“I’m not giving up, I’m just starting over.” – Unknown
You were strong, vibrant and life seemed perfectly intact and even predictable to some degree, until it wasn’t. Then one day it all fell a part, almost out of nowhere. After you cried in disbelief, and wallowed in personal misery for a while, eventually you reopened the curtains to your self-inflicted dark life and began to take notes on what the hell happened to you.
Often times accepting what and why things fell a part is harder to take than the occurrence of the actual event itself. This is true because once we start to examine the real causes of our temporary demise we begin to not only see, but understand how we failed. And once we are able to ascertain the layers behind the cause we usually cannot point a finger at anyone but our lowly selves.
However, if you have any gumption in you at all, you also fully recognize that this event has also provided you with something new. A new opportunity to start over, hit the reset button and begin again. I will always believe that it is never too late to start over, no matter our age or the circumstances. The ingredients for success lie within each of us. We just need to be able to pull the lessons out and apply them to where we are today.
So where are you today? Have you let go of the past or do you still hold on to it with feelings of guilt or anger? Have you reconciled with the people involved or is that even possible? Are you able to face the situation or people involved without angst in your heart? This is usually a tell-tell sign you have finally released the past.
None of this simply happens because we want it to, or because it is the right thing to do. It totally depends on the work we do in the time we have to accomplish it. If we spend more time complaining about what occurred and seeking excuses versus recognizing and owning our part, we still have not arrived at the promise land and will ultimately find ourselves in the wilderness of life again searching for truth that is actually nearer than we could imagine, but still out of reach.
There is nothing like owning your own poor decisions. Once we own them, no one can throw it in your face later with any sting. Our acceptance provides us with an opportunity to grow, learn and heal. These are like one way tickets to a better future.
So are you ready to go there? Are you tired of being bogged down by past issues? Well face them with dignity and courage. Own them and reconcile it. Get help if needed, but do not allow your past to dictate your future. There is still much to live for, so go live!
“Life is like a camera… Focus on what’s important, Capture the good times, Develop from the negatives, And if things don’t work out, Take another shot.” – Unknown
Have you ever had one of those moments when you knew that you should step up and do something or say something, only to quickly talk yourself out of it? I imagine it happens to the best of us at any given time, but for some maybe too often. For some it is much easier to remain silent and allow others to voice their opinions while we watch and listen, albeit painfully.
Many years ago this was me to a tee. I always took second fiddle to someone notably (at least what I assumed) smarter and more experienced. I was very comfortable with this approach until I was not, and equally realized it was not furthering my career path or providing me with any notable opportunities.
So after becoming frustrated with my own ineptness and lack of drive, I decided to change things. I first thought about the years I already had. At that time I was about ten years into my career and felt as if I knew a few things that were worthy of advancement and opportunity. Only problem, no one else knew. It was the perfect secret I had kept to myself for years, until one day I heard a voice deep within that said, “It is time to step up and no longer be silent.” Immediately I knew what the words meant and how I needed to apply them.
At that time there was so specific opportunity or profound job to speak of, but I held on to those words regardless. Ultimately it would be those words that literally changed the path of my career.
Sometimes what we hear today is not for now, but for what is to come.
I literally had no idea what was to come, but I knew what I heard and I was going to hold on to that instruction no matter what. Eventually (about 2 years later) an opportunity presented itself for me to apply the words, and I did. The rest is truly history. Today I sit at the highest position I can hold in my particular line of work, but I still hold true to those words as if I have more to accomplish, because I do.
Just last week I had the opportunity to present to my executive committee. It was an event I did not initially sign up for, but after careful review of what was going to be discussed I realized that I needed to be there, because it was a topic that I am very passionate about, and have experienced good success with. So I got in touch with my direct team and asked if they would mind if I tagged along with them. They agreed and I was off to our corporate offices. The old me would have settled for someone else delivering the message.
Needless to say, the presentation went extremely well and our team received rave reviews. It left me feeling humble, grateful but most importantly thankful. Thankful for listening to that small still voice inside on a crowded train one day almost 20 years ago.
