Let it slide,
Let your troubles fall behind you
Let it shine
Until you feel it all around you…
And I don’t mind
If it’s me you need to turn to,
we’ll get by,
It’s the heart that really matters in the end.
Rob Thomas, “Little Wonders”
For awhile, I didn’t think I was, but I know that I’m well on my way there now.
This past week, I let the weight of my world bring me down, and I fell fast, hitting bottom and reaching a place that I wasn’t sure I could come back from so easily. I’d been there before; I recognized it for what it was, and I knew what was happening. But I didn’t know how far I had fallen until I looked back and realized the magnitude of the changes that had been taking place over the past few days, weeks, maybe even months.
I internalized the difficult situations that were going on around me; I focused on what I had lost rather than being grateful for everything I still had; I began to define myself by external factors, placing all my value in work and related accomplishments. I compared my self-worth to others and battled feelings of inferiority. I foolishly, even dangerously, allowed these thoughts rule me and so I thought, because of that, it was up to me to figure out a way back from the depression I found myself in. Only, I didn’t know how to turn it all around again — to bring back the positive, to return to the person I know I really am.
In all honesty, I was tired of it, I wanted a break from it all — I wanted to hide in my comfort zone, slip back into my shell, pull the covers up over my head and withdraw from the world. And while I felt a longing, a need to surround myself with people, I ended up pushing people further away for my inability to vocalize, admit — or even understand, myself — everything going on within me. And so, unable to let down my guard and say the words even to my family and closest friends, I began to subconsciously create a smiling façade, all the while ignoring responsibilities and making excuses while I placed a wall around myself and retreated.
It all seemed easier than admitting the many mistakes I had made; it was easier than admitting failure — though those mistakes and failures, I have since realized, were only setbacks and maybe not failures at all. Still, this was the mindset that clung to me and that — if I dare to admit — I may have held onto out of fear of finding happiness and success, as irrational as it may seem.
It was a defeatist attitude.
But right now I’m saying the words I know to be true: I am not defeated.
I’ve since realized that sometimes you have a choice when you reach the bottom. You can stay there and drown under self-made weight that threatens to hold you back and drag you down, or you can shed that weight. You can let it go.
Sometimes you can find the strength that seemed lost, but has been there within you all along, and you can use that bottom as a source of renewal as you launch yourself upward and propel yourself forward, as you make your way back to the surface — that place of light and life, that place where you realize you can finally breathe again.
And sometimes, as I’m beginning to really believe, you don’t even have to do it on your own.
I’m not magically transformed. As with anything, that trip back to the surface might take awhile. But I recognize this for what it is and, as such, I know that I’m working my way to something better, out of the depth in which I’d found myself.
I can tell the difference between now and then. I see how changed I am from who I used to be.
It’s how I know I’ll be ok.