Standing alone is one of the most frightening things in the world, but one of the most important lessons we can ever learn. Standing alone allows us to make our own decisions and live life the way we want to, to develop healthy relationships with others, but learning to develop that level of trust in ourselves is not an easy thing to do. You’re constantly thinking, “what if I screw up? What if I make the wrong decision?”
But being alone is nothing to be afraid of. The world will not end if you have to rely on yourself sometimes. Someone else’s judgment is not superior to yours simply because they’re someone else. When you’re so afraid to believe in anything you think and act on it, you start to rely on others to make those decisions for you, and it’s draining to support someone else’s life for them.
But standing on your own sometimes will do you good. People may be there to support you when you need it, but they can’t offer you all the answers. When it comes down to it, you’re the one with the solutions. You can come to someone to check and see if you’re doing something “right” or not, but the thing is, they can’t tell you anyway. It’s your life to lead, and regardless of what they think or tell you, it’s up to you to decide what you’re going to do, or what you’re not going to do. What they think may not be best for you. They may try to steer you in the direction that they think will help you, but in the end, you are the one that has to live with your decisions, not them.
And you know what? It doesn’t matter if you end up screwing up. It doesn’t matter if things screw up a lot, even. Life is bound to lead us into screw-ups no matter what we do. Life hurts. But when something good comes around, we should celebrate it, not hold ourselves back just because we’re afraid of more pain. Pain will come anyway, but good times are special. Do what you think is right, and when things start screwing up, trust yourself and do what you think is right then, too.
There is no clear-cut right or wrong path to take. But there is your path, and the decisions you make pave it. No matter what happens, you’ll have something to take from it, so don’t be afraid of taking steps forward. Nobody can tell you what’s right or wrong for you, because nobody knows. Nobody but you.
Deep down, even if you’re afraid of the answers, you know what you should do. You’re just afraid to take those steps forward and cause a change, because you feel as if things will only go downhill from here. You feel as if you will never have the same level of happiness if you let go of what you have at this moment. But the thing is, you never WILL know how happy you can be unless you start moving. And, sure, you may be less happy than what you are right now. But you know what comes after that? Something that will be better, because nothing stays the same forever. Happiness happens, and sadness happens, and that’s just how the ride goes.
Don’t be afraid to let go of a shred of happiness for fear of pain. You’re going to hurt no matter what happens. You have to learn to let go, so you can start living.
Sometimes there are just no easy resolutions.
There are points when I have trouble accepting that — my last journal entry marks one of those points, but this one marks something different.
Sometimes there are just simple facts. One of those is that life goes on.
Many times in my life, I’ve wanted life to stop instead. I wanted a moment to breathe, to move. But sometimes the moments where we cannot stop speak more for how strong we are once we reach the other side and do have a moment to sit and look back.
In recovery, just as it is in life, each hurdle seems a mountain to climb, but once overcome, it’s another challenge won and another reason to push forward. No one ever reached the other side by jumping over it — mountains are things that must be conquered with courageous steps, one foot in front of the other.
And sometimes, inevitably, there are avalanches. But that’s okay. When you’re climbing a mountain covered in so much snow, there are moments when it’s hard not to be overwhelmed. It’s not a reason to give up and make camp at the bottom. Just remember that when the snow clears, there’s still something waiting for you on the other side, and you can still reach it.
I want to be able to smile — not just for my friends, but for myself. I want to be able to say I reached the other side of that mountain and wear a smile on my face, because even if no one else can see it, I achieved something. Even if the only applause I receive is the silence of a single day of peace, I will have risen as the victor.
I will be able to say, just for a while, that I truly love myself for who I am and what I’ve done. Because when I look at it, really look, I wouldn’t want to lose what I think and what I believe for anything. I wouldn’t want to lose me — and I am more than the happy face I put on because I have to. I am the struggles that have brought me to where I am, I am the sorrow that has led me to understand them, and I am the courage that allows me to rise above them.
Today feels more beautiful than it has for a while.
I feel I’m understanding things more with every forward step I take.
Others finding out what I had done upset me, but it also discouraged me. Keeping something like that to yourself probably only encourages you to continue it — if no one knows, they can’t care, and drawing attention to yourself in that way makes you realize that people actually do care.
It’s good to keep that in mind — really digest it.
I think it made me wake up a little. That things have gotten so serious I’ve taken to hurting myself, and I need to stop these bad thought processes I get myself into. Ninety percent of the time it’s only in my mind. Sometimes I just keep waiting for things to crumble, but I don’t think it really will. Not as long as I keep holding on.
But how can it be okay to be this way? It’s okay because it’s normal.
For everything you have been through, it is completely natural and normal. I don’t think “everyone else” is unlike you. I think there are many people like you. I think that makes it very normal. It doesn’t make it easy to deal with, but that doesn’t mean it’s not normal.
A lot of people don’t understand, or don’t know how to understand, or they are hurting as well and thinking of themselves. It’s hard not to think of yourself when you’re hurting. Everyone does that, because when you hurt so bad you just want to sort through it. Some people may see you as being selfish, but that doesn’t make it true. It just makes them ignorant. They simply don’t know what you’re going through.
It’s frustrating to be this way but have so little control over it.
But eventually, when we have enough time to breathe, it turns around again and we can talk normally. Sometimes you just have to take a step back and let things air out. If you continue to talk sometimes it can make things worse and exacerbate the thing you were upset about. If you start to feel bad about something, sometimes it’s best just to step away instead of pushing yourself.