How about you? What “thing(s)” have you not yet accomplished that you know is a part of your calling or purpose on earth? What still prevents you from pressing towards it? Could it be gender, race, religion, divorce, education, a criminal past, doubt, fear or an unbelief in yourself? The list could be endless, however it does not have to be what continues to stifle you or cause you to shrink back.
One day several years ago, I had to realize that I (Henry Nutt, III) was more than his past, no matter what anyone else had to say. My poor choices, two divorces, color of skin or lack of confidence would not be able to stop me. Matter of fact once I realized that the only person that could stop me was myself, I begin to break free of the bondage I had placed on my ability to make progress.
I removed the naysayers from my life and replaced them with people who believed in me (there weren’t many, but enough). I read great books, and put into practice what I learned.
Today, I am nowhere near where I want to be, but certainly far removed from where I once was. My life has purpose and I continue to cultivate and nurture that purpose with attributes that foster hope, community and love.
So, no matter where you are in this journey called life, it is never too late to start over, regroup or find a new path. We only need the will to do it, and begin again or for the first time.
“Before you assume, learn. Before you judge, understand. Before you hurt, feel. Before you say, think.” – Unknown
Life is full of surprises. There are so many distracting, unplanned events occurring daily across the globe, let alone in our personal lives. Sometimes it’s hard to know who to listen to or what direction to go. The noise is often overwhelming, uncontrolled and relentless.
The many circumstances in my life (and more often than not, the tragic ones) have taught me some great lessons. One lesson in specific is how to be still during even the most daunting events. Without this ability I would have certainly lost it on more than a few occasions.
Nowadays one would have to live in a cave (without available WiFi) to be sheltered from a continuous media stream of bad reports, tragedy and potential life changing circumstances, and so since living in a cave probably is not the most effective way to raise a family, have productive relationships or earn a living, how does one maintain tranquility and stability in such a volatile world filled with information that instills fear, anxiousness and hopelessness?
Even for those of us that walk by faith and believe in someone/something greater than us, the issue can still be troubling, cause us to fret and live with uneasiness. You know, those days when you are preoccupied with circumstances more than you are focused on what is front of you, or when your sleep becomes restless because your mind is filled with all of the “what if this happens” scenarios? Have you been there? I certainly have.
Well being there is one thing, but staying there is something entirely different. These days we must choose to live in a different way. A way that perhaps challenges your status quo, threatens your television time and maybe even parts of your social life.
It has been said that if you want to keep something from a black man, put it in a book, because we do not make time to read. We are caught up with self-indulgence, which usually looks like being fancy, being more concerned with what we have and how we look, versus who we are or who we are becoming. Of course this is true for anyone, but you understand my point hopefully.
I choose to look inward and force myself to be still by tuning out outside forces and noise. It is imperative for my state of mind to remain at peace and to be at my best more often than not. Simply wishing it will happen does not work. It must be deliberate and purposeful, therefore requires a scheduled time that I give to myself. I call this going inward.
It is a time when I close off to the entire world and pray, stay quiet, reflect, think and most importantly, listen. Listening is a skill that seems to be the most challenging, yet when we choose to commit to it will be also be the one time where we are able to learn more, and respond more effectively with enriching words of wisdom.
Nothing can substitute the inward life and in these unpredictable times it is imperative that we spend time with ourselves, our God and hear what we must hear, so we can know what we must know and remain calm during the storms of life. There is no question that we live in unprecedented times and our state of mind must remain intact and on point.
So today I encourage you to examine your life and how you are spending your time. Turn down the outside noise and go inward. Make a date with yourself and practice being still and listen. You will be amazed how much you will hear and learn.
“He that would live in peace and at ease, must not speak all he knows nor judge all he sees.” – Benjamin Franklin
I have always been one to lose stuff. A wallet, (with money or a check in it) car keys, a phone, you name it. If it were not lost, it was certainly misplaced for a good period of time that usually drove me and those around me a little bonkers. Thankfully I have become a bit more careful when it comes to losing or misplacing my belongings, however nothing can compare to the loss or displacement of losing our peace of mind.
