I have learned that if you must leave a place that you have lived in and loved and where all your yesteryears are buried deep, leave it any way except a slow way, leave it the fastest way you can. Never turn back and never believe that an hour you remember is a better hour because it is dead. Passed years seem safe ones, vanquished ones, while the future lives in a cloud, formidable from a distance. (From “West with the Night” by Beryl Markham)
Keeping baggage from the past will leave
no room for happiness in the future.
Wayne L. Misner
What is remembered of the past is largely a delusion and only a twisted representation of what actually went on. Thoughts focused on the future are mostly illusionary and will rarely turn out the way one imagines. The only true reality is this moment; the NOW. Life happens here and no place else. Want a better past and a brighter future? Live ‘now’ well and soon the future will become more of what you hope for and the recent past will begin to be one you are proud of. We each are the architect and builder of our life.
One problem with gazing too frequently
into the past is that we may turn around
to find the future has run out on us.
Sometimes I have trouble sorting out how I feel. In childhood my conditioning was to be very cautious about expressing my feelings because honesty would often get me in trouble. So I learned to mask what I felt and to tell others what they wanted to hear. I’m a classic example of two characteristics of codependence: 1) I have difficulty identifying what I am feeling 2) I minimize, alter, or deny how I truly feel. With years of recovery and the issue front of mind, old habits are still deeply ingrained. The maddening part is ’on the spot’ I can’t at times figure out my own feelings. The lesson has been to be patient with myself. Given time what I feel always show itself.
Clowns wear a face that’s painted intentionally
on them so they appear to be happy or sad.
What kind of mask are you wearing today?
What you think of me is none of my business! There is no phrase that has been more enlightening to me than those ten words. As one who spent the majority of his life ALWAYS concerned about what others thought of me, I know first hand how exhausting such worry can be. In time I began to wonder who the heck I was after so long pretending and trying to fit in. My tendency will never go away fully, but it does not haunt me so thoroughly as it once did. I have no control what you think of me, but lots of control about what I think about my self. As my opinion of “me” has gotten better, the less I care about what others think and the happier I am.
A man cannot be comfortable
without his own approval.
In overcoming bad habits it is common to attempt being perfect; to seek personal growth perfection as quickly as possible. To think healing can be done hastily and/or flawlessly is a sure sign that the behavior pattern being fought against is still winning. Getting better is messy, unorganized and at times, chaotic. Recovery can never be fully achieved. Instead it is a path one walks for a lifetime; not a destination arrived at. A man who attends the same self-help group as I do recently described the process as “fall down; get up; try again”. Never have I heard my path forward described so accurately.
Courage doesn’t always roar.
Sometimes courage is the quiet voice
at the end of the day saying,
“I will try again tomorrow”.
Mary Anne Radmacher
When asked if I need help my usual response is “no”, even though often I actually could use assistance. While in pain, physically or emotionally, when someone inquires about my well-being the typical response is “I’m fine” even when I am far from it. A friend can call and wake me up when I’m taking a nap and ask “did I wake you up?” and almost always my reply is something like “I was about to get up anyway” or “I was just dozing” although I was sound asleep. Whenever I “minimize, alter, or deny how I truly feel” the dysfunction of codependence is controlling me. Getting past feelings of not being worthy, difficulty asking for help and expressing my needs openly is not easy, but effort to alter that behavior has improved my behavior quite a bit. Slowly but surely, it is consistent effort by which one’s life can change for the better.
All the concepts about stepping out of your comfort zone
mean nothing until you decide that your essential purpose,
vision and goals are more important than your self-imposed limitations.
Plenty of disappointments have come. I have known the loss of loved ones. I have hated and lacked forgiveness for what was done to me. Worse yet, I have despised and lost esteem for myself. Nothing has even been as insufferable as breaking the heart of a woman I truly loved. Not knowing what I had until it was gone is now a personally proven fact beyond question. My guilt lessens, but haunts me like a ghost keeps one from being able to fully rest. Of all things to bear, regret has proven to be the most difficult to bear. I regret my lies. I regret not going to her, not telling her the truth and not saying “I screwed up, let me try again.” like I should have. Deep down I wanted to make her proud, but instead I practiced my dysfunction and made her leave. It has been in being an upstanding man and shouldering regret that my redemption was planted and now self-forgiveness grows.
Dishonest people conceal their faults
from themselves as well as others…
Christian Nevell Bove
Sorrow and happiness are reversed reflections of each other. Each one pierces us deeply so the other can be more fully known. Only a man who has been sorrowful can truly appreciate being happy and likewise happiness opens one to know the true depth of sorrow. That is the way life is; always has been; always will be. I used to constantly be waiting for the “good times” to arrive thinking there was a point when life leveled out to be all happy and smooth sailing. Pure delusion! The best life any man has ever had was a great deal of happiness with lots of heartache and tragedy mixed in. In all of time, no man has ever had it better! To wish and hope and dream for more is to chase a mirage.
Often people attempt to live their lives backwards;
they try to have more things, or more money,
in order to do more of what they want,
so they will be happier.
The way it actually works is the reverse.
You must first be who you really are,
then do what you need to do,
in order to have what you want.
While in a monogamous relationship seeing an attractive woman and finding her physically appealing is a normal thing. Reacting to that attraction and cheating on the one committed to you is NOT! Sure, some men will tell you it’s OK and a biologically natural thing for a man to do. That is only rational thinking for when we were only animals grunting about in the bushes; not today. Following through on an urge to be unfaithful can be everything from a bad mistake to sexual compulsion to a form of addiction. A grown up should know better and if you can’t control yourself, do what I did; get help. Don’t let it come close to destroying your life as it almost did mine.
To cheat oneself out of love is the most terrible deception;
it is an eternal loss for which there is no reparation,
either in time or in eternity.
Going far beyond what is expected to be good, helpful and caring the majority of the time does not make up for indiscretions some of the time. Cheating within a committed relationship is wrong, no matter how many things you do to make up for it. Being emotionally abusive, or worse yet, physically abusive can not be compensated for. A basket of ‘rights’ does not make up for a ‘wrong’. The only possible way to save a troubled relationship if you are the cheater or abuser, is to make lasting change, correct your ways and then ask for forgiveness. It may be too late, but you won’t know unless you try.
When people are ready to, they change.
They never do it before then,
and sometimes they die before they get around to it.
You can’t make them change if they don’t want to,
just like when they do want to, you can’t stop them.