Sometimes you can’t help but feel angry with yourself because things aren’t going well when you vent to others. You feel pressured to get over it, but you can’t. There is no “you don’t want to” — you simply can’t.
But it’s not your fault. There are ways of thinking and feeling that you have to ease into. As long as you keep your mind at least a little open to them, you’ll be okay. You don’t have to change all at once.
Knowing that you’re better than you used to be is such an amazing accomplishment. You really shouldn’t blame yourself for not being better. You’ve made progress, and that’s wonderful. That IS better. As better as you need to be right now. You don’t have to be any “better” than that.
Sometimes I forget that recovery is still an ongoing process.
Sometimes I think that it’s behind me, but it’s not completely. There’s still so much ground for me to cover. But I’ve made it so far now that I can’t simply quit.
I’m terrified of the moments when I feel angry or upset again. I’m afraid that I’m going backward instead of forward. But maybe that’s not true. Maybe it’s just another hurdle in the process of recovery, another obstacle to overcome.
Maybe I have to accept that sometimes recovering is going to be frustrating and painful.
But it’s okay to feel those things. It’s okay to allow your anger to come out instead of holding it in. It’s okay to have these emotions. What isn’t okay is not allowing yourself to have them.
It’s difficult sometimes when the people around you can’t quite comprehend what you’re dealing with—when they have the ability to see things the way they choose more easily than you. It’s difficult because sometimes you feel jealous of that ability. It would be so much easier to never have gone through the circumstances that require recovery and so much change—so much that forces you to tear apart what you believe, even if it’s for your own good.
It would be easier, but it wouldn’t make you the more beautiful for it. Being able to soar and succeed after so much pain and falling is an incredible thing. It makes you a person so admirable.
It makes you a survivor.
I didn’t have absolute faith in recovery.
I think everyone who is recovering has a shred of hope, but they don’t have belief. If they stick with it, that hope increases, and little by little the trust in ourselves grows.
If you find yourself down and hating who you are, please don’t believe that you don’t deserve it. Allow yourself to admit that you need help—allow yourself to change.
For so long I fervently denied the help of others. I wanted to brave it all myself, to prove that I can be good enough. Strong enough. Seeking help made me feel like I was taking the weak path, and I didn’t want to be seen as weak. I wanted to be seen as worthy.
But being worthy doesn’t mean denying yourself assistance from others. Being strong and independent doesn’t mean trying to cut everyone out of your life and denying their help. It means being able to care for yourself when you need it—and sometimes that means letting others into your life to help you do so.
The feeling of not having to be afraid of everything that used to worry me is amazing. The feeling of allowing myself to believe in the love of others—to trust—is the most securing thing I have ever experienced, and no longer do I hurt myself so much thinking about sex.
No longer do I have to think that it is only selfish. No longer do I have to think about ways to force myself into being “normal.” Because now, thinking about it is easy.
Thinking about it, for once, feels safe.
I don’t feel caught between urges and fears anymore, as if I’m battling two different parts of myself. I feel both of them calming and receding and sex with the one I love is a comforting thought.
I have begun to open up and talk to others—in loving myself, I have become more of the friend and good example than I ever have. I have begun to fulfill all of the desires I had to be capable and social and loving simply by taking care of myself first.
I did it by being honest with those I love. By working for this in changing my beliefs and turning my negativity around. And it has been work—but so satisfying.
So to myself I say … ALWAYS take that chance.
And start by loving the person that you have abused far longer and more than was ever deserved: yourself.
I could be where she is.
If things hadn’t changed, I could be exactly where she is.
That was what I thought last night when I thought about my friend who is suffering so much. Her mother has manipulated and guilted her into feeling trapped—so trapped that at times she feels she has no escape but suicide.
At times, dark times, I feel the same, but it’s just not true.
Her mother has dated horrible people—her mother is abusive and mistreats her, and then makes her feel selfish for even wanting to live her own life or go against her. It makes me sick.
But I think now, I’m so lucky. Once I was there, too—once my mother had horrible boyfriends, too, one of which who did this to me. The reason that I am recovering at all.
I felt so alone, so trapped in my own home. When my brother was born, I felt responsible to care for him. How could I know my mother would?
If my mother hadn’t made a change, I could be far from recovering right now. I could be exactly where my friend is, suffering and feeling trapped, unable to even breathe, filled with so much pain and anger at everything. At myself—for no good reason.
We’ve learned to blame ourselves, but it’s simply not our fault.
I’m afraid for her because I know it will be nearly impossible for her to see the light when she’s having to choke down that darkness all the time. I know it’s difficult for her. But I tell her to hold on, because I know it’ll change. I know one day everything will be better for her, absolutely everything. She can’t see it now, but it will be. Not everyone will hurt her. Not everyone will abandon her.
But most important of all is that she will learn that she is her greatest friend and no matter what happens, she should always love herself, whether or not she is flawed. We are all flawed. But more than anything we should not be the ones to mistreat ourselves. We should be our one true friend. We should be tender and care for that terrified child inside of us that was hurt so long ago. Then we can be brave—we can defend it with all we have, because it deserves a chance.
You deserve a chance.
So to myself I say, don’t abuse yourself, because if anything, you need to be the one who cares.
The previous post reminded me of a time when I was a kid and I wrote a letter to Santa on Christmas eve. It basically said I was lonely and wanted friends and I would give up all my presents that year if Santa could give me some friends.
And now I think about my parents, having to sit there and…