Honestly the two do not compare at all actually, because when we lose our peace there are usually other contributing factors, often not in our direct control or cognitive thought. And although losing my keys will prevent me from physically getting from one place to another, which is really important, losing my peace will prevent me from even having the desire to arise for a new day. Who cares about keys at that point, right?
As for cognitive thought, I firmly believe in Maya Angelou’s quote that states, “When we know better, we will do better.” This is why it is imperative to learn lessons, and apply those lessons as soon as we learn them. When we choose to not acknowledge or live by this creed, we probably will find ourselves repeating poor choices, stifling our growth and surrounding ourselves with people who do not promote our good welfare, which is a pretty good indication that we are not living in peace yet.
Quite honestly, we mess stuff up with the best intentions. We hurt those we love the most, but authentically desire to do them well. We make promises we cannot keep, and commit to things that are not sustainable by our own strength. We are easily influenced by societal pressures (whether we care to admit it or not). We see what others do and swear we will never become like them, until we are the splitting image or worse. Was this just my life or can anyone else relate?
Life can be like a whirlwind. Things are always changing and for every question we have, there are 100-plus more answers to navigate through, from well-intentioned family, friends, acquaintances and I’ll add the internet. How do we know which road to take, what job to pursue, which school to attend, should I date him or her, should I marry him or her, do I get a second opinion on a negative diagnosis? It can all be quite overwhelming. I have been there, done that and on many occasions I might add. And I suppose I will experience more of it in the future. That is life. The real truth is in life we can always count on most things changing. Imagine that.
However as things change, which they will, we can remain more consistent and stable even in the hardest of times. It all begins with what we are doing with our time. There is a scripture in the Bible that says, “Bad company corrupts good morals.” Simply stated, what we are attempting to shape will be impacted by who and what we allow to have dominant influence over it. Whether a marriage, a child or your own mind. It will become and respond to what it exposed to the most. That said, consider what and who you allow in your space. Be selective and protective, like your peace relies on it.
There are no quick fixes or easy buttons to press to obtain peace. My personal route for peace comes in my relationship with Jesus, however even with Him, it requires something from me. It is a personal decision to surrender my life in way that releases control, and anything that requires me to give up control, my personal control, is not an easy an easy thing to do. So consider the cost, weigh the options and decide if you are ready to no longer be at the helm of your own life. Seems crazy I know, but what good things have you accomplished alone, really?
“The best way out is always through.” – Robert Frost
Life can be complicated, unpredictable and sometimes just hard. Being married has its own set of issues as well as being single, and when you add children, (young or older) work life scenarios and family dynamics to the mix it can get even more complex. At times things can become overwhelming, where our only option seems as if we should run for the hills and hide out. I have been there and I am certain that you have as well, but through the years of learning lessons, understanding my triggers and gathering more insight on my on level of emotional intelligence, the consistent thing or good advice I have received has been to work through it.
Now because I am kind of an analytical personality, I cannot just use that term without also giving an explanation of what it actually looks like. After all, it is the question that I would ask or demand more clarity if someone were to drop that phrase on me. So what does “working through it” actually look like? I will give a few examples of what it is for me and what it is not to help describe it in more detail.
1. Take an unbiased stance on what the situation is. – When we decide to truly work through something, we need clarity of thought and mind, so having an unbiased view is essential. That said, we will probably need a trusted friend to help us navigate through what we cannot see due to our natural prejudices.
2. Develop a game plan to move through it. – Nothing really works well without a plan, so once we understand the real issue, now it is time to make it happen. This process may include quiet time for reflection, counseling, prayer, journaling, hard conversations and much more, but however you choose to move through it, the various stages are necessary for an effective outcome.
3. Do the work. – This is the hard part. Now is the time to put action to our words. Expect to fall several times before you get it right, but keep working through until you begin to see change. Keep in mind the change you are looking for lies in you, not someone else. That’s the challenging part. The actual work has many levels. There may be a season where you are only focusing on your childhood. Then you may move to your past relationships or dramatic situations that require a deeper look on your decision-making skills during that time. The key in this stage is to face yourself and bring reality into why you are, who you are.
