Loss, Lessons, and Liberation
Grow through what you go through
Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward.
In essence, everything makes sense after it’s all said and done. The answers to the test are always painstakingly obvious after it’s been graded and the best course of action always presents itself after you deal with the consequences of the wrong one. You see, in passing and choosing the right answers, you excel to the next level and gain confidence. It is in failing that you learn, remember for the long run, and gain humility.
Step Back from Setback
We have all made mistakes, bad decisions, missed opportunities, and fallen short. We've passed judgment, failed, suffered, and found ourselves saying If I knew then what I know now. It’s the could haves and should haves that beat our brains. However, as much as hindsight haunts us, it always teaches us something. If we make the choice to dig deeper and understand the whys of our setbacks and downturns, we can actually grow.
Solitude, self-analysis, and self-preservation make us understand the reasons for our actions and reactions, both commendable and deplorable, and puts into perspective just how much everything is connected. Unfortunately, the journey to get this acquired knowledge isn’t favorable. More often than not, we get to the point of desperately wanting to pursue our purpose, understand our mindsets, and achieve actualization after we realize we are, have been, or are on the road to becoming exactly who we don’t want to be.
Sometimes We Have to Lose to Gain
The losses and reality checks open our eyes but it’s the pain that alters everything. Failure is uncomfortable, changing is uncomfortable, falling flat on your face is uncomfortable, but nothing is more uncomfortable than being someone you know you’re not or the epitome of everything you hate. Sometimes it’s that desire to live a comfortable, picture perfect, and people pleasing life that brings us the most discomfort, stagnation, and depression. It’s those very things that make us go from vulnerable to volatile.
Personally, I never wanted to lose people, I wanted to be accepted, and I always wanted to do exceptionally well at every single thing I did. Rejection and failure were my biggest fears and strongest motivators. The problem is that I gained an overwhelming amount of acceptance, but lost out on the many chances to work on my authenticity and find out who I really was. I bit my tongue more than I should, didn't reach out when I was overwhelmed because I was always "the strong one", and ignored the things that hurt me most because admitting them only showed more weakness.
I completely lost it. However, I did gain something...insight. What good is feeding my ego when my spirit is starving? What good is looking perfect when I haven't even identified I purpose? What is all for? In losing my mind, my way, and sense of self, I simultaneously gave myself a sincere second chance of renewing my mind, seeking guidance and direction, and aligning with actualization.
So What Really Matters?
No one likes to feel like a puppet, the family investment, or a caged bird. Now more than ever I’m evaluating what place each person, place, and activity holds in my life. Are these things I want to do or have I just been doing them out of routine or because they used to fit my image? Are these people really my friends and what is their influence on me? Who am I and who do I really want to be? I ask myself these questions because I want to feel like every day of my life is a step closer to living in my purpose and I make a point to focus my energy on the things that truly matter and stimulate my growth.
After you give so much of your time, emotions, and energy to plans, people, and paths that are not for you, you start itemizing the difference between wants and needs, deterrents and stimulants, and what and who is really important. I used to lose sleep when I thought people were mad at me or thought negatively of me, but when I began to lose sleep, weight, and hope because I realized I wasn’t happy in myself, my choices, and the way I made others feel, the narrative and mindset started to change. I refuse to believe that I’m just on this Earth to fill everyone’s cup until I’m empty and I refuse to believe that I should be begging for others to validate me. I’m not perfect, but no better or worse than anyone else. I know I’m worthy and have every right to pursue a path that fosters spiritual, mental, professional, and personal growth.
It's not about pretending to look happy 24/7 or having a picturesque life. It's about experiencing joy and reveling in personal freedom. I’m talking about the happiness that warrants no outside validation but comes straight from the spirit and self-acceptance. The type of satisfaction that doesn’t need to be seen and heard by the world or social media, but can simply be manifested and enjoyed as is.
The More You Know, The More You Grow
I realize that I thought I knew everything but in actuality understood very little. I now know that my iniquities stemmed from inner, unattended inadequacies and insecurities. I learned that I could judge but I needed to work on the ability to properly discern. I understand the irony of life and accept that until I experienced pain and confusion, I didn't appreciate to this degree the simple things or how important it is to have a sound mind and the right direction.
I may have grasped it all by failing and breaking down, and I may have learned it at my lowest and through pain, but at least I learned. In doing so, I can now analyze myself from a place that not only identifies my demons, but also tackles the things that they feed on. I openly embrace empathy and humility and know that everyone is capable of positive change at any age, in any way, and at any time.
Because once something is learned it can’t be taken away, and that is where the true power resides.