Do you remember when you were a little kid and all you wanted to do was to be around your friends, play and have fun? You would look forward to every fun-filled moment you could have no matter what the game was that you were playing, what relay race, what biking adventure you were going have? I certainly do! It was a very freeing and kid-like time. Then the older we get, the more we really begin to care about what we look like, how we talk, what people think about us, right? Suddenly we find ourselves in experiences in our adult lives with even MORE issues and deep-seeded emotions, and we experience some pretty painful situations that we THINK we cannot get ourselves out of. The experiences are infinite! We can be with our friends who we think are judging us, hang with our buddies that cut us down for not making enough money, be with family that we feel like we simply don’t measure up to, be in relationships we feel that we cannot escape, etc. The list, as I said, is endless. We KNOW these situations do not do much for us, and yet we continue to put ourselves in these spots and hang out with people who don’t fulfill us the way we really desire of them or we keep running back to. Why?
I remember just a few years ago, I had a very close friend whom I thought I could I trust my life with. He and I were thick as thieves, having fun, going out, traveling to different places, being introduced to new people all the time. We would share and talk about our dating lives and have meals together. He was like the brother I never had. He was also NOT a very well individual. He had addictive tendencies, and now when I look back, very sociopathic ones as well. We became so close that I would tolerate the abuse from him: being yelled at, accused of things I never did, being left places with no ride back, being ignored for “better” people, being made fun of, and being in situations that really made me feel like s***. In the beginning, we created this HUGE circle of friends that over time made me feel like I was being left behind. I know what you’re thinking, “Why did you continue to keep going back?” Well, I asked myself the same question. And I kept asking myself for YEARS. All I could come up with at the time was “Because I love my friend and the people we hang out with, I should just ‘suck it up’ and enjoy myself.” Yeah, regardless. Regardless of what? My sanity, my self-worth, my dignity? I didn’t have much left, and I was quickly running out fast.
After a few more years of this craziness, and beginning to delve deeper into personal growth, I started to have a better understanding of how much I mattered. I knew I was not a horrible person or sad or destitute or ugly or dispensable. But somehow, for the sake of my friends, I felt like I had to believe the things I was being told, and keep going back for more to feel complete or a have a life! What a load! It wasn’t until I was so worn down that I began to seek out new friends and situations that made me feel better. That uplifted me instead of tearing me down. Ones that made me feel equal and recognized the talents that I had, and who went to places and events that supported my growth and not my demise.
I think we get SO addicted to conflict that we keep running back to the situations that pretty much are killing us, because we believe that kind of action and interaction is the only way to get Love. To make us feel like we belong to something… anything. We know deep down we are hurting, but our voice never comes out enough to stop us and shout, “NONE OF THIS IS TRUE! You don’t belong here.” I had to REALLY believe in myself enough to know that I had A LOT to contribute, that I had gifts to share. That I was strong enough to morph my situations into ones that nurtured and fed my spirit because I believed that I deserved to grow.
There are SO many situations that we constantly keep putting ourselves into for fear of losing something that really, when you think about it, we never had. We keep hoping that if we keep repeating the same patterns, hang out with abusive friends, stay with abusive spouses and partners, keep going to jobs that we are torn down at, keep eating the same food, keep taking the same drugs, keep NOT exercising, keep NOT looking for a job, keep returning to situations where we are so cut down, that something, somewhere, somehow our lives will change. But have they? Our dreams stay dreams because we don’t put the real effort forth to move beyond what is comfortable. (And last I checked, I didn’t know abuse and low self-esteem equaled comfort. I always thought of comfort like a down-filled bed, pillows and gorgeous view ;)) Really, we call our stale patterns and hurtful situations comfort? I think it’s time we change this meaning and give ourselves a chance to change our lives.
Today, pick a situation in your life that you would like to change. Think about a dream, no matter how small, that you would like to accomplish and experience it coming to life! Ask yourself, is what you are doing NOW getting you closer to that dream? Find the Self-Love in you enough to pick yourself up first just this one time. Yes, you’ll feel uncomfortable, and you’ll more than likely find yourself wanting to revert back to the old experiences. But the REAL questions you need to ask yourself is, “Where has my past and current situation gotten me? Has it gotten me closer to what I want to accomplish?” If your answer is no, then it’s time for you to consider a rewiring of sorts. And part of that letting go is bringing up that courage in you that you know you have to make tiny uncomfortable steps every day to find more pleasurable and uplifting situations to place yourself in. Feel in your heart, and pick the pain or the pleasure. You have already picked pain over and over again. I would LOVE to see you choose pleasure this time, to see you LIBERATE and give yourself the privilege and the freedom to experience situations that help YOU grow, and not live the dreams of others. Look, no one said it would be very easy, but change as I have said MANY times before, requires faith, consistency and effort. You will get to take credit for gliding towards your dreams and happiness and be surrounded by people that support you and in situations that fulfill YOU! That much you deserve…
And by the way, my old friend? Well, we are no longer friends. But I have great Love for him. I’m living a happy life of opportunity and being of service to others like my students and my clients, and I Love myself a heck of a lot more than I ever have! And he, so I’ve heard, is sadly still struggling and still recreating those old times. So from here, I continue to wish him the best with Love.
So, change your situations. See what happens. Will it change YOUR life? Tell me what situations you’d like to change. Let me know in the comments!
All my Love,
Andrew “Drew” Parales is a Vocational Rehab Educator for students with disabilities in transition & employment, a school site program & events coordinator/trainer. Connect with Drew at: