Life is a library. We are not one subject, we are not one topic and we are more than just one chapter. Life isn’t just about the beginning and the end, it’s about all the in-between. The moon changes it’s phases, a snake sheds it’s skin and still yet this earth keeps turning. We are not who we were last year, we are not who we were last month, we are not who we were yesterday nor are we who we were five minutes ago. Change is scary, but change is important. There is no shame in change.
I’ve realised recently that guilt and shame are common emotions of my past actions, past behaviours and past choices, but the question is, does a past really define who we are today or does it merely sculpt us into who we are in this present moment. If I’m not feeling shameful or guilty for what I am doing right now, then I’m doing something right; right?
At this present moment in my life I am extremely happy, I am mindfully well and have an extremely positive outlook on life. This hasn’t always been the case though. In the past I have struggled with anger management, self inflicted emotional abuse, social anxiety and resentments. The struggle I find myself battling now is identity crisis; who am I? Am I truly who I am now or is the real me who I was then frantically treading water hoping not to sink back to old ways. I try not to be too hard on myself because life is imperfect, imperfections are flaws and flaws are to be accepted.
Social Learning Theory (Bandura 1977) suggests our attitudes are learned through imitation and modelling. We are influenced by our parents, our social circles and the culture we live amongst. This would mean change isn’t possible if our environment cannot be changed. Part of me strongly believes in this. A catalyst in my life was when I went travelling. I took off from my negative, stressful, urban lifestyle and exchanged it all for a positive, peaceful and rural living. It worked, I could finally reflect on my life from the outside looking in, instead of criticising it from the inside looking out. Unmedicated and extremely mentally ill at the time it’s the exact change I needed to get well and become a better version of myself. A journey from there was no doubt without it’s ups and downs but four years later, I’ve never looked back.
When things take a turn for the worst in life it’s very easy to lay the blame elsewhere. My parents are to blame, my school was to blame, my job at the time is to blame, my ex boyfriend was to blame but the reality is we didn’t accept the situation. We weren’t living we were existing. What will be will be and what was, well was. Taking on Carl Rogers humanistic approach of optimistic views of human beings, I do believe there is the capability of self actualisation in all of us. The penny dropped for me when I realised I needed an environment that offered genuineness, acceptance and empathy. If I didn’t have it where I was, it was time to journey and go and find it.
I always imagined my journey to be thousands of miles, across different countries and terrane. Physical mountains needed to be climbed because the mental mountain in my head couldn’t be. I was stuck on the same chapter over and over again. Doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Which by the way is the definition of insanity. Turns out my new environment that would allow me to change and to grow was just four minutes up the road with a man and two boys who I had no idea at the time were to become my husband and children. Like a lotus in muddy waters, I still grew.
I haven’t reached self actualisation just yet, but Im working on it. Im closer than I’ve ever been and the furthest away I’ll ever be. Change isn’t easy nor is it quick, but it is achievable. Anything is when you put your mind to it. Socrates once said “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”
Life is a library. Everything is borrowed, but you get to keep all the memories.
A girl not living but journeying to the moon.