4. Analysis and Self Evaluation. – This is not a time for self-judgement, although it will be easy to do. Be careful not to simply come down on yourself during this time. Sure there will be many issues that may come to the surface that point directly to you, but so what. This whole process is not to blame yourself. Taking responsibility is one thing, but blaming should not be the focus or objective. You may come to a point where deeper work beyond your means is essential. Hopefully you will be able to continue down that path and receive the help you need.
5. What it is Not. – The one thing I can say “working through it” is not, is to over simplify the process or issue. Quick fixes that neglect the core issues only perpetuate the problem. When we fail to address the real matters of the heart we only set ourselves up for future failure. Now is not the time for surface work. We must choose to go deep, but if we are not ready, it is better to understand that and wait until we are. Otherwise we are wasting our time, seeking results for something we have not yet properly invested in.
I am not the expert in this area, but I am a man who has seen and experienced his share of turmoil. Some self-inflicted and some not, but I am committed to myself in such a way that I will never be satisfied with surface results. I want to better understand why I do what I do. In some cases it will be fairly obvious and in other times it will take much more work. I am committed to doing the work. It has become a part of my life journey and I am better for it.
“Don’t be pushed by your problems, be led by your dreams.” – Unknown
Anything worthy of experiencing or having in life usually takes time. In most cases that time will fall under the category of what we know as a journey. You know that place in between the beginning and the final destination? That is where the magic happens, real life unfolds and often where we discover who we really are, or desire to become.
Sometimes what we discover is not what we initially sought out, but once the dust settles, if we can muster the courage to continue on and press through the hardship of raw facts and painfully transparent friends and family that (if we were lucky) ever so delicately placed the ugly pictures of who we are and who we were on a canvas like a meticulous artist, on the other side can be an amazing opportunity of new beginnings.
As painful as it can be to revisit the past, it is where we find many of the answers that we seek, whether consciously or subconsciously. I say this because most of us do not consider ourselves as super heroes, where we knowingly place ourselves in inherent danger to seek the truth out no matter what the consequences. No, we are typically cowards and afraid of what we will find, so it is usually safer to just let things be as they are. Dull, but not in a boring kind of sense, more like a in a un-sharpened knife kind of a sense, that pierces through our skin. After all, it is the path of least resistance, which makes it safer, easier and requires less effort, however this path also leaves us empty, broken and often confused because we now realize that there is more to what we thought we knew, and left unanswered this will drive us crazy or worse, drive us to continually repeat the past like a highly executed math problem.
As I mentioned before, nothing worthy comes easy. For me love has been my mission. Not that I have always went about finding it in the best way. Like I do not advise three marriages and several preceding broken relationships to get there, but I will say true love is worth the scars and pain.
My journey has not been for the faint of heart. I had to finally come to a place where I acknowledged my part in the demise of several broken relationships. It was not them, it was a me. My inability to see, own and understand my specific responsibility was my failure, and not until I decided to journey within was I able to get it. Like really get it!
So of course this does not make everything perfect, but It has helped me make better decisions, focus my energy in the appropriate areas, (especially during a disagreement) become more self-aware of what I am feeling in the moment and to be a better listener. All things that were once far removed.
My attempt to find love again was nothing more than my innate existence of being a hopeless romantic. I would never stop pursuing it, however my natural desire to no longer experience deep pain on a continuum motivated me to travel on this journey with more wisdom (from outside sources) along with an open mind.
My only option was to become bitter and old with a mouthful of disdain from the mere mention of “true love”. This was not going to be my story, so I journeyed on and on and on…
On the outside it looked foolish I am sure to many, but again it was a worthy cause to me. My past did not necessarily have to dictate my future, and chance had nothing to do with it. It was purpose and a commitment to myself for a change.
My journey back to love actually had nothing to do with anyone, but myself. It was a choice to learn from my past, understand it in a more profound and dynamic way, which is a nice way to say I needed to do some work (with a counselor), introspection (with a plan to action) and actual application of what I learned along the way.
I have not arrived yet, but I am on my way to a life of authentic truth-telling and truth living. No more shadows, lies or niceties that attempt to keep peace at all cost. I am me. That is what I know, live and declare beyond with just words.
“Everybody has a chapter they don’t read out loud.” – Unknown
Have you ever watched a group of children or your own play and talk amongst their friends? Watching them interact in their own environment and hearing the things they talk about when they are unaware you are listening in is not only entertaining, but often an eye opener to who they are becoming and what makes them afraid, not like in of the dark or of ghosts, but the fears of the soul.
Fears like self-doubt, not being strong enough, pretty enough or just different to what is perceived as acceptable. Even at those young, tender and impressionable stages we can identify what we allegedly lack to fit in society appropriately.
What is sad is these fears seldom change with age. We simply become better at disguising, deflecting and numbing the pain that is associated with them. We live our lives as normal as we can until things become too difficult to manage. At that point we only have a couple of options. One is to finally acknowledge the truth about what has troubled us and begin to deal with it and two is to continue to lie to ourselves and live a life of duplicity.
It would seem that telling the truth to at least ourselves would be the easier choice to make, but unfortunately it is not. One of the hardest things for any of us to do, is to admit a short coming, what maybe deemed as a flaw or what seems unacceptable to society and most importantly ourselves. None of us want to ever admit that there may be something about us that is different or lacking. We always have to present a strong disposition no matter what.
It is truly sad, but millions of dollars are spent each year to advertise to the world what is beautiful, strong, viral, acceptable, powerful and sexy. The images flood our brains before we even have an opportunity to really understand what they mean. We simply begin learning that we talk funny, our skin is not the right pigment, our hair is the wrong color or the texture is wrong. We are too short, over weight, our legs our too long. We read too slow, we are too hyper or we are just not smart enough. The list is endless.
We cannot help but to be bombarded by these images and ideas. They tell a story for our children to hear, see and accept as their own truth, so once they become young adults one of their sole purposes in life is about fitting in, changing to someone else and ridding themselves of the images and ideas that truly define who they are. It is like a predetermined method of self-destruction, but unfortunately in this case, they are ridding themselves of all the wonderful attributes and characteristics that make them who they are. The ones that make them unique, beautiful and wholesome.
So what if what society deems as a flaw is really the diamonds in the rough waiting to be discovered? What if we begin to teach our children what real beauty and strength looks like, inside and out, so that when those counterfeit images and people begin to test them, they already know who they are? We can empower them to detect the real from the counterfeit and not be deterred by false illusions of beauty and strength.
But the only way we will be able to accurately impart this type of lifestyle or hope to them is to first own it for ourselves. Here lies the test and the struggle. So many of us still carry the false illusions of what we are supposed to be. Deep down we realize the images do not fit within us, but we have forged our way through life carrying them like a sack of burdens that belong to us. Many of us have awkwardly walked through life afraid to expose the real us. The us that has not necessarily fit in with the status quo, the us that has accepted we are flawed and different.
So is it more awkward to be who you are (flawed and all) or be someone else? If you are not being who you were created to be, the world is missing out on the wonderful treasure that is uniquely you and we miss out on the rare beauty that is yours alone to share with the world.
There is no one quite like me, and I thank God for that. I am not better or worse than anyone else, but I am uniquely me. How about you? Sure there are things about myself I want to change, and I will continue to work on those things over the course of my life, but I will not fit in to make others happy. I lived that life before and was never at peace, but today I am.
We live in a world that will quickly identify how we do not fit in or are different, and if we accept that identity as our own we will pursue a life filling voids that really do not belong to us, and therefore add unnecessary weight/bondage to our once simple and fulfilled lives. Today I encourage you tell someone else that they are not flawed, but accepted and whole, and if they only see themselves as flawed, identify their beauty and strength by sharing a few encouraging words with them about the alleged flaw they insist is theirs. Help them see past the lies and poor images poured into them over the years and give them hope to see their flaws as marks of uniqueness, wholeness and a way to reach their world their way.
