Letting go – The only way to move forward.
In previous posts, I spoke of having major depressive disorder and all the changes that I have putting myself through the last couple of months since the last breakdown on March 10th, 2017. I’ve been investing time in not only my health but combating the thoughts related to the depression and anxiety through various activities such as blogging.
Today in the yoga class I started attending about 3 weeks ago, the instructor asked what was the word that motivated us today and what word did we need to overcome.
I’ve had the same motivation word in each class that I’ve attended; patience. The word I was trying to overcome was impatience but today the word that popped into my head was fear.
I’m not sure why that came to my thoughts today and I contemplated it most of the morning and during my walk after yoga class. Why would that be the word today?
The realization of that word came up during my walk. Fear has been the driving motivator for everything I’ve ever done in my life.
Fear was instilled in me at early age by an abusive family. I never learned how to live without it. I became fearful of everything that could or did impact my life. I believe this to be the root of the anxiety that comes and goes as my constant companion to the depression.
So why today of all days would that word just pop up? Because of the changes I have been making to myself. The one thing most people fear the most is change. Most, myself included, do not openly embrace it. I blogged about it previously and it is something that has also made me fearful on occasion. It didn’t matter if the change was good, I would always automatically assume the worst in any situation. Pessimism at its best.
I grew up in a household where everything cost something, nothing was given freely, you owed whoever gave it to you. To be constantly reminded of that even as I got older was one main reasons I quit talking to my family. I had my own family to worry about and didn’t want my children to be exposed to such toxic behaviors.
A family should be about love, forgiveness, compassion, kindness and unity. That’s not what I experienced. Everybody used everybody and normally I took the brunt of it. I was expendable and didn’t matter to them. My mother was manipulative, cold, submissive and cruel. Her husband physically, emotionally, verbally and sexually abused me. She knew and did nothing about it. My half sisters were immune to everything and never knew what was going on and they were treated differently than me well into adulthood. So fear was my constant friend growing up.
This fear made me feel alone and unable to make meaningful connections with others to include my ex-husband and every relationship or friendship I was ever in.
So when I decided to step away from it all, the way I was living and the way I felt about myself this major change to my existence made my fears come to the forefront providing the fuel to fire that began to engulf me, the depression and anxiety.
Due to the depression and anxiety sometimes have irrational notions or thoughts. These thoughts have no evidence to prove they are true. Yet, they come into my thinking and have been constant there on and off for almost 3 years now:
- Fear that no one will want me because I’m emotionally broken. Most men when they meet me do not see that emotional turmoil from the outside, they only see the person they decided to interact with and for some reason want to know more about. I have to admit to myself that some men are attracted to me for whatever reason and I can’t be afraid of that. I can’t keep putting this wall up around me because I’m afraid of getting hurt; physically or emotionally by them. In all the relationships I ever had, with the exception of the marriage, none of that happened before so why would I think that? The fear of hurt was strongest when it came to this topic. I grew up viewing a toxic relationship that was my parents. I never knew that marriage or relationships could be better. That drunken, verbally abusive, physical altercations between a man and a woman was not common. That one having power over the other was not normal. My perceptions were wrong. Yes, at one point the relationship starts to dwindle then die but that’s the same for any other person out there. It’s no different for me. I just have to be more decisive in who I want to be with and not just anybody for the sake of being in a relationship. After 46 years I’ve earned the right to be meticulous.
- Fear that I can never make it on my own and I will fail. These words keep replaying in my thoughts every time I think about going down a new avenue as it relates to a career path or direction. I didn’t realize until today that it is the “Voices” of those who I left behind when I started going in a different direction before. The ones who were not ready to change, became complacent, and were so wrapped up in the mundane parts of life they could not see any further into their futures. They could not see the beauty of the world around them and what it offers. They were stuck where they were but could not fathom making changes in order to better their lives. This was both family and friends. The people I no longer talk to. If they were stuck, they sure as hell didn’t want me to continue on without them because I was supposed to be just like them. So I took stock today in the things that I have accomplished so far in my 28 years of working and making a living. I have accomplished the goals that I set for myself and found new ones along the way. All the while struggling through depression, anxiety, raising a family, financial instability, job instability, backlash, reprisals and loss. Yeah, I’ve had to start over so many times but who hasn’t? If your alive, a working adult especially with a family, you know the meaning of falling and getting back up each time because life is hard and no one said it would be easy. That’s what the spirit is for to keep you going even when you don’t think you can. Your spirit keeps you moving forward toward what you want.
