“We may be tested. And sometimes bested. But with enough self-love. Nothing can change who we are.”
“We do not have to love an abusive person in any way. What we can do is to learn to love ourselves unconditionally, and have hope that it will help us to love others in the same way. But again. We do not have to love abusive people in any way, shape, or form. We can certainly wish them well if they decide to get the help they so badly need. But we should never allow someone to affect our self-esteem and self-confidence. It can diminish any self-love we may have. Or it can prevent us from learning to love ourselves unconditionally and being happy with who we are. A love an abusive person never felt. And a happiness they never had.”
At the end of the day I am happy with who I am, because I know who I am. A human being who has learned how to practice love, kindness, understanding, and tolerance toward others and themselves. Or what I like to call, being spiritual.
Now it can be hard to show any one of these things toward some people. Sometimes a person’s behaviors can be so obnoxious or rude that it seems impossible to even tolerate them. But it has been my experience that, often times, it is these very people who need love and kindness.
Their behaviors can actually be an indication that they don’t love themselves and aren’t happy with who they are. In this respect being an example of someone who is can defuse what seems like an attack, and turn the situation into a more positive one.
I’m not saying we should allow people to treat us badly. It should be the very love of ourselves that spurs us to confront someone’s harsh behaviors and let them know we will not tolerate their treatment of us. But this can be done without showing anger or disdain toward the individual.
It can take a lot of practice to get to a point in our lives where we can calmly assess a situation and react in a spiritual way when someone is acting badly. But I know it can be done. Sometimes all I need to do is remember how my own rude and obnoxious behaviors were often due to the lack of love I had for myself.
Fortunately, I’ve spent the last twenty-two years of my sobriety trying to not only grow spiritually, but also as a person, and this has brought a wonderful revelation to me. Even if I cannot treat someone with love and kindness, I can at least try to be understanding of their behaviors, and show a level of tolerance that I know I will later be glad I did.
Again, though, it does not mean that we have to be tolerant of anyone’s rude and obnoxious conduct. It simply means that we should remember the times when we have acted badly toward someone, and why we did.
Hopefully, if we are lucky, there is at least one incidence that we can recall where instead of being treated back in the same way, we were shown some level of love, kindness, understanding, and tolerance from another human being who had learned how to practice these things toward themselves and others.
Or what I like to call. Being spiritual.
“When I was young. I never needed anyone. And makin’ love was just for fun. Those days are gone.
Livin’ alone. I think of all the friends I’ve known. But when I dial the telephone. Nobody’s home.”
I had girlfriends as a teenager. But the above lyrics from the song All By Myself, sung by Eric Carmen in 1975, still sums up my teenage years. And although I got married at the young age of nineteen, the song also sums up many of the years that followed. Years that I call my drinking days. Where even with a wife and kids, and friends in bars, I still often felt sad and alone. But fortunately that’s not the case anymore.
I celebrated 22 years of sobriety on April 27th, and although I was actually “all by myself,” it was a quiet and relaxing evening.
With my wife at home in a nearby state, the night went by with some TV and doing a few things to improve the personal use of my blog. I then fell asleep in front of the TV at some point, (it happens a lot more now that I’m fifty-eight years old) and after waking up at a time I don’t remember now. I went to the bathroom and then went to bed. (There’s a lot more peeing at fifty-eight too).
Now the point of this blog post isn’t to talk about my drinking days or tell you about my bathroom habits. I covered the loneliness I experienced throughout my life in my book and my frequent peeing may fall under the expression, “too much information.” But I do want to talk about how after 22 years of growth, both personal and spiritual, I am the happiest I’ve ever been, even though I’m not as happy I was several years ago.
I know that sounds confusing but stay with me. I promise there’s a positive message coming.
Back in January of 2013 I wrote a blog post called A Quiet Confidence. It’s about my college experiences, but it mostly focuses on one in particular. An experience that helped me to grow at the age of fifty-two, and one that reflects how I have been feeling for a while now.
I have spent the last year and four months working as a case worker for people with mental illnesses and I have also spent that time being away from my wife more than before. Although we have been married for over 38 years now, I can honestly say that we miss each other when we’re not together.
Since there’s a rather long story behind my current situation, I’ll move on by simply stating that my present circumstances came to pass due to the passion I have for helping others.
It was in that blog post from 2013 that I wrote how I had begun having doubts about some of my personal views on counseling and addiction and how it was affecting my self-confidence. And it was also in that post that I wrote that I felt like I was losing my identity. Now while those things currently hold true, I will say that I love myself and that I’m happy with who I am. Which is why I am the happiest I have ever been, but not as happy as I was when I was in college.
Now for the positive message I promised.
I have found that being happy with who we are can sustain us in times when we’re not as happy in life as we want to be. And that as long as we don’t give up, our lives will improve for the better.
I believe that this past year and four months have helped me to grow as a person, but it has also shown me where I need to grow more. And that even though I have a job that I love, I need to start being with the wife that I love more.
I also need to start believing more in a creator of some kind. A creator that I sometimes call god. Not the God of the bible, but one that gave us the ability to be happy and to change our lives for the better if we need to. After all, it’s what helped me to grow spiritually and become happy with who I am.
“All by myself. Don’t want to be, all by myself anymore. All by myself. Don’t want to live, all by myself anymore.
Hard to be sure. Sometimes I feel so insecure. And love so distant and obscure. Remains the cure.”
In truth I have been sad at times without my wife by my side as much. But I know that love will be the cure.
The love I have for my wife. The love I have for myself. And a love for life that I never had in my drinking days.
“When I hear someone say they’ve found the love of their life it makes me happy. However, my hopes are that the true love of their life is themselves. It comes in handy if later on it turns out that the love of their life doesn’t love themselves.”
“I’m not sure if love is all around me all the time. But I know when I look for it within myself—love is there. It may not be realistic to believe we can love everyone. But I know that as long as I maintain the self-love that I worked so hard to have. The love I try to show others will always materialize and be there for anyone who needs it.”
I enjoy helping others. It makes me feel good about myself, and gives me a sense of achievement.
The definitions listed below are why I think most people’s troubles come from insecurity, and not ego like many spiritual gurus state. The third definition of ego comes from insecurity. It is a false sense of ego used to overlook our fears and insecurities, and help us feel better about ourselves. I should know. I had a false ego all through my life—even into my early sobriety. It was in my sobriety, however, that I was able to become more self-confident and grow to love myself. I also found greater happiness in life. Especially after finally becoming happy with who I was.
It is those things that I want for others. It’s why I do what I do to help people. Not because of ego. And not because of insecurity. But because of who I’ve become.
ego: 1. A person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance. 2. The part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity. 3. An overly high opinion of oneself
insecurity: 1. Uncertainty or anxiety about oneself; lack of confidence.