We live in a very “fake” world. Fake people, fake smiles, fake goals, fake dreams… hell, we even falsify things to ourselves to make ourselves feel better (or worse). Many people with low self-esteem cannot, for the life of them, figure out other people, figure out how they can get into the swim of things, how they can make the most of their mental situations. Many of us grieve with little or no reason what-so-ever, resigning ourselves to our lonely and sometimes lowly fates, accepting failure and planning for nothing but misery in light of the past. What many of us fail to take into account is that the past is the past; no more, no less. We inflate our expectations of ourselves and others when we do end-up deciding on a course of self-improvement, and are subsequently distraught when our results do not line-up with our expectations. Realistic goals are difficult for those of us whose self-esteem depends entirely on reciprocation and positive reinforcement from outside sources, which is not the way to create substantive inner-change.
It took uprooting myself 2,500 miles, embedding myself in a completely new job, a loving-yet-unyielding roommate, many friends, and reflection on the past to finally realize that no-one who meant anything to me ever had any expectations of me besides what I expected of myself. Up until this point, I had failed to anchor myself to the foundation of everything I was and had pushed myself so far into the realm of self-deceit and shadows that I hadn’t a clue which way was out. “Do not grieve in the suffering, we will live with Eternal” was the lyric that broke me earlier tonight, taken from “This Is Absolution” by Killswitch Engage (video above). I couldn’t stop crying, but I was grinning ear-to-ear all the while. I felt like someone had just lifted the veil from my eyes and the shackles from my spirit, as if a great weight had suddenly been removed… it was then that I realized that I had been doing all of this to myself. I was the one that was deriding my own self-worth, I was the one that was creating a living hell inside my own head, I was the one that was creating so many unattainable expectations that needed to be realized now. It was entirely my own fault.
Looking on it now, I realize now that these unrealistic expectations and this guilt was a jagged crown of my own making, complete with daily self-crucifixion. Regrets do not comfort the soul, but merely serve to re-open healed wounds. Giving oneself to sorrow or regret is akin to throwing oneself at the feet of an oppressor (in this case, yourself). I feel as if I am finally ready to drop the jagged crown and let the scars from the rusted nails heal and fade away, as if I can finally see potential pathways for myself that do not involve the negativity that has punctuated much of my inner-being.
I may not be the happiest person all of the time, but I feel as if my rage and my emotions are well-meaning in every sense of the phrase. This emotion drives me, pushes me, makes me remember and realize that I am alive and I am working to resolve something, to make something better. I am pushing myself now, to make-good on all of those promises I made to myself: To never compromise, to remain resolved, and to work with the Flow (so-to-speak). I must be by-and-truly blessed to have the people in my life that I do, that keep me grounded in the present moment who give me power and light and the permission to breathe.
I won’t fail myself again, I know that for a fact.