Several years ago, I became aware that I was playing the role of the victim. Evidently, I’d been playing that role for most of my life. I never thought of myself as a victim, but in retrospect my thought process and behavior were one of a victim – I was just completely unaware of the victim role I was playing.
A relationship breakup, “how could she do this to me,” fired from a job, “why are they firing me,” my family doing some ‘tough-love,’ “why are they abandoning me,” the judge sentencing me to six-months in the county jail, “you can’t do this to me!” Those were the kinds of things I would say to myself never realizing I was playing the victim and giving my power to other people to write my story.
How I thought and felt about myself was entirely dependent on what other people thought and felt about me. The noise and chaos of the world was writing my story. Eventually, I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, PTSD, depression, bi-polar disorder, SUDs (substance use disorder), and AUD (alcohol use disorder). I was a mess!
Five years of therapy, which helped lead to transformational recovery, I now no longer let anyone but me write my story. Getting to this point was not easy – I am stubborn, opinionated, selfish, and I’m always right! Like I said, it took five years of therapy to overcome a lifetime of self-defeating behaviors and thought processes. So, exactly how did I learn to write my own story? How did I take my power back from all the noise and confusion? Well, it’s an inside job that took several years to figure out. I have beautiful people in my life that let me stomp, scream, pout, learn, and pace around for hours, but they never let me quit. Then I had my first breakthrough.
Now, I know this is going to sound like a bunch of hooey, after all, that’s what I used to say when I heard people mention this thing called unconditional love. Unconditional love – bah humbug! Hooey! Total and complete nonsense. Then one day while I was in rehab, I had an experience where I had to make a choice. Either I was going to let a breakup lead me back to the bottle, or I was going to learn a new way to deal with it. I realized that whether or not we stay together doesn’t matter, because I will still love her. Knowing this lead to a choice of acceptance, or of letting it destroy me. I knew that if I were to drink again I would die (stage-3 cirrhosis of the liver and few other things I will not mention here).
I didn’t want to die, so I decided to accept that she was leaving me and love her anyways. After about week of processing I gave her a call, told her I will always love her, that I would always be here for her, wished her happiness on her journey, and told her that the love I have for her has no conditions – that loving her has no conditions because it’s about me and whats’ in inside of me…not her. In other words, what I feel, and what I think is not dependent on what someone else thinks or feels. Holy crap! I finally grasped and internalized the absolute freedom of loving unconditionally.
From this epiphany, I’ve discovered my core values, beliefs, and who the man in my heart truly is (and he’s beautiful)! From there, I’ve been able to reflect on my behavior to see if it is aligned with my values and beliefs; and when they are in harmony – what do you know, my whole life is in harmony. I now define who and what I am. Who’s writing my story? I am writing my story – and my story is one of love, compassion, empathy, adventure, curiosity, learning, kindness, and courage. I’ll leave you with two quotes that helped me discover who I am.
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we‘ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
So, who’s writing your story?