Last post I shared my story of having life collapse around me, and deciding to kill off the old me, to create a new and better version. (And regular readers here will know that was the second time I had essentially recreated myself.) Now let’s explore whether that is something you may want to do, and what that looks like if you do...
As for the first part, it’s pretty simple. At least from my perspective. The psychiatrists may beg to differ. They might think you need to quantify your unmet childhood needs, search for repressed feelings and memories, or get in touch with your “inner child.” I tend to take a more simplistic approach:
If it’s not the life you were meant to live, it means you bought someone else’s story for yourself. (Which I discussed in this post.) Once you discover that you bought the wrong story, this usually leads to a search for blame, recrimination, or even revenge.
You. Don’t. Have. Time. For. That.
FFS, this is your life we’re talking about here, not some cheesy, direct-to-video screenplay. (Although, god knows, it would probably make a riveting flick.) The process of looking for blame is arduous, ghastly, and gruesome. It takes a long time. And there are only two paths this can lead to:
Your heart can hold one emotion at a time. If you’re holding onto feelings like revenge, reprisal, or retaliation, there is no room for love, healing, or forgiveness. And the mere process of blaming someone else for the state of your life – even if it’s true – inherently requires you to be a victim.
Okay your mom tried to bronze your baby boots, and you were still in them. Get the fuck over it. Okay to teach you how to swim, your dad took you in a boat to the middle of the lake and threw you overboard and by the time you cut your way out of the bag, he was gone. Get the fuck over it. (Do you have any idea how many batshit crazy things you’ve been doing to your kids?)
My mother truly loved me and wanted the best for me. So she advised me to graduate high school and apply for a job at the GM factory in Janesville. Because that’s what every mom in the Midwest was telling their children in those days. Just like all the parents who are telling their kids to learn to code today. That advice is just as well-meaning and just as misdirected. Everybody is just doing the best they can with what they've got to work with. (And if you are a parent, make sure you listen to my podcast for raising prosperous kids here.)
The bigger the gulf between the story you bought and the story you are really meant to live – the bigger opportunity you have to be an aggrieved victim. Resist. Because in most cases, the exploiter and the exploited are co-creators in depravity.
You can be a victim, or you can be a victor, but you can’t be both. Choose mindfully.
You can take five years with a psychiatrist and go through the Rorschach ink blots, search for the meaning of symptoms, perform dream analysis, and question all your parapraxes, resistance, transference, and panic attacks. (And maybe you should. I had four years of therapy and found it extremely helpful.) But whether you do or don’t work with a mental health counselor – you don’t have to wait to find the right therapist to make a change in your life.
You just have to make the decision to stop living the old life and start creating a new one.
And please don’t ask me in the comments below how to know if you should make that decision. If you have to ponder the question for even three seconds, the answer is ‘yes.’ If your life was the one you really want, you would have bailed out four paragraphs ago and already be checking your Facebook feed or looking for Baby Yoda GIFs. As always, I believe the best advice is the simplest. And the best guidance I can give you on this subject is simply…
Be willing to let go of who you are – to transform into who you are meant to become.
Best case scenario, this is simply a case of releasing the old you. But if you’ve been continuing deeply-ingrained, intergenerational toxic patterns – it may require killing off the old you. For most people, the most liberating day of your life will be the one you realize that some bridges are meant to be burned.
Once you’re willing to do that, a whole new world of possibilities – a whole new life – opens up for you. Unfortunately, there is still one more tripwire that sabotages many people from making the jump. We’ll explore that in the next post. Until then, please share your thoughts below.