As I sit by the fire looking into the flames, I remember where I’ve been and dream about what my ideal self would be. I begin to create a story in my head of what that is. It makes my mind start to think how much we, as a culture, love watching or reading other people’s stories. We love putting ourselves in a fantasy world. One that has been made up, or maybe even one that has been based on a true story. That means bits and pieces are real, but not the whole thing. It is entertainment. It is allowing our minds to get out of this reality of life, to escape for a few hours. We see these stories about love and beauty. We want to become these characters. We begin to put upon ourselves the desires to have what they have. We start forgetting about our own stories, our own lives, our own truths. It allows us to challenge ourselves, and it also gives us more fuel to beat ourselves up with. Why do we do this? Why do we take the beautiful lives we have, no matter the struggle, no matter the strife and tell ourselves that it is not good enough? We look into a mirror and see the scars as pain of our failures rather than seeing past the marks and recognizing our successes.
I know I do this more often than I’d like to admit. I am not perfect. I know this and I don’t want, or even expect to be. I enjoy learning and loving and growing and becoming better and better each day. Yet, my shadow side speaks loudly, more often than I care to admit. She tells me that I need to lose weight, that my skin is looking old and worn out, that my accomplishments aren’t big enough, and that I’m just not good enough for the world’s approval. I have been working hard on self love and diving into the discovery of what that even means. I know that I am not quite there yet. I don’t love everything about myself. I don’t love my flaws. I don’t love my body completely. I tell myself that I’m not a good mom, I’m not a phenomenal leader, I make too many dumb decisions, I’m not responsible enough, my house isn’t clean enough, I can’t tap into my healing gifts deep enough, I don’t have enough money, I’m not far enough in figuring out how to thrive in this life, how to truly live. There are good days and bad days.
So, how do I get myself out of these negative thinking patterns or behaviors? It’s not always easy, I am blessed to have people around me to lift me up when I really begin to spiral, but ultimately it comes down to me and what I am able to change in my mindset. I began this process by understanding that I needed to allow and accept those bad days, or moments, that I am feeling down and depressed. When those unhealthy feelings are surfacing I am grateful for the emotional intelligence and self awareness that I can tap into in order to begin to look at the situation in a different light. With that, I also recognize that I have every right to feel exactly the way that I’m feeling. I do have the ability to write and get it all out. I do have the bravery to be vulnerable and tell the world they are not alone, that I am going through the same feelings of pain, guilt, shame, frustration and heartache that each person is encountering. I am proud to say that I have come a long long way from where I’ve been. I have hit rock bottom, I have even felt buried there in the darkness with no clue on how to get out. I was bitter and resentful of everything and everyone. And then there was a shift in my perspective, I was finally ready. There was a spark still left inside of me and I needed to find a way to fuel it. If that was possible to do so many years ago when I was at the lowest point of my life, it’s no wonder why it is so much easier to find now.
Again, I have come a long way. I don’t feel like I need to beat myself up all of the time, but when I do, I do my best to remember that spark that is now a full flame that just sends smoke into my eyes and I forget that I can get up and position myself so that I can see the fire again. It’s important to let the tears flow when my eyes are stung and it hurts to open them, because it is cleansing. It’s okay to move into a different path getting out of the smoke which is getting out of my own way, remembering the beauty and adapting to my surroundings. I can be present in the moment and pay attention to all that I need to see, noticing the magic in the ashes, the coals, the paper, the wood, the spark, the smoke and the flame. I will be able to get the smoke out of my eyes and see me, not another fantasy woman. I will continue putting forth the actions and sincerely trusting the full potential I have within myself, embrace the love that I have for who I am right now, because of where I have been and believing in the dream of where I want to go.