Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Always Look For The Silver Linings

I would like to start this out with a disclaimer.  I do not have any kind of professional or educational background in counseling or psychology.  All of the following advice or suggestions are just from my personal experiences and those experiences of people I know personally.  They are my opinions, feelings, and should be taken as that.

I’ve noticed that a couple friends of mine are having a hard time emotionally as of late, and while I won’t name names or divulge details, I’ll just say it seems their self esteem and views on life seem to be shaken.  I’ve heard that the Holidays can be unnerving for some and downright depressing for others, not everyone’s days are merry and bright this time of year, and I’d like to take the time to tell them that while you may be experiencing heavy storms on the relationship front or maybe other aspects of life (family, work, arguments with friends, loss of loved ones, etc.) this journey will not always be in the Forest of Endless Night, there will be sunshine, I promise.  I can’t tell you when day will break; it comes at different times for everyone, BUT IT WILL COME.  

For those of you, who have lost a loved one, whether to death or a change of heart, please remember your healing process is not on some arbitrary timeline.  Yes, your friends might tire of hearing about your loss, but that doesn’t mean your feelings are any less important or that you should speed your recovery. Take the time to get better instead of burying everything below the surface, because tossing dirt on a problem isn’t going to solve it, emotional issues have the strangest way of unearthing themselves at the most inopportune moments.  Grieving is different for everyone, so what might work for me may not work for you, the trick is to find what works for you and to go after it.

This morning I was texting a friend of mine to cheer her up and I offered up this piece of wisdom, now keep in mind that it’s intent was to make her laugh, but it still rings true.  “You have to protect you first. You’re never going to survive the zombies otherwise.”  Apocalypse jokes aside what I have found when dealing with loss (whether it be a friend or lover or the heartbreaking hybrid) the best thing you can do to get over it is to work on making yourself a better person for YOU, not to get that person back or to get back at them, but so that you can feel good about who you are again.  By protecting yourself I’m talking about not allowing those mean voices in your head to beat you up with a million “what ifs” or “if only I had {insert your personal method of self torture here}” remind yourself of all the things you love about yourself and work on fixing the things that could use some work.  Focus on the silver linings, even if they’re really thin… and if you having a hard time seeing them do not be afraid to ask someone who loves you to point them out for you.  I remember while going through some pretty awful break ups for every one thing I could think of that I missed about my ex, my girlfriends could list 10 reasons why they were grateful I was no longer in such an unhealthy situation.  Silver linings are so important, they are a big reason why I started my “Monthly Wrap Ups” on this blog, they remind me that even in the middle of a personal crisis a bad day doesn’t mean I have a bad life.  I have more things in my life to be grateful for than to be depressed by current setbacks.  It reminds me that depression lies.  It reminds me that even if things are bad now, they will be good again.

Not too long ago (almost two years ago, time seems to fly by a lot faster the older I get) I was feeling somewhat lost and lonely.  I decided the best way to combat those feelings was to embrace them and call the loneliness independence.  I was able to prove to myself that I could enjoy my own company and I could create my own adventures.  I started a photo journal of sorts on Facebook that I titled “Finding My Bliss” and set out on a journey to take day trips and to photograph the process.  I learned things about myself and how to take some really cool pictures.  I’m by no means a professional photographer, nor is that even one of my dreams, but I am someone who likes to create pretty images whether it is through the lens of a camera or with a paintbrush and an arsenal of watercolor paints.  I found that being on the road alone relaxed me and gave me a time and place to think about what was going on in my life, and how incredibly lucky I am to live where I do, and to have the ability to just get in my car and go wherever the road may lead.  It taught me that while it is an incredible feeling to have that someone special to share your life with, you can also make some pretty amazing memories while you’re single.

For my friends who’s self esteem has taken a hit recently, I can say all the words in the world (and I mean them from the bottom of my heart) but I know that it is up to you to believe them for them to matter.  I will never stop telling you how important you are, how beautiful you are, how intelligent, and how anyone would be lucky to have you in their lives.  How anyone who doesn’t see how amazing you are clearly is stupid and doesn't deserve you.  But until you believe it yourself, they are just words.  You have to be able to look in the mirror and see the awesome for yourself.  It’s in there, I promise.  I wouldn’t make time for you in my life if you weren’t special.

This post is in no way meant to trivialize anyone’s pain, but only to remind you that it is temporary.  Work through the darkness even when it seems endless.  Find joy in the little things, because it’s often the smallest things that mean the most.  Surround yourself with people who truly care about you, and don’t be afraid to cut out the ones who weigh you down (even when it’s scary to say goodbye).  Don’t worry about what other people think about how long it’s taking you to heal.  Get better on your own schedule, I’m not suggesting that you wallow in pain forever, but as long as you are actively trying to get better realize that there will be good days and bad days, there will be giant leaps forward and there will be setbacks, that is normal.  Just try not to let your pain define you.  You are better than that, and if all else fails dance it out.

Don't You Know You're Beautiful