by Iyanla Vanzant, the author described the process as one doing a thorough cleaning of a house, starting in the basement, and that as you move up the steps to the floors above, you learn and let go a little more, and slowly over time, you find that the negative attitudes are replaced by your positive efforts. That as you took a breather as you made it to the next floor, and you look back as the work you had done, you will gain confidence, self-worth, and humility in what you have accomplished, and what you have learned about yourself. I’m not where I want to be, I still have a long way to go, however, I like who I am now. I have more of an idea of who I am. I have good days, and bad days still. I still do the proverbial 3 steps forward, 2 steps backwards, but either way it comes out that I’m a step ahead of where I was before.
Time and patience are both your friend and your enemy when changing who you are. You want to see the changes within yourself, you want the demons that plague your mind to go away, and you want the self-doubt to be alleviated. This time is a very vulnerable time, you’ll want to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol, but self-medication is not the answer. If you have had the strength to make it through the realization that something must change, then you will have the strength to make it through the pain of acknowledging the hurt you have caused others. And most of all acknowledging the pain you have inflicted upon yourself. This last is the hardest to come to terms with, because we must love ourselves before we become worthy of the love we all deserve.
There is a lot of insecurity that comes from trying to revamp who you are. You aren't sure if you are making the right decisions. You question everything you are doing, doubting yourself. What I discovered when I listened to my instincts, my inner voice, even if what needed to be done was the most difficult of the choices, the most formidable option was the right alternative. As the selection of the right fixes to whatever the situation were the correct ones for me, I start believing in myself more and more.
Because of the verbal smack on the head, by those that love me the most, with the wake up call of needing to change my attitude, I focus more on the blessings that I have, instead of the things I don’t. I needed to focus on the blessings no matter how insignificant they seem, because even those small blessings are more than what another might have.
It’s not easy to stay positive all the time, in fact it is impossible. But even during an adverse time, I can now find something to be thankful for. I have the tools to do so, and by no longer allowing myself to be the victim, I find that I'm attracting healthier people in my life. I've weeded out the toxicity, and know that I am able to help someone else who is on the same path of becoming a better person by sharing the tools I have utilized to move me past my own martyrdom, and on to the path were peace of mind mostly reigns.