Friday, November 11, 2016

Be the Change You Want to See in the World


Therapy has taught me so many things. I have learned so much about myself in the past 4 years, and I've changed whole-heartedly for the better. Before I was 30, I used some very unhealthy coping mechanisms just to put one foot in front of the other. I was disconnected from my emotional intelligence, I never listened to my gut. Because I was so disengaged from my emotional intelligence, I didn't understand people. I didn't understand why they behaved the way they did, why they made decisions the way they did, or what made them tick. Looking back, I was a 30 year old child wandering the world, completely in the dark about the true nature of people.

I was a professional at burying my emotions. I wanted to see myself as the fun party girl, always ready to go to the bars, always ready for another drink, always ready for a good time. I fancied myself as level-headed, strong, and unlike other "weak" women, completely unemotional. And because I buried my emotions instead of dealing with them, I was either angry or irritable. All the time. I didn't know how to forgive. Worse, I saw forgiveness as weakness. 

By the time I started therapy when I was 30, my anger, self-hatred, and anxiety had begun to seep into my everyday life. The side effects were palpable. I was having a couple of migraines a month, sleeping for maybe 2-3 hours a night, and I was having uncontrollable emotional outbursts. I'd been prescribed anxiety drugs and painkillers upon leaving Portland, and I'd become a bit too dependent on those as well. Eventually, this ticking time-bomb of a situation came to a head. I had to take steps to better my situation. Between the hubby and I, we decided I would try seeing a psychiatrist.

Therapy helped almost immediately. It allowed me to take a step back from myself and say, "Whoa". I began to see that I had done myself no favors by burying my emotions because guess what? All of those emotions were still there. There was nothing valiant about heading a panic attack off with Xanax (not that there is anything wrong with medication if you need to take it. I've just learned that I don't need it). I gained nil from carrying my anger and inability to forgive throughout my whole life. 

I began to work on my anger. I began to think about forgiveness. Memory by memory, emotion by emotion, my therapist and I are organizing the files in my mind that were previously strewn about. Anger and being unforgiving serves nothing. It accomplishes nothing. It is the heaviest of burdens to bear. I began to see that I didn't have to carry that weight around. I don't have to carry anger from childhood bullying with me. I don't have to be mad at every friend who's no longer my friend. 

Nobody is perfect. Not one person on this Earth is perfect. We all make mistakes. I've made so many mistakes in my lifetime, many of which I'm still trying to forgive myself for. But you know what I've learned in my journey? Sometimes we make mistakes because we just don't know better. Because we are young and naive and don't have the life experience to make a different decision. And I'm not going to hold a grudge against those mistakes. Because what's the point? I gain nothing from holding on to those negative emotions and I lose everything else. 

So I let go of it all. Or, I'm actively trying to let it all go πŸ˜‰

I woke up yesterday to a sunny day. And I felt renewed of hope. I had a completely revitalizing session of yoga where this realization suddenly dawned on me:

What do heroes do when they've lost a fight?

They don't give up. They lick their wounds, and then they pick up their sword and they keep fighting. They fight for what they know is right, regardless of whether it's hard or not. They lose chapters, but they never give up on the book.

And that will be me. I'm still working on things like standing up for myself and setting boundaries in therapy, but today, today I vow to try harder. I will not stand idly by while people bash my beliefs, I will call them on it. Calmly. I'm truly respectful of other people's beliefs. It's time they respected mine.

I will be the change I want to see in the world. 

Because you see, love will win. I just have to believe that. Someday we will live in a world without hate. Someday we will realize that every human is just that- our fellow humans. We are all the same regardless of skin color, wealth, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, and every other wonderful difference that makes us so diverse. Every single being on this planet deserves equality. 

So I am hopeful. I will do what I think is right, even when it's hard. 

I will love. Because no one can take that away from me. 

I will be the change I want to see in the world. 
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17 comments:

  1. Wow This should be required reading for all college students. It is so insightful. Everybody is on a similar journey but it is so easy to turn a blind eye on our feelings or the WHY of our thoughts and feelings. Thanks for the honest blog Jessica!

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    1. Thank you Aunt Steph and Uncle Jack! Our society has made it really easy, and often preferred, to bury our feelings. But I don't wanna live like that anymore! Thanks for reading guys! ❤️

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  2. Bless your heart dear Jessica for stepping out and speaking from your own experiences.

    Yes, LOVE & FORGIVENESS, are what this world needs. To be loving is part of our make up, we were created in love by the Great Creator, and each of us has the capacity to love, and forgive others. None of us is perfect.

    Thank you for this post.

    Love, hugs & prayers dear Jessica ~ FlowerLady

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    1. I can only hope we move towards a more loving and forgiving society. We greatly need it. Thanks for reading FlowerLady! ❤️

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  3. What a beautiful post, Jessica. My hope is that more and more people will reflect these sentiments.

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    1. I really hope so too, Beverly. I really hope so πŸ˜€

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  4. How Beautiful! I love that you so bravely talk about the strides you have made and how you struggle with things but in the end you triumph!

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    1. I think a lot of people struggle as well, and if I can help just one person, it's all worth it 😁

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  5. What a great sentiment, Jessica. In this supercharged world I think we could all use this advice!

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  6. Beautifully written and very brave of your to share all this Jessica. It was like I was reading about myself in many ways because I did some of the same things too. I commend you for wanting to be the change that you want to see in the world. I think if more people would choose to show love, kindness. compassion all while setting health boundaries for themselves, the world would be a much less messed up place. ((((((HUGS)))) and be blessed my friend!

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    1. We are like two peas, Debbie. We've experienced a lot of the same stuff. It's nice to know we're not alone! πŸ˜€

      I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Debbie!

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  7. So many points to agree with you on here! Well said, and I really love the title... Be the change you want to see in the world... Thank you for sharing your story :)

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    1. Thank you Kris! It can be hard to share that part of myself but I think I'm improving πŸ˜€

      I hope you had a great Thanksgiving Kris!

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  8. YES, at times like these we have to have hope for our own sanity that our many small actions will make a difference in the world. And I feel like therapy is so valuable to most people. If I had the time and money, I would honestly want to see a therapist year round, year after year. In college when I was working through some depression and self esteem issues related to a tough roommate situation, I saw a therapist and it was so good to have that neutral sounding board of something who is just there to listen, doesn't judge and helps you work through things. Anyway, that's all to say, good for you. Happy Holidays, Jess!

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    1. I never knew that was something you went through in college, I'm sorry you had to go through that. Therapy is and can be so valuable, I feel like it would help so many people if people just didn't feel judged about going. I'm glad things worked out for you πŸ˜€

      Happy Holidays to you too Lauren!

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  9. *someone* who is there to listen, not something :)

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