Innovation, Leadership, Mind, Self Esteem

The Choices We Make

I’ll admit it- my life isn’t what I would have wanted it to be. Much of it is due to my difficult childhood and the issues I’ve reluctantly and unwillingly carried with me to adulthood.

I’ll also admit that some of my life as I know it now is based on the wrong choices; choices I made due to the old habit of sticking with the familiar: negativity and self-dislike.

I believe in venting because it enables us to release pent-up emotions. Venting helps us sort out in our own minds the turmoil we live with and it helps us to find our own answers. I carried too much inside for too long, and I’m paying a heavy price for it. So are those around me who have to deal with me in some way. They would be my kids, my co-workers, and anyone else with whom I come into contact. It’s not a pretty sight when I blow up at something others deem insignificant or little.

Venting should not be mistaken for whining. Whining, and the woe-is-me attitude, is neither positive nor productive. Whining is self serving and is a weak attempt to invoke sympathy from whomever is within earshot. Whining is likely not to gain anything except to further shut those around us out and turn them away from our pleas for help. Venting should be done in such a way that we take from it and learn. Venting should be a tool for release and for self-help, not self pity.

All too often I’m be told to “get over it.” I hear time and time again that I should consider myself lucky because others have it so much worse.

I’ll concede to the fact that others have it bad, too. I acknowledge and appreciate that others have difficult lives. Very few people in this world lead “charmed” lives. I’ll bet even they have problems, too.

But on the same token, no one but me has lived my life. No one will ever know everything I’ve ever been through. No one can ever know fully, unless they can magically get inside my brain. However, this is in no way meant to misconstrue that my problems are more important than others’ problems. I can only speak for, and defend my own self, my own actions, and my own rights as a human being. Just because someone out there may have it worse than I do does not discount the fact that I also am going through a hard time. It’s just that my hard times are different than others. My experiences and reactions are different because my situation is different from everyone else’s. This is true for every single person.

No one can come close to experiencing the chaos and horror that still swirls daily within my mind. People see what is right there in front of them and they base their decisions on the moment, and understandably so. It’s human nature to judge what’s right in front of us without seeing the big and complete picture.

To those who are insistent on telling me that I’m lucky because I’m not in a war somewhere, that I have some luxuries, or that I’m not homeless, and any number of other attempts to get me to change how I feel, and who I am, or who just try to make me feel great in spite of what I may be going through, I say this to them: I’m at war with myself. I constantly go back and forth with myself about this and that. I have luxuries compared to others, material things, but I’d gladly give them up for peace of mind, happiness and self worth; something I see that many people have. I’d give up everything material that I have right now just to be free from my past and the horrors my past still forces upon me constantly. I’d give it all up just to be released from the daily nightmares my childhood abuser insists on somehow being the main feature of.

I’ve lived on the streets and I have to say that was the happiest time of my life. Why? Because I had no pressures at all. I was free to think without being interrupted. I had no responsibilities except to myself- something we all should have first and foremost. If we can’t take responsibility for ourselves, we sure can’t be taking care of someone else.

I’ve made some pretty bad choices in my life and I pay for those choices daily. Many of those choices were made when I was a lot younger and a lot less wise. Does that mean that just because I’m older and wiser that my actions then should dictate how people see me now, or dictate how I should think, act or feel?

I never learned a lot of things during my childhood that many other people take for granted. I never learned how to love, because I never was loved. I never learned how to interact positively with other, because no one interacted positively with me. I never learned that it was O.K. to take time for myself because I was always told I wasn’t worth the time; that I would never amount to anything and that it would be better for everyone if I were dead. I never had those things in childhood that are so important to the emotional well-being of a child which enables them to grow into happy, self-sufficient adults. I had to learn, and am still learning all those things on my own.

I had to start from the beginning. In some way, I’m still at the emotional age of about 10. That’s when I was first horribly hurt by an adult and that’s when I really began to shut down.

I’m just now beginning to learn to open up and to learn that I am worth the time and that I do have something positive to offer.

The choices I made in my younger years, well- I’m dealing with them the best I can. But the very fact that I learned so little in my younger years hampers my ability to deal with the pressures and responsibilities of my adult years.

But at least I’m trying. It’s tempting every day to end it all- it really is. My kids keep me going. They are who I stay as strong as I can for. I’m a single parent because I chose to do what I felt was the right thing and keep my children knowing their fathers would disappear and be un-involved. Does that mean that I’m not entitled to bad days and to be stressed? Does the fact that I chose this life for those reasons mean I’m supposed to smile, suck it up and be Miss Sunshine all the time?

To me that’s living falsely. I would not be true to myself or anyone else if I pretended everything was hunky dory just because someone has it worse than I do. I don’t, and never will pretend to be someone I’m not.

I wish people would give credit to others before being so quick to judge. See the big picture. Instead of focusing on the negative choices people made in the past, look at the choices they make in the present and the futures they seek to protect and to make better.

I’m making the choice now to get some help for some pretty bad depression and for my lack of being able to cope with life. I could have easily said forget about it and left this life.

But I didn’t. I chose to stand up for myself, fight and soldier on. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to have bad days. That doesn’t mean I don’t have pressures every day. And the fact that someone else may appear to be in a worse situation than me doesn’t take away from my own pressures and problems in life because it’s my life and only I know what I deal with.

I have the right to have a bad day, too! I just choose to handle it differently than others.

I’m choosing to fight. I’m choosing to live, the best way I know how. And I’m choosing my right to vent about my bad day!

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