I’ve been meditating on the above quote for the last several days and each time I read it, it seems to ring truer. One of the main feelings that comes to mind is resentment. I was so resentful towards so many people for so much of my life. So many wasted years being hellbent on holding grudges; it all seems very trite now. In my case, cutting people out of my life was a means of control. I wasn’t controlling much internally, but I could sure control things externally by weeding people out of my life. I don’t feel that need any more because I realize no one’s as hard on me as I am on myself, and it’s good to surround myself with support instead of indulging my tendencies to be a hermit. On a lighter note–and there is one!–I was encouraged in my pursuit of an optimistic outlook and knew I could improve myself in other areas. Here’s the point I’m at currently, via my Facebook status from a few days ago:
About a week ago I began praying to receive a more realistic outlook on life, to go along with the optimistic outlook I’ve gained over the last month. This is a good case of being careful what you pray for…my blinders have been stripped away in the last 24 hours or so and I now see how much I was romanticizing circumstances in my life that in reality are a mess. For myself and my self-image, I needed to believe things to be true that simply never were. I flipped open a Bible here at work and read this verse: “They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.” (Jonah 2:8 KJV) Those grand delusions got me through some tough times, but God’s love will get me through tougher times. #personal #realisticoutlook #sobriety
Three days later and I’m in a bit of a funk (I hate that term, but it definitely applies to my current mood) because I’ve realized how much of my identity was caught up in delusions I’d absolutely fabricated over the years. The address of this blog, for starters…who was I kidding when I chose SouthernAristocracy.org?!? (I explain a bit in my “About Me” section why I chose it, but it still begs the question of why, and it was all tied up in the image I wanted to present, aspirational or not.) My psychologist told me months ago that I seemed much more concerned with my image than my own happiness, and I agreed with him then, but it’s only now that I’m realizing the extent of the issue. It’s one of the reasons reading the Lee Radziwill bio was so difficult for me; I was reading about someone else whom was making poor decisions in the name of their image, and sacrificing their happiness in the process. Not an ideal way to lead one’s life, yet I’ve done it for years. It’s really only in the last five months or so that I’ve begun making radical changes to be happier, and only in the last month that I’ve experienced the spiritual awakening necessary to embrace the optimistic outlook on life, which I still have to check myself on daily. The same will apply for the realistic outlook, and it already has; I caught myself on the way to work tonight entertaining a thought which I quickly shut down as being delusional thinking, yet it’s something I would’ve taken and run with in my mind even just last week. It’s time to move on, and I’m glad I’m at the place I can do it.
Deana Martin writes the following in her book Memories Are Made of This: Dean Martin Through His Daughter’s Eyes, which I’m currently reading:
“My life is like so many others. Filled with conflicts and serious psychological learning curves. But my reality is different. Whatever the myriad of influences that formulated my life, I found that anger was not my way of dealing with things. Nor was wallowing in the real or imagined turmoil I’d experienced. […] The message was loud and clear…I had to get on with my life. Don’t dwell. Don’t sit still. It was my life and only I could live it. Make my way in the world and do my best.” (page 156)
I couldn’t say it better myself. On that note, I’ll end with this hysterical GIF that has nothing to do with the realistic outlook, except that perhaps it’s wiser to stop and ask those vomiting in a Target parking lot if they’re alright rather than trying to run away from them. (I’ve realistically laughed at this loop probably 47 times since I saw it on Saturday.)