“Sometimes God allows times of transition to create transformation.” – Lynn Cowell
I can promise you that I do not have an affinity with darkness. I actually consider myself to be a very optimistic person, who consistently attempts to look on the brighter side of life, however after blogging for approximately two years now, I have come to better understand the many hurting people who still exist in the world. An even more closer, the ones that have the courage to share a little of their personal stories on social media with me and the audience I share here on this website.
As I have mentioned in prior posts, life is hard and we can never fully be ready for all that comes with our specific journeys, and I have had the privilege to hear some amazing stories of tragedy, recovery and being somewhere in the middle of both. What remains consistent with each story is the insurmountable feeling of loss, grief, pain and turmoil each person experiences as they go through their season of darkness, yet there has equally been a consistent ray of hope that seems to keep them holding on and seeking to get beyond it.
I am truly blessed to be a part of such a wonderful community of people who “get it”, and I wanted to take the time in this post to acknowledge those that continue to suffer and press through darkness. Suffering has no ethnicity, gender or religious background. It comes to us all, planned and by surprise, day or night, young and old. It does not take in consideration how nice we are or who we may have hurt in the past. It just comes, and often like a rushing wind.
So if you find yourself smack in the middle of a hard place, this post is for you. A few things you should know was you go through:
1. You are not alone, even if you feel like you are. – One of the worst things you can do while facing a tragedy is to go it alone. This is not to say that everyone in your circle should know your intimate secrets, but isolation is the devils playground and when you retreat from your immediate world you lose some of your best resources for good counsel and support. Darkness is just that, a place where we cannot always see our way due to the circumstances we face and the emotions we harbor. So as you are feeling your way through that dark place, do not be afraid to reach out to someone who may know better than you do, been there before and willing to offer support. It can literally change the trajectory of where you are headed.
2. Give yourself license to feel the pain of your situation. – So often we are told to get over it and move on, and we equally know that is much easier vocalized than done. We are each different, with our own set of propensities to recover, see the light and move past our pain. Some bodies heal faster than others and I imagine this logically applies to the emotional part of us as well, so don’t get in a hurry seeking relief, because in that search what you may find will only offer a temporary refuge, not a sustaining peace that you need. Although pain never feels good, it does have a way of stripping us of pride and deflecting blame on others after it has run its course. Once you begin to allow ourselves to feel the pain that you are experiencing it will force you to reconcile more of the core issues that caused it. It is definitely not our initial response while going through the difficulty, but if we can gather the courage to have those hard conversations with ourselves the sooner we begin to address the hard stuff.
3. Don’t beat yourself up over what happened or hold yourself hostage with anger. – Whether it was your fault or not, there has to be a time that you begin to move past that specific place of blame. Once you accepted responsibility, or had the opportunity to speak with the person who offended you, (and said your peace) it is time to move on. Harboring feelings of resentment can only lead to more pain and the short cycling of your own healing and recovery. This becomes critical as you see yourself getting better, but you allow someone or some circumstance to take you backwards. It is important to realize that you cannot undo the past. What is done is done, but the unrealized future still remains ahead of you, and how you choose to respond to it will dictate if you will be ready for it or not, and even influence how it will manifest later your life.
4. Know who your safe friends are (including family). – One of the fastest ways to relapse back to a place of bitterness and unresolved pain is to surround yourself around people who do not support the process of your recovery. Sometimes our friends can become more angry than we were at times. I am all for my “ride or die” folks that want to come to my aid, but it is equally important for them to know when to stand down and accept where I am, whether they agree with me or not. Remember, it is always easier for someone else to remove themselves from your circumstance when they have no real attachment, authentic connection or ultimate responsibility to it, therefore remain with like-minded people. Ones that want to see you grow and become healthier versus being full of unforgiveness and aiming to seek revenge.
