Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Every Road

Every road we walk leads us to the person we become. There are no detours or shortcuts, and even the crappiest experiences make us who we are. I often wish for things to be easier, but when I am put in a stressful situation, and I see how clearly I have changed, I can summon a certain gratitude for the experience, no matter how awful it was at the time.

Last year I went through a "street fight" as I referred to it in my blog. At the time I laid awake for many nights, staring at the ceiling, trying to unravel what went wrong and how it had gone from an innocuous situation to something heart-wrenchingly painful. I understand now that this horrendous experience was really the beginning of me understanding how deep my people-pleasing tendencies really ran. I hated the idea that anyone would be upset with me for any reason. That, combined with the fact that I had made a mistake, and done something stupid which I had to apologize for, and I felt punished above and beyond what I deserved from that point forward.

I get now that it brought up all of my fears that my value is connected to what I do, and that if I screw up, I don't deserve love, or friendship or any other kind of decent relationship, and as a result my confidence was torn to shreds. This past year, from March to March, has been about rebuilding this sense of self from the ground floor up.

I can now turn around on this road and see where I've come from, and be amazed at the quivering idiot I used to be, terrified of mistakes and worried about what people thought of me. I was so controlled by the projections I put onto others, and lived in fear of letting anyone down. I now see how unproductive and difficult it is to live life in this fashion. Why give away all of your decision-making process to outside sources? Really owning my life and my choices, and standing behind them, has been a transformative journey.

There is no sense wishing you weren't on a road that you find yourself on. Sometimes the roads are smooth and clear, with great visibility and sunshine on your face. Other times they are white-out blizzards, with fear in your throat and your tires unable to form any kind of grip with the road. On those roads you simply pray to survive, and suck it up until you make it home to a place of safety.

Each road is different, and unpredictable, but if you are kind to others, and learn as much as you can about yourself no matter where you are traveling, you have the chance to be stronger when that road intersects with a new one. You can't change the condition of the roads, but you can change your reaction to them, and that is what really matters anyway.

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