My path has not been the most straightforward nor consistent one. Or rather, I was not consistent, nor did I always move forward. In fact, I mostly avoided my path altogether.
Maybe you can relate to this.
But don't worry: no matter where you are in life, no matter what you’ve done, or what you’ve gone through, it's okay. Your path still awaits you, without judgment, coercion, or pressure.
Take my hand, and walk with me on my path for a few moments, and you will see that you can move forward on your own path whenever you choose.
The only thing holding you back is you.
Take my hand. Let's walk together.
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I wrote this book for you. But first I wrote it for me. I was the one who needed to read this book, and to do all the work you are doing or have just done. And since I couldn’t find a book that spoke exactly to my need, I spent twenty years searching for the material, experimenting with it, modifying it, and gathering it into a (hopefully) coherent book ‒ all so that I could read it.
Since I had to live out these ideas in the writing of this book, I learned two things about myself - things that maybe you can relate to in yourself as well: I only live out these ideas to the extent to which I am motivated to make changes in myself and, ultimately, in the world; and, I didn’t always want to live them out.
I wanted to nurse my grievances. I wanted to hold my grudges. I wanted to continue playing the victim. I wanted to keep experiencing my pain. I wanted to hold onto the anger that felt strong to me. And I couldn’t be blamed for my anger, since I was the victim. Or so I wanted to believe.
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I was quite comfortable in those unpleasant places inside myself. I knew them well. My responses and reactions arising from those distressing, painful places were consistent and predictable. And I felt like I was in control.
Except I was not in control ‒ not of myself, not of my circumstances, not of my thoughts nor of my emotions.
I chose to dwell in those inner places of pain and to allow them to define me. I chose the emotions I wanted to experience, because they reinforced my story, the one about how I was a victim. I wanted to stay in those places of pain because I had forgotten how to be anywhere else. I had forgotten there was anywhere else to be. The pain was all I remembered, because it was all I chose to see.
And if I were to make changes in myself, then I couldn’t continue blaming someone else for my shortcomings. If I chose not to be the victim, then I had to face up to the responsibility for my actions and my words, for my thoughts and my emotions.
That felt too hard to accept.
If I chose to let go of the anger that was so familiar and, in my mind, so justified, then what would keep me going? The anger felt powerful; it made me feel strong. But defiance, bitterness, and wrath did not make me strong. They made me brittle.
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I didn’t know myself as anything other than a traumatized, angry victim. My hurtful experiences were the reason for everything I didn’t like in myself and in my life. They were my security blanket. They were my identity. If I didn’t identify myself as a victim of trauma, then who was I?
I had no idea. And that scared me.
So for many years I hid from these truths, and continued to feel hurt and to be hurtful. But finally I was ready to look my inner brute in the face and put a leash and muzzle on her. I was tired of her driving me to hurt the people I loved because she felt wounded. I had to integrate her back into myself and begin the healing process.
And it is a process, and I have not arrived. I doubt I will arrive before I die. But I have moved, a little, in the direction I want to go, and every victory, every obstacle overcome, is worth celebrating.
So I wrote this book for me. I have gained much in living out these ideas and allowing them to change me. Now I offer this book as a love letter to you. I hope you have found love within its pages, and maybe some ideas that benefit you as well.
With all my love,
December 21, 2020
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