5. Take life one day at a time. – I truly empathize with those of you who are going through hard times. It is never easy and often feels like the pain will never go away. I know from my own personal experiences, but it does get easier as we learn the lessons we are supposed to learn and grow from the situation. This is a process that cannot be rushed. It takes time and what we choose to do in that time really counts. My best advice is to take everything one day at a time. It may sound like a trivial piece of advice, but it is really important to get this. Now is not the time to be in a hurry and speed your life away, but purposefully slow it down through surrendering prayer, meaningful mediation and thought-provoking reflection.
Growing through darkness can be a reality that we all experience when life gets hard. It certainly will not come easy and unfortunately many decide to prematurely quit before recognizing the change they desire, but it is possible. I am a living witness. After suffering two divorces, being molested and experiencing other broken relationships, I have had my share of pain that I wish on no human being, but through it all I have grown and learned some lessons that I will carry with me for the remainder of my life. Lessons that cause me to stand when I feel like falling, see hope when life seems hopeless and acknowledge that life could always be worse when it seems at it hardest point. I have grown through my darkest seasons and so can you. Never give up!
“When a deep injury is done to us, we never heal until we forgive.” – Nelson Mandela
We have all said it at some point in our lives to loved ones, close friends and even ourselves when times are tough. “Things will get better with time.” The phrase does sound good and lends itself to even seem comforting when we are hurting, but do things really get better with time? I suppose on the surface, the answer is an absolute yes. Over time it is true we do tend to feel less of the sting pain indiscriminately doles out, whether physical or emotional, but does feeling better really mean we are better? Hmmm… one of those questions to ponder I suppose.
The body is an amazing creation. The fact that when we injure ourselves the body is designed to go into healing mode. Over a course of weeks, months and therapy (depending on the severity of the injury) besides a scar, there is no noticeable evidence of an injury at all. Now we all know that it was not the time that healed that would, but the amazing work occurring on the inside of the body to mend things back together.
The same is true when we are injured emotionally. If someone hurts us in a relationship and we do nothing to understand the core issue(s), we are destined to repeat the circumstance with someone else. For some of us (including present company) this has been an all too common occurrence.
Simply taking a hiatus from dating is not enough to thwart the problem (if dating is your issue) if we do not add the parts that identify the core problem, work through it and apply the learned principles to prevent it from happening with the next guy or gal.
There are so many websites dedicated to discussions on cheaters and liars, and although some have valid points to make, many others simply use the platform to complain and bash the opposite sex, but seldomly look at the work required for prevention or the responsibility they had in the demise of the relationship as well.
It will always be easier to blame another individual, especially when they created the majority of the issue, but what about that small percentage owned by the other person? Does it present a pattern? Have you been here before? Same situation different person? Could you be the common denominator? Again, something too think about.
When we fail to allow ourselves to authentically heal over a period of time, which includes doing the work necessary to become whole how is it possible to think we would make a better decision the next time? How is it that our anger simply becomes directed towards a gender, personality type or ethnicity, versus ourselves? Could it be that we are still carrying baggage from our past that is destined to bring extra weight and turmoil to our next relationship or circumstance? Could it be that time did nothing but give us an illusion that we were better, but in essence we were just numb? And the only way we really know we have not healed is when a circumstance presents itself that reminds us of our brokenness, and we flash on someone or become instantly disengaged. Been there?
In essence, time heals a wound like a bandage heals a cut. It will never be about the time directly, but more importantly what we choose to do in that time. So my prayer is that we choose to recognize the patterns that hinder us, (different face same guy) do the work to change and grow and apply the lessons learned to live a healthier life.
For most of my life I have bought into this relationship between time and healing, but I have always questioned the core idea. I would assume most professionals would agree more than time is required to heal wounds, but somewhere along the way of this commonly used phrase, the translation became lost or diluted with the masses and it simply continues to get passed along like it is a scientific fact. Or perhaps this is simply a part of my perfectionist personality to address it. Either way, I believe it is important that we understand what is implied when we make this statement or any commonly use saying that solicits hope, when it fact it may actually perpetuate the contrary.
