A couple of weeks ago I read an article about personal growth. It said that it sometimes seems that there is no progress, but when you compare yourself to who you were a year ago, you can see the differences.
I thought about my current life, made the comparison with last year and came to the conclusion that I didn’t make any progress. I still faced the same obstacles as I did a year ago. A feeling of failure and fear got the best of me. Maybe I wasn’t able to change. Maybe I was just too weak, angry, hurt and fucked up. Maybe I couldn’t change the weakness, anger and pain because they were just a part of my personality. Maybe I just was a vulnerable, surly, weak and angry person who wasn’t suited for any human relationship.
An ego in despair says strange things, but speaks with persuasion.
On moments like that, it’s really hard to pull myself back together again.
I frequently compare the healing from my childhood and the subsequent burn-out with climbing a mountain. I started in a canyon. A dark, cold place where I already wandered around for a very long time. I searched for a way out, but every side path I entered full of hope, only brought me deeper into it. The more lost I became, the more my determination changed into hopelessness and I slowly lost all my energy. After some time, I just couldn’t walk anymore and I tried to crawl but eventually I just collapsed. My personality was broken and I felt lonely in a dark and cold place.
Sometimes you have to die before you can really live. You have to say goodbye to everything you knew and thought you were, because everything you knew and thought you were didn’t work for you.
While I was laying on the ground, my determination slowly came back to me. I decided I no longer wanted to live in the darkness, I wanted to live in the light.
I couldn’t search for a way out in places I already searched so I had to change my point of view. I needed to look for other possibilities.
I slowly rose and walked towards the canyon walls that enclosed me. The big obstacles that kept me in the canyon. The only way out of the canyon was to overcome those obstacles. A seemingly impossible task.
It always seems impossible, until it’s done.
And so I started.
The only way up was honesty. I had to be completely honest about and towards myself to overcome these big obstacles.
Scan, search, grab and hold on. Every centimetre up was unknown territory. I sometimes made a mistake, fell down and hit rock bottom again. Cursing, accepting, learning, pull myself back together and start again, that was my strategy. My way to survive. I tried to learn from my mistakes and face the same obstacles again.
The first meters up eventually became familiar territory and I learned how to climb them without making mistakes. This is how I kept on reaching new personal heights.
There were parts that went pretty smooth because I could climb up with the previous acquired knowledge, but there were also parts that first asked for self-reflection. Why couldn’t I overcome this obstacle? What is it that’s holding me back? And when I fell down, what did I do wrong? As soon as I had the answers, I could overcome the obstacle and then suddenly the obstacle became a plateau. A plateau that ensured me that I couldn’t fall down all the way back. I climbed and I fell but the achieved plateaus made sure I didn’t hit rock bottom again.
There were moments where I fell a short distance and where it was easy to stand up again, but there were also moments where I fell a long way down and where it hurt really bad. At those moments it could cost me a couple of days before I could get back up on my feet again. Cursing, accepting, learning, then pull myself back together and start again. Over and over again.
Each obstacle I faced told me something about myself. Self-worth, self-confidence, self-sustainability, self-acceptance and self-love was what I was lacking and unconditional love, acceptance and trust was what I needed to gain to overcome the obstacles.
The first part of my climb thought me what I needed to learn. It taught me to look honestly towards myself, it taught me that all the answers to all my questions can be found within myself and it taught me to always listen to my heart because that is where the answers are to be found.
I’m still climbing and I am still falling, but I am not failing. I am no longer where I was last year. I’ve learned, I’ve grown.
I have learned what I need to learn, and that is of inestimable value.