I haven’t written anything here in a long time. A ton of things have happened since I last posted. I don’t even know where to start, so I’ll just highlight the major stuff:
- My wife and I separated
- I found a new girlfriend
- I was rear-ended by a semi truck
- I moved in with my girlfriend
- I broke up with my girlfriend
- I moved back in with my wife
- I developed a serious issue with alcohol
- I went to rehab
- I split with my wife again
- My company was bought, and I received a sizable equity payment
- I was laid off from my job
- I found a new girlfriend
- I started a new job
I’m glossing over a million important details. However, it feels good to just put out there the major events in my life, over the course of the last 16 months.
The biggest event for me, over the last 16 months though, was going to rehab. I developed more foundational skills on how to deal with my emotions there, than I had over the previous 35 years of my life. I honestly wish everyone could go, just for that reason.
The biggest thing I learned – my feelings aren’t real.
That might sound strange, but hear me out.
The world is made up of facts, realities, etc. I choose what meaning I assign to those realities.
So, if I am unable to lift a specific amount of weight for a day, I can choose how I feel about that. My reaction might be to feel inadequate. I could choose to think that I’ll never be good enough to manage that weight. I could choose to think of all of my peers who have successfully lifted that weight.
Alternatively, I could acknowledge that I’ve been training really hard lately, and some time off might be all I need to get back at it. I could choose to acknowledge how far I’ve come in the last year. I could choose to be patient with myself, and allow my body to adapt at the pace it knows how to.
This concept works in all areas of my life.
If I make a mistake at work, I can choose to feel that I am bad. I could choose to feel that I never was able to do my job. I could choose to feel like a failure.
The flip side, is that I could choose to learn from that mistake. I could choose to take steps to ensure I’m less likely to make that same mistake again.
All of this really boils down to a simple concept.
Because I am alive, things in my life have happened to make me insecure about myself. Those things are so deep in my subconscious mind, that I have no chance of completely healing them. My remaining life will be spent, dealing with the result of these insecurities (btw – this isn’t just about me. YOU have the same issues).
Over the course of my life, I’ve learned to deal with these insecurities with a variety of unhealthy behaviors. I withdraw from friends and family. I drank to numb myself. Those were my unhealthy behaviors, I’m sure you have your own.
Those behaviors never addressed my insecurities. Rather, those behaviors only reinforced the fear of inferiority that has plagued me since I was a child.
Here’s the real kicker – In order to address what I’m afraid of, I have to do exactly what I’m afraid of.
So, if I’m afraid of abandonment in a relationship, I have to give myself wholly to that relationship. I can’t control what the other person does. I can only control myself. In doing so, either the relationship works, or it doesn’t. I can’t control that. What I can control is how I choose to behave in it.
If I’m afraid of failure at work, I must still do my job to the best ability I know how. If that isn’t enough, then I will be let go. I will learn from what I was unable to do, and I will find a better job next time. What I cannot do, is withdraw behind a computer screen, trying to play a cover-your-ass game.
If I’m afraid of failing a WOD, or a max effort lift, I must still try to make that lift. I must still try. I must still summon the courage to do exactly what I’m afraid of.
I had a therapist that gave me an analogy that was helpful. It’s called “Re-Parenting” yourself.
Think of yourself as a parent, and as a child. Your irrational emotions, are the behaviors of your child self. They are the beginning of a list of events that hurt you in your life. Your ability to reason, and do the right thing, is your adult self. It is the result of growing from your experiences.
Think of your parent self, taking care of your child self. When I feel like I want to run away from something, I think of the child version of myself. I think of holding him, and reassuring him that he is enough. That he is ok.
Then I hold his little hand, and I walk into the face of fear. Together, we brazenly walk towards a better version of me.
I’m sure it sounds silly, but it’s gotten me through a ton of difficult situations in the last year. Here’s a few good links to get you started: