Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Something for your struggles

Treading water beats the pants off of drowning. Respect yourself for doing the work to survive. You are not to blame for your bad ideas. Feeling awful can be more actual work than feeling good.
Do not confuse your strengths for virtues, or your weaknesses for vices. It is just as important learning to live with our weaknesses, than learning how to use our strengths.
Knowledge only becomes wisdom after we have practiced it and made it part of ourselves. It is hard enough to see the paths forward, let alone being ready to attempt them. You can see the path up a mountain, but not have the strength or tools to climb it. Yet.
When we are on our hands and knees in the dark, the smallest obstacle can block our way forward. Uncertainty can lead to fear, and fear can lead to panic, making us make worse mistakes than staying still. The smallest effort can give us back some feeling of control, even if it's just pulling the blankets over our faces, or counting to three before we cry or scream.
The smallest positive action can be the glimmer of hope that gets us through to morning, when the thing we thought was blocking us reveals itself as something we just need to step around.
Our bad ideas don't go away, just because we’ve seen all the ways we were mistaken. Even when we’ve seen how we were wrong, it takes effort to resist falling back into negative thought patterns, and when we’re stressed sometimes that effort is too much. Don't beat yourself up for feeling bad and “knowing” you shouldn't. The effort you are making to keep your demons at bay would probably make the “strongest” of us weep.
It is possible to fall into the same holes in the road again and again, until we master how to climb out of them, then avoid them, and eventually, possibly take a different road entirely.
None of it is easy, but the old philosophers were wise when they said the beauty of one moment can undo the darkness of 10000 years. But so can the darkness of one moment, so know the demons you are struggling with are real, they are negative neural pathways in our heads. They don't just disappear when we've learned that they are wrong.
But if we are lucky, smart, strong, or just pigheaded, sneaky and stubborn, we can learn to recognize our demons, acknowledge them, even respect them in all their terribly seductive beauty and their fury. And then step past them, and get on with some kind of day.
They may never go away, but some of them we will tame, if only for a little while. We can hopefully turn them into butterflies, who remind us, like Death over our left shoulder whispering “None of this is forever” so do what you can, while you can and remember that the challenges we overcome, are part of the beauty of what it is to be alive. Stay alive.

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