- Fear of being alone. This was the hardest part to face today because it goes back to the issues that made me afraid of getting to know others. So I thought I would be alone or at least I felt that way. I didn’t want to get hurt and I didn’t know how to trust people. That’s a hard habit to break when it was formed at an early age by trauma. Those are the topics that I am working on in counseling. I realized after my last breakdown that I am not alone. Yeah I have my kids but there are more than 7 billion people out there and my focus has been too narrow, only seeing what’s immediately in front of me or only remembering the past. If I don’t want to feel alone then I have to make a concerted effort to walk outside my front door and meet people. The worst that can happen is that I don’t click with everybody I meet. Who does? I can name off at least a dozen people who I didn’t get along with but we have always been cordial to each other. It happens that some personalities do not mesh well so you move on and find the right ones. I am involved in cake decorating and sugar art which has allowed me to meet people from all over the world. People whose work I admire and I am a part of this special group of people. Most of us have something that makes us unique. If you focus on that, build it up, find others with that same purpose then you are never truly alone. It’s just taking that step and taking a chance is the hardest part.
- Fear that I’m not good enough. Good is a subjective term and depends on the context in which it is being used. By definition it is “…having desirable or positive qualities especially those suitable for a thing specified…” So in other words I didn’t believe that I have positive or desirable qualities? Well, to some people maybe that was true and we moved on from the relationship, job, friendships whatever it was that just didn’t work out. All I can see is things that I have done well and the qualities that I know I possess that have brought me success in areas of my life. Such as, hardworking, conscientious, determined, resilient, honesty, integrity, and ethics. These have brought me accolades, awards, and promotions. The flip side of that is knowing that I have principles but sometimes they are overwhelmed by my emotions, I’ve made mistakes, feel bad about them, apologize and remember to not do that again. We all have something about us that is great, awesome or unique but when we falter or stumble how gracefully we recover says something more about our character than any award ever will. Either you have your own personal code of conduct or you don’t. That will matter most in life because in the end you can’t take “things” with you. The only thing you can leave behind is your legacy and what people remember most about you.
- Fear of falling in love. Yes, despite all my thoughts on love, romance and relationships this causes me the most anxiety. Why? First, I’ve never been in love with anyone before. The only reference point for love was my grandparents who were married for over 50 years. I knew they went through a lot in their lifetimes but stuck with each other until the end. The relationships and marriage I had were okay but we didn’t truly love one another. They were fun, convenient and temporary. Love is such a powerful thing it changes how you feel and think about yourself. It’s the biggest change most will face. The thought of existing in life with another person who loves you is overwhelming. This person will see all your flaws, bad habits, emotional episodes and all things you dislike about yourself. The things you hide away from others. Taking a chance on someone being there for you without question because they love you. Then I remembered that the other person is taking a chance too. They probably have the same fear and reservations of putting themselves out there. Leaving their vulnerability open and hoping to not get hurt by the other. So both people are willing to take this chance and wish for the best. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. People have been following in love forever, it’s nothing new and it’s scary but it is worth seeking.
So through all these thoughts today, I realized that is time to start letting these fears go because it’s stopping me from being who I want to be. The fears I have were caused by trauma that I can never change. I can move past it and reconcile what happened but if I keep replaying these fears in my head when the depression and anxiety start to become overwhelming then it’s like letting them “win”. It’s letting them keep control and power over me. That is something that I don’t want and I don’t need. I am no longer this powerless kid with no place to go. I fought back a long time ago and I will keep fighting.
I am a mother to these four awesome people. I am this person who defied the odds against me and kept pushing toward her goals and found success in most. I am a powerful, strong, vocal, opinionated, beautiful, smart and educated woman who can do anything she sets her mind to. I’ve proven it before and I will prove it again. I just have to start believing in myself again.
So today after my walk was completed I thought of this poem that was shared in a previous yoga class and thought it was fitting for this blog topic.
She Let Go
She let go.
Without a thought or a word, she let go.
She let go of the fear.
She let go of the judgments.
She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.
She let go of the committee of indecision within her.
She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons.
Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.
She didn’t ask anyone for advice.
She didn’t read a book on how to let go.
She didn’t search the scriptures.
She just let go.
She let go of all of the memories that held her back.
She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.
She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.
She didn’t promise to let go.
She didn’t journal about it.
She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer.
She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper.
She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope.
She just let go.
She didn’t analyze whether she should let go.
She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter.
She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment.
She didn’t call the prayer line.
She didn’t utter one word.
She just let go.
No one was around when it happened.
There was no applause or congratulations.
No one thanked her or praised her.
No one noticed a thing.
Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.
There was no effort.
There was no struggle.
It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad.
It was what it was, and it is just that.
In the space of letting go, she let it all be.
A small smile came over her face.
A light breeze blew through her.
And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.
Rev. Safire Rose
So to you the reader, I hope you find strength, courage and purposeful action today.
Don’t let fears stop you. Be who you want to be and I hope you find love & encouragement every where you go.
Thanks for stopping by.
Have a good week!