Those days

We wake up and it already feels wrong.  We try to excuse the feeling, ignore it, shunt it aside.  It sticks with us. 

So here is where things can change.  Do we let it become ‘one of those days’?  Or do we look for the good regardless?  Sometimes it is hard to find the good.  We all struggle with it.  The pain, the shame, the regret, the anger – they all play a part in making us worse off.  How can we fight that?  

Starting small is the best way.  Anyone still six feet above versus six feet below can find a reason.  Maybe its the color of your skin.  The smile that makes people laugh.  The love of your family.  Whatever it takes.  You are fighting a battle. Dont let the negative win.   

You deserve better. Your family deserves better.  All those around you and those you love deserve better.  Look around you and find something beautiful.  

Today is not just a day worth living but a day worth enjoying.  Smile.  You deserve it. 

We Keep Fighting and Losing

So each day, each night we fight our demons.  They come in waves at times, but never truly leave.  We try to combat them in various ways – we reduce our potential exposure to those temptations, we reset our activities, we change friends, become more thoughtful, start meditating, start an exercise program, take up a healthy hobby, end relationships, maybe even move.  We deal with everything but the root cause.

In the past I have never spoken in the first person, but this is different.  In some important personal recent events, I was forced to face my own weakness in the past.  Yes, I contemplated suicide.  I was alone, without those I valued most, my family were distant at best and hostile at worst.  I had to find a way to support those I had sworn to protect, make myself stronger, and re-focus my mind, body, and spirit.  I was fighting every day and night and losing.  I hid all of these thoughts from everyone.  I have never admitted this to anyone before.  I never told my counselor, my best friend.  I was ashamed of my weakness.

I started with re-framing my major relationships.  I did this for those who needed me the most.  I was not strong enough to fight for myself, so I fought for them.  I refused to be told how to behave/what to think/why to do things.  I worked hard to build on the positive relationships – the ones that had survived.  I pushed back on my family and made them realize I was valid and valuable.  I fought back in small ways and refused to back down.  As someone who hated confrontation, this was very hard for me.  It was my only path to freedom.  Eventually I became strong enough to push back against the worst offenders in my life.  It was ugly for awhile, but I was committed to making a real and lasting change.

I viewed my suicidal thoughts as a weakness that needed a cure and embraced the discipline needed to change it.  Eventually I looked at my suicidal thoughts as the weakest way out of my situation.  I have been given many gifts and for me to persist and resist to the last is what my duty is to those who love me.  They deserve no less.

So every day I fight my demons.  They never fight fair – and what is fair?  Prepare yourself with the love of those who really care.  Be generous and kind with your abilities.  Focus outside and protect those that need you and there is someone, something that will miss you, that needs your help and protection.  My demons come when I am weak.  They know how to take away my focus, take away my strength.  Here is the real secret – they need my permission, my weakness, my lack of focus to take this from me and by extension, those I love.  Do I still lose?  Hell yes.  Will I ever stop fighting?  Hell no.

Be well.  Live, Laugh, and Love.

Defining Courage

There comes a time, some sooner, some later, when we have to stand for something or someone.  These can be defining moments or more simple ones, but their importance is not always apparent immediately.  We may have been fighting this battle internally for months or years in silence and all of a sudden it comes out.  A common reaction to a person who has always cooperated, always been selfless, always worked to find a way, but now is standing firm, is shock.  To those who always took advantage of this situation anger, frustration, and fear creep in.  The aggressor wants to keep the status quo, maintain control, have it their way.  The mental games that are then played by the aggressor can either stop, continue, or escalate.  For someone who is not used to standing up, speaking up, and not backing down, this requires a change in mindset and transition from passion to discipline.

This show of courage must be sustained every day.  This is not simply about a passion, but about a lifestyle.   As the receiver of these negative emotions instills this discipline, there will be hard times.  This is not an easy path to follow.  But if the discipline is allowed to survive then the redefinition of the relationship and all relationships can happen over time.  The rewards are phenomenal.  The pain can also be phenomenal.  But unless the pain is endured and lasting change made, the original and damaging relationship will continue.

Some of the outcomes of these interactions include loss of friendships and a sense of loss of control.  Friendships that do not endure this change were generally not positive friendships.  They were based upon the same negative principles as the main negative relationship.  Make new friends that love and respect you as you are, not as they wish you to be.  Loss of control is simply due a change in the perception of reality.  What was really there was hidden from the negatively impacted person, who chose not to see these things.  Now all of the ugly of the past is in plain sight.  How could you have not seen this?  Why was I so stupid?  How could I let myself be treated this way?

These painful questions are easy to answer but hard to accept.  You chose not to see it.  You were clouded by emotions – love, fear, lust.  You were afraid and unsure that if you stood up that no one would love you.  No one would accept you.  These are the emotions that kept you bound as a prisoner of your own misguided thoughts.

So you have made the choice to stand up and not back down.  You have endured the pain and loneliness.  You bear the scars.  You are also free.  Finally and truly free.  You define who you are and can become.  Find someone who will lift you up, not push you down.  Someone who wants the best for you, because they love you, not because they want what you can provide for them.  Stand.

Live, Laugh, and Love.  Be well.