The following is something that has come to light in my own head in the past couple of hours and I'm sharing it here because I hope it might help others, too. At the risk of sounding like I'm tooting my own horn, here it is. Today has seen an amazing revelation in the old Schadeboy brain. If anyone noticed that the sky above Fort Huachuca suddenly got brighter, it's probably due to the light bulb that went off in my head.
I've been struggling with self-image issues most of my life. Self-esteem has always been on the lower end of the spectrum with me. Being overweight only compounded the issue. Because I have low self-esteem, I never felt that I was worth much to most people and really felt insignificant in this world. Growing up as a teenager and even a young adult I could never fully understand how anyone would ever find me as an attractive person, one of the cool kids who people wanted to hang out with and young women would want to date. These issues held me back significantly in my development. It only recently occurred to me that the reason I don't seem to have proper relationships with people is because I never truly learned how to have them to begin with. I think this is mainly because I always held back whenever I would socialize. I never became part of the crowd. Most of the time when I was in groups of people I would hide from the others because I never really wanted the spotlight; I never wanted to be the focus of people's attention for fear that I would do or say something stupid and be seen as a fool. My confidence was very low. Not in all things, but in most things.
This has led to me leading a life where I don't know how to maintain my relationships with the people that mean the most to me; my wife, my children, my family, and my friends. I'm convinced that most of the time, when relationships go south, it's because I didn't do my part. Now, well into my middle-ages, I'm finding that the skills I failed to develop have turned into depression, self-loathing, and other self-destructive forms. I'm convinced that everything that's wrong in my life is my doing. I see more failures and iniquities in myself than successes and virtues. I lack self-discipline and self-respect. And in some respects I feel that life for everyone else would be better if I just were not here.
I've been hearing a lot of self-help dialog lately about how to change one's life and how to build up your own self-respect and dignity. That our happiness is something that's built up in our own selves, by our own selves, and is not controlled by others. And if we allow others to control our happiness and self-respect, we are giving that power away and not retaining it. I've been hearing this for years, and deep down I have known these principals are correct, but I had no idea how to apply these ideas to myself. One problem I have is letting the negative voices that are entering my head have precedence in my thoughts. For the longest time I have been ignoring the positive voices. I have been choosing to believe the negative; the lies that are being spoken to me by the adversary and his minions. They don't want me to be happy. They want me to wallow in my misery. And listening to them has taken its toll.
I have known for a long time that in order to change my life, it's up to me. I have to stop relying on other people to lift me up. I have to do it myself. The problem I have is I’ve no idea what I need to change about myself or what I need to do to change. I know that change needs to happen, but what it is exactly has always been a puzzle to me. On top of this, knowing that I have so much to change about myself overwhelms me. I’m the type that feels that I need to change everything all at once; I don’t want to wait. I’m impatient and want to be fixed right now and that is such a daunting thought that it freezes me into doing nothing at all. I don't do anything. No change. And so I just stay the same.
Today I realized that it doesn't matter how much I need to change or that I don't know what I need to change about myself to make my life better. I just need to know where to start. And I also realized today that I do know where to start. What I need to change will come to me as I proceed on the path. I just need to start on the path. And for that, I know what the first step is; strengthening my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I start building my relationship with him, and everything else will fall into place. My path will be lit with the Light of Christ and knowing the "what" and the "how" will be revealed to me and in the proper order. I may have a lot to change, but that doesn't mean I have to change it all at once and trying to do so is a recipe for disaster. The key is to take it all a step at a time, in God's time. He will reveal to me what to work on next as I progress. To this degree I am placing my faith in Him.
This thought has made a huge impact on my mood, today. I feel awake. I feel a new strength and resolve. I need to make sure I don't let life beat me down about it, though, which is easy to do. I have a lot of work ahead of me, and it won't be easy. But it will be worth it.
The interesting thing is that all of this came to my mind with one simple little action on my part. As I was walking down the hallway in the building where I work, I made a conscious effort to straighten up. That's all. I lifted my head up, squared my shoulders, and stopped walking with what I perceive as a severe slouch. And it was like a new circuit in my brain was activated. All of a sudden, I understood what all of those self-help and inspirational books and posters I've been reading have been trying to say to me. It really is up to me! And it always has been. It always will be. I can't let anyone else control how I feel; about myself or about my life. Again, that's not an easy thing to do, but I know now that I can work on myself. I really can change. I just need to do it!
It's been said that the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Here's to starting on my new journey. I can't wait to see myself at the other end. I am awesome!