To all those finally acknowledging your part in your healing or lack thereof, welcome to the club. There truly is an upside to being down, but we must first recognize the pain and do the right things with it. Numbing it feels great for a short season, but it truly never simply goes away and it will most certainly come back to remind you, “I am still here until you deal with me.”
Neither your age, a new relationship or a geographic relocation will change that fact, because the pain lies within you lying dormant until it is once again disturbed, so yes it requires painstaking, emotionally distressful and committed work, but it is worth the blood, sweat and tears. You are worth it!
“You are always one decision away from a totally different life.” – Unknown
A number of years ago a wise friend told me that life is like a song and a dance. Initially I was not sure what he meant, but he explained that in the first stages of our lives we our learning new concepts, formulating ideas and more than likely we are being influenced by the confines of our household structure, families dynamics and the immediate communities that we reside in. There is no judgement, it simply is what it is, good, bad or indifferent. Here lies the song being played.
The next phase as we grow into maturity and begin to make personal choices for our lives, whether relationally, socially or professionally is the dance, and many times without even being conscious of it we make decisions based on the (figurative) music we have heard for our entire lives. It is as if we are trying to stay on beat to what we know, understand and are reasonably comfortable with. Many times we will even defend our position, even when it is possibly the worst thing for us, but this is the power of the song we have heard.
To further illustrate my point, think of a friend or family member that you have attempted to help in the past. No matter how much you have tried, nothing seems to work or get through to them, or he/she just seems stubborn to change, listen or learn from the countless poor choices they have made. As much as you may want to say, “Are you just stupid?”, you know better than that (hopefully) and realize that it would be completely counterproductive to rectifying anything positively or effectively.
However, once we begin to understand more about “why they are” versus “what they are”, we place ourselves in a position to not only become more of an empathetic friend, but also one that can give sound advice or counsel that will resonate with them as well.
Now if we could only harness the courage to take this a step further and discover this truth about ourselves. It would not only allow us to better understand why we do what we do, but possibly get the support we need prior to falling into another self-perpetuated trap.
So have you taken the time to think about the song(s) that have been playing in your own life? Have you considered why you find yourself in certain predicaments that prove to be detrimental to your overall growth and well-being? Is there a theme or pattern to it? I know for me it was, and on the surface it seemed obvious to most people what my issues were, but little did they know there was more to my story.
Just like with you, there is more to your story, because you are not the sum of your failures, or even your successes I might add. You are beautifully human that lives a life with curves and bends that turn at times unpredictably, and it is in these moments where we can discover what song we are dancing to. Is the song helping me, does it give life or is it tearing me down to a place I have been trying to escape from? Only you know the answers to these questions and ones like it.
So ultimately we have some decisions to make as we embark on a new year. Will we continue to allow the triggers unbeknownst to us, continue to dictate our emotions? Will we allow family members and those close to us, continue to have control over our thoughts and actions? Will we allow familiar circumstances continue to drive us into depression, sadness or frustration?
As we have often heard that insanity is doing the same things while expecting a different outcome, let us not fall into those situations that bring us grief and despair, but let us begin to seek new ways to heal from our pain, recover from our broken hearts and respond to our haters. Ways that do not necessarily ask for permission from those we typically seek it from, ways that empower others to have authority when they should not, and ways that sympathetically apologize for decisions we believe in or feel good about.
If you can imagine a song playing that everyone is dancing to and suddenly the record scratches, stops and the DJ puts on another song. Only today you are the DJ and you have changed the music. We must do the same with our lives. Change the music and dance to a new beat. It may seem uncomfortable at first and take a little time to adapt to the new beat, but you will catch the rhythm eventually.
The real message is we must take authority over our own lives. We cannot allow the past (the old song) to define our future. We must begin to recognize that there is more to us than what we see now, our voice matters and life is too short to live under the shadows of anyone, event if we respect them. Become your man or woman. Change the music and dance a new dance for the rest of your life.
Keep Pressing and Happy New Year!!