Don’t Be Afraid

My idea of personal learning is generally the equivalent of throwing someone who can’t swim into a shark and alligator  infested pool of water and hoping they’ll learn to swim. Or strapping them down on an operation table and cutting whatever I think doesn’t look good and then shoving whatever’s left into the shape I want it to be. No anaesthetic.

That’s how I teach myself. I don’t treat others this way because that’s horrifying. I could never treat anyone like that! Yet I force myself to be the way I want to be through a combination of fear, pressure, and callousneas. Why do I recognize emotional manipulation so well? Well, not only have I dealt with it from others, I regularly use it on myself. Why do I show signs of someone who was starved of the most important things? That’s why. I regularly abused myself. When I was like six, I would sometimes smack my head against the wall or pinch myself because I needed to suffer. When I was older and realized that I wanted to live, I switched tracks. I would withold things like relaxation or food that wasn’t canned from myself except for when I couldn’t stand it anymore. Then I would loath myself for my perceived weakness. The cycle would repeat.

I hated myself. I hated who I was and who I used to be. I didn’t even think of myself as having a future until someone showed me otherwise.

Then I would throw myself into stupid situations by putting way too much on my plate and end up breaking down because it’s too much. But hey, I get to glue myself together into the form I think is most right and beautiful and when I don’t think it’s enough (which I never do), I do it again and again and again.

So now you know. That was me. To be honest, I didn’t want to leave that section up, but this is my past and I won’t be ashamed of it. Maybe one day it’ll help someone. That’s normally the case for me sharing something like that, but this is my Philautia Project. I need to stay true to it. So I’m leave this up for myself more than anyone else right now.

The point of this is, don’t do that to yourself. Don’t be like me. Do not copy me in this. It is a horrible strategy called “I must suffer” and it is going to hurt you in the long run. It is not worth it. I don’t know if anyone told me to do this. I don’t know why I did…Well, except… I am strict to myself. I am a perfectionist. I am ambitious. I used to be bullied, disrespected, and ignored. I have a lot of pressure from others. I have anxiety and can be prone to depression. I have PTSD. There’s a lot of reasons why I might have done this to myself. I don’t know and in the end, it doesn’t matter.

It was wrong of me to treat myself like that and while I wish I realized it sooner, I’m glad it happened the way it did. It took me falling apart in the office of my psychologist to realize this fact. It took him talking to me and giving me feedback for me to get a better idea of what is normal and what isn’t. It took him telling me it was cruel to abuse myself that way for me to realize that this was wrong.

If you go down this road, you will hate yourself. Your current issues will multiply. You will get yourself into problems that are not something you can get out of yourself. You will help cause more problems than you will solve. You will go through life afraid and tense, ready to metaphorically bolt at any moment from your relationships and happiness in general.

It is a bad idea. Don’t do it. Do not.

However, if I could go back in time and tell myself this, I wouldn’t because one day maybe this experience will help somebody else and… I needed to learn this lesson one small bit at a time. Im certain that once I build up my self confidence, it’ll be harder to topple. When you go through adversity and seek to learn from it, you come out stronger than before.

It’s probably a lesson that’s obvious to everyone else, but for the perfectionist person that I am, this is a incredibly valuable one.

My self-hatred and complete lack of self-love is a horrible monster that’s grown throughout the years. I fed it, watered it, and cradled it close to my heart. It is only natural then that it is so difficult to kill. It is a giant cockroach monster that I have had to stop feeding, watering, and holding close to my heart. That is the only way to kill it. There is no quick solution for problems such as these. They need to be done carefully and in steps. It’s harder to implement in practice.

While I did learn that cutting off parts of yourself because they don’t conform to your own extreme and inaccurate idea of perfection (drawn from separate and often conflicting standards) is a bad idea, but it took me longer to realize that I needed to stop emotionally manipulating myself to force myself into that ideal too. Then I realized that I had to go beyond my current apathy. I needed to be-here it is-nice to myself.

Nice to myself? It’s been a foreign idea until fairly recently. Like around the start of this blog. This blog is me trying to be nice to myself. Yeah, I know. I’m awful at this. I’m getting better, but there is a lot for me to learn.

Today, I realized there’s another way to do that.

I need to let things occur naturally.

I need to stop. Just stop it. I need to leave myself alone. I need to trust that I will not go crazy and become a moral degenerate just because I have self confidence and have stopped trying to mentally and emotionally punish myself in various creative yet cruel ways.

I was so scared. Am scared. I’ve lived this way for so long I don’t know how to live any other.

Yes, I’ve been progressing. I’m proud to say this. Recently, I’ve been doing things for myself not because they were necessary, but because I want to. It was nice-really nice-really things have progressed to the point where what I’m currently doing won’t cut it. I have to take that leap of faith and trust that I won’t fall.

I have to jump and I’m afraid.

I’m relying a great deal on my faith and trusting that my God won’t let me fall, but I need to trust myself too. I can trust my God no problem, but myself? Myself????

I have to tell myself I can do this. I can do this. I have to give myself pep talks throughout the day, sometimes out loud, but that just increased my chances of being able to move forward.

I can do this. Just jump, me!

I have been easily startled as of late. My circumstances have been rough recently. It’s not something that I can speak of easily, but it’s something that has taught me to be more courageous and to seek peace in even in the darkest of moments. I’ve learned to be less afraid, but I’m still prone to fear. I let it go and then it inevitably returns. It’s like taxes.

I am so tired of being afraid. It’s exhausting. It’s given me more problems than I can count. It needs to stop.

I need to stop. I need to go. I need to leap.

Today, I’m looking in the mirror and telling myself, “Keep going. Stop being afraid.” I visualized me jumping off and moving forward, but maybe I need to do that more. Like every time I’m afraid.

But that might be me forcing it again right? I don’t know. I really don’t.

Everyone has their own path and their own missions in life. We need to let them do their job and focus on our own. Ignore all distractions. Let peace fill your heart. Meditate and let your thoughts free. Face your weaknesses. That’s what I have been doing recently and it really helps although mine is more of meditation and exercise. It’s called Qi Gong.

That’s what I’ve been telling myself and I know this is good. Maybe I just need to let it go and keep going. Even though I’m scared, I need to let it go and do this.

Today, I looked deep within myself and recognized my weakness. My lack of faith is the problem right now. That’s what I need to face the most. It’s necessary for me to resolve this issue.

I have no idea what I’m doing, guys. How do I act on this resolution of mine? I have no idea save that if I have peace in my heart, then there’s no room for fear.

Oh I got it!

I need to challenge myself. Tell myself I can do this and get up when I stumble. I need to do things I ordinarily wouldn’t do.

I don’t know why I didn’t realize this. I mean I talked about it in my previous post. It all seems so clear now.

Just goes to show this important truth: life is a journey where we stumble around in the dark trying to find light. Maybe because it’s so dark sometimes, we can’t see that we aren’t alone. There are others with us too. Some also stumbling and others holding a bright light. Maybe we need to rely on others sometimes, but most importantly of all, rely on ourselves.