Let me start by saying, I’m NOT an expert at this. I’m a professional… like a professional student. I’ve been working away at this for the last 20 years. Self improvement is a pretty broad topic and it’s also a very emotional one. It takes a lot of courage to face the truth about yourself and learn to live with who you are. It takes strength to examine those areas of your life that you’d really like to just bury in a hole and forget about.
I’ve tried. It doesn’t work.
It comes back worse than before because now you’ve added guilt to the mix. One thing I had going for me was a support system. I had my mother (who listened to me rattle on and on about how horrible I was as a person, that I couldn’t do anything right, that I was worthless and would never be a good person) who would smile at me and say: Just breathe.
Sometimes I got through entire days ‘just breathing’. Looking back, I can see that I was the type of person who took forever to make a decision. Once the decision was made, I was full throttle until I accomplished what I’d set out to do. It was helping, but the solution was always temporary. It didn’t stick. Before long, I found myself right back in the same old habits and destructive routines.
I had my aunt (who let me sit at her kitchen table and bawl my eyes out, rant and rave about how much I hated my life, that nothing I did ever made a difference) who would wrap her arms around me and say: Easy does it.
Easy does it… It took a while before I realized that didn’t mean I was supposed to relax about things. It meant that I needed to be gentle with myself. I needed to allow myself to process all the emotions I’d kept bottled up in my head and heart for years, so they wouldn’t explode all over the place in a sticky, disgusting mess. That helped me a lot and I was soon able to see my life a little more clearly.
I made some really difficult, life changing decisions because I had the support and understanding that I needed to come to these decisions all on my own. No one else was going to tell me what I should or shouldn’t do. They all encouraged me to do what I needed to do to make the right decision for me. For that, I will be forever grateful.
My aunt convinced me to go to an Al Anon meeting with her. To be honest, I thought is was stupid at first. I didn’t believe it could help me at all. But, I had promised to go to three meetings and give it a chance. I’m glad I did. It was one of the best things I could have ever done for myself. I wasn’t alone in this. Others had lived through the same type of situation I was going through.
I began to heal. This was one of the very first permanent changes I was able to make in my life. I took back control of my life again. I learned to belief that I was worth something. I learned to believe that I deserved to be happy. I learned that I didn’t need people in my life that made me feel small and worthless. I learned to live my life one day at a time.
Eventually I felt stronger, more confident, and happier than I ever had been before. I was ready to try something new. The plan was to meet someone I could go out with on occasion and have a good time. Blow off some steam, maybe become friends. My aunt had just the person in mind.