Sometimes I think back on less pleasant memories from my past and I get lost.
I’ll think of old relationships that weren’t the healthiest, and I’ll remember all the negative ideas I developed about myself in those relationships, and it’s life falling into a rabbit hole. I’ll fall back into that person I was years ago and I’ll languish in her guilt. I’ll take on my own guilt as well as that of those who hurt me, failing to differentiate between my actions and those that were taken against me.
Sometimes these things make me feel lost. Daily they influence my subconscious beliefs about myself. I try to hide them. I try to move past them, and yet it’s not always easy to do. It’s easiest to believe the worst about ourselves, and it’s easiest to believe those who speak that worst the most loudly.
Whenever I speak of such things with my therapist, she always asks me what I have learned from these relationships or events. And it makes me think.
Looking at it, I have learned a lot.
I have learned that friendships, no matter how old or how entrenched, aren’t worth sacrificing your self worth for.
I have learned that other’s opinions of me sometimes say just as much about them as they do about me.
I have learned that if someone treats me with disrespect that it is their fault, not mine. (Well, I’m still working on that one.)
I am trying to learn that I am worth standing up for, that I am worth respect.
I have learned to avoid situations that make me feel uncomfortable for the wrong reasons. I have learned to avoid such people.
I have learned that I am worth and that I deserve the company of good people. That I belong in that company.
That last one is perhaps one of the hardest for me, but it is also the one that has changed my life the most.
I never thought that bad things really ever happened to me. If someone disrespected me, even in quite serious and truly significant ways, I would push it to the back of my mind.
I was always too afraid to go to those places. My mind would get lost. I would get dizzy. My heart would race. Things around me would quite literally go black. And I would be gone for days sometimes, lost in this world of self loathing.
But the more I start to brave those terrains, the more I started to realize that shit happens to us all, myself included. And I am allowed to have those scars. I am allowed to acknowledge them and grieve them. They are allowed to hurt.
But I am also allowed to heal them.
I am allowed to move into the sun. I am allowed to grow. I am allowed to usher in a transformation that turns the ugly into something beautiful.
It’s not easy. It’s really not easy.
But beauty can come from pain just as flowers can swell from the storms.
That’s the amazing part of life.
It’s all what we make of it.
Butterfly photo available from Shutterstock