I don't think I ever put much stake in the idea until now, but they say, when you say something often enough, it starts to ring true, at least in your own mind. Truth be told, I'm an incredibly stubborn person--it's not at all my best quality, of course, but it's something I have to admit about myself. Unfortunately, the downside to such a characteristic is that not only can it affect my interactions with others but in a lot of ways, it also has an impact on how I view myself and my own life. I have nasty habit of convincing myself that something is right for me and sticking to that initial judgment, thus accepting something that in actuality might not be the proper fit and/or rejecting something much better suited for me. I've touched on this problem in earlier entries and I realize that it's a bigger deal than I previously thought, especially when it causes me to compromise my own happiness. It's one thing to ride through the tough parts of life and accept challenges because they are an unavoidable growing exercise but it's quite another to subject yourself to unnecessary hardship with the hope that things will eventually work themselves out.
I have to be completely honest with myself and own up to the fact that in the last two years or so, on more than one occasion, I have compromised a lot of who I am, what I value and what I know is right. I look back on some of my decisions and to be frank, I am ashamed, not only because I did something wrong, knowing full well that it wasn't an intelligent choice, but because in the end, that decision blew up in my face and left me in a worse position than I was at the start. What's worse is that a lot of the mistakes I have made in the last year especially have been because I wanted to please another person and I think that's what puts up the biggest red flag and bothers me the most.
Typically, I am not a people person and often times, if someone doesn't treat me well, I write them off as unimportant and cut my losses. However, returning to the issue of these plans I tend to make for myself, if a person is part of what I've already mapped out for the future, I take a lot more abuse, so to speak, than I would have endured otherwise. I try to take meaning from these disappointments and I have on several occasions, quite irrationally, of course, imagined myself as a martyr figure, taking these sufferings on with the hope that there will be some pay-off at the end for being so patient. The problem with such behavior though is that there have been times that I've wanted others to change so badly that I have neglected the parts of my life that I can change. I forget that I can't change them but I can change myself--I can control my own actions and ultimately, my own happiness.
None of this is to say that now that I've come to this realization I can enjoy my very own pity party and lament all of the mistakes and missed opportunities I've had over the years, rather I see it as a chance to rejoice. I look at where I am and yes, some things are not at all what I expected, but I've been incredibly blessed and I know I have a bright future ahead of me. I've spent a lot of time very upset about all that I feel I have lost and for the most part, such grieving has not been at all productive. I deserve to be happy and I have to be honest with myself for once and admit that for much of the last two years, I have not been truly happy with my life (even if I've tried to convince myself that I was). When I face that reality, even if it is a bit harsh, I realize that a joy much greater awaits me. I feel uplifted and capable of success, calm and ready to glorify God through the talents He has given me. I've punished myself enough with pining and other self-destructive tendencies--now I need to move forward to accomplish greater feats.
This week, my family gave up one of our dogs after seeing how badly he injured one of our other dogs. None of us wanted to do it and of course, it was painful, seeing as we have had him for at least ten years, but witnessing the healing process our other dog is now undertaking, that pain is less severe. I see in this incident, although small in scale, a similar opportunity for my own healing and my own future. It hurts more than I care to admit to remove the aspects of my life that have proven to be unhealthy, but when I take a deep breath and envision the path now opened up to me, I feel so relieved.
I am a child of God, beautiful and strong, created in His image with the capability of accomplishing some wonderful things in my life. The more I tell myself that and accept its truth, the more clearly I can see how bright the future is that awaits me. I don't know what that future entails, where it will take me or what exactly I'll do, but I know that God is good and He will provide for me, no matter what. It feels incredible to be in a place where I can say that, even if it's been a bit of a challenge to arrive there, but I'm here and all that remains is to go forward.