“I got tired of living a lie. I wish it was because I finally saw the error of ways, but honestly it was because my lie became disclosed, but now I am WHOLE and it no longer matters how, I just am.” – Henry G. Nutt, III
Most of us can relate to the phrase, “I am being my own worse enemy”. Not only because it has become commonplace in our everyday language, but really because we believe it and often live out the meaning of the words everyday. Sure we will have people and circumstances that come to only hinder us in our progression, but what about how we impact our own lives for the worse, seemingly without any effort? What about those individuals that require no help at all from outsiders to divert or destroy laid out plans and goals? If this is you, welcome to the club, but if you are anything like me, it is not a club you really want to belong to, or worse become a lifetime member. So how do we get out? Well like with anything, before we make any steps toward progress or healing we need these four things:
1. Become aware that we have an issue.
2. Be willing to seek help to address the issue or problem head on with guidance and wisdom.
3. Apply the advice or counsel given to us.
4. Keep applying it for a lifetime.
As a disclaimer, I’ll first say this. As an individual that has made the decision to place a good part of his life on the Internet, sometimes it may come across like I am blaming people for past issues, directing specific information towards others or attempting to call people out. I can assure you that those of you who think this way are far off the mark. Each week that I write, I am able to do so solely because I have released, forgiven and reconciled with the core issue or person(s), if they were willing to own their part. But I will say that being free is just that. I no longer have ties or feel entrapped by the past. I have no anger, or ill feelings towards anyone that offended me or I offended. I press on as I encourage my readers to. The bullsh*t I kept inside for the majority of my life has been released, and my decision to write about it is not designed to bring harm or embarrass anyone, but only to live my life with transparency, authenticity and hopefully help others to not live in dismay as I did for so many years. Long ago are the days when I use to raise my hands in church to God, singing that I am free, but was really in bondage still.
For years I took a back seat to most things. I was afraid of confident people, mad at my father (for several years) and lived in shame for a host of reasons. This affected my marriage, profession and everyday walk. Not only was I my own worse enemy, but I consistently talked myself out of accomplishing anything great or worthy. Simply stated, I rejected myself on a regular basis. It became quite easy and my norm to take a back to seat to most things. Rarely did I offer my opinion. I would rather go with the flow as to not disturb or disrupt anything that had been previously established, whether it was in need of adjustment or not. I apologized for things that were not my fault, and found myself trying to fix everyone and everything around me. I easily became angry with people who seemed to need me, and equally upset with those that seemed to not need me at all. It was a vicious cycle that became the impetus and the reason for the demise of many of my relationships.
What I came to understand is that I was actually rejecting myself. I did not like the fact that I felt weak and incapable, therefore whenever I became involved with someone who had similar qualities, I was not simply rejecting them, but I was actually rejecting myself. A self that was more comfortable with living in the shadows of life and remaining alone when I should have been connecting with others, but that was not be. So on I went for years, living a type of double-life. I was ashamed and afraid to be myself and carried disdain for those who seemed to have their lives intact. My life was really a mess, but still not at rock bottom.
Then it happened. The guy that was able to juggle his life and mask his true feelings, emotions and intentions with the best of them became exposed. I spent several weeks looking for figurative rocks to crawl under while at the same time defending the lies that I stood on for years, until I finally realized that my only escape was to come clean with the truth. Talk about a low point, shame and self rejection! Here it was in full disclosure facing me for the first time, and I had nowhere to hide.
My core issue of self rejection had finally manifested in ways that I could not simply rationalize away with eloquent words and a kind-hearted demeanor, which I had certainly mastered over the years. It was as if someone who knew me well, asked the real Henry to stand up, and as I was looking around for that guy to take a stand, I humbly realized the real me never took a stand on many things, let alone on myself.
The elementary version is I cheated, but it is so much more complex than that, because when most people speak of cheating, their minds connect it with a sexual act. And although this is typically where it will lead to, there are multiple levels that can bring more despair, pain and division in the relationship you have with others, God and with yourself. But until we remotely begin to understand this, we are doomed to repeat the act with different people.
So ultimately what was the hard lesson for a boy who was afraid of his father, molested by a close female relative, misunderstood the purposes of sex and monogamy, learned early that masking authentic feelings and emotions was actually acceptable and easy and finally, how coming to everyone else’s rescue could further keep my own feelings at bay and from my heart, would make my life a ticking time bomb of potential chaos and destruction? The lesson is I failed to truly love myself. Now I never had thoughts to physically bring harm to myself by jumping off a bridge, but I was slowly killing myself emotionally and psychologically with each offense. I failed to authentically love myself. I was not important enough in my own mind, so how could anyone else ever be? I was indeed my own worse enemy, therefore an enemy to the ones I claimed to love as well.
For years I lived in the dark, hiding from myself due to shame and a myriad of other issues. Today I am grateful that my hidden life and thoughts were brought to the surface. It proved to be the beginning of an arduous journey of discovery and truth. I am a better man because of it and I continue to grow.