Don't Dwell on the Past; Believe in Yourself…You CAN DO THIS!
For years, actually up until recently, I did this often. I don’t know why I did it. It never made me feel better. It just made me sad, frustrated, and feeling depressed. I blamed my choices on others, when the decisions were all mine. I blamed others for what was happening in my life. While these things may have impacted my earlier thinking, it should not have remained an excuse later on in life. But it did – and things continued to happen that kept me in this negative state to where I just kept blaming the world for what was happening to me.
This quote stood out to me as I was learning about letting go:
“You can't feed today's hunger with yesterday's meal”
― TJ Milam
This is so true! How many times have you thought about changing your ways or doing something amazing, but then your fear and your memories of what “could” happen kept you from pursuing your goal. We have all been there I’m sure. I used to dwell on so many things – why did I not finish physician assistant school? Why didn’t nursing school work out? Why didn’t I do this? Why didn’t I do that? Why did I treat that person like I did? SO MANY THOUGHTS and all it did was keep me in a place where I could NOT grow! I later found myself regretting getting out of the military or not researching my options well enough. The negative thoughts in my mind were holding me back from literally everything.
I will not sit here and say I never look back. I allow the pain and memories now to propel me. I am no longer afraid. I am no longer walking in my past. I have forgiven those who have wronged me. Most of all, I have forgiven myself. If you do not forgive yourself, you will NEVER grow.
I write these steps not only to help others, but to help myself and hold myself accountable. There have been so many times where something did not go to plan. I would blame everyone else for what happened. Although, later, I realized everything happened for a reason. At the time of the events, though, you could not have told me anything like that. Many people would say the inevitable, “everything happens for a reason,” phrase. It would make me so upset to hear that, because I didn’t believe it at the time.
Today, I am a testimony that everything truly DOES happen for a reason. You grew up in a broken home? That doesn’t mean you have to be broken. You dealt with addiction in your family? That doesn’t mean you have to be an addict. You grew up around violence and constant betrayal? That doesn’t mean you have to be violent and betray others. You were lost? It’s ok…because if you never give up and you keep plugging and get through all the turmoil in your life, you will look back and you will be thankful for all the things you saw and went through…maybe even that you did…and you will be a stronger and better person for all of it.
I am not sure where your faith is at this time. I am not sure what or if you believe there is a higher power that can lift you through the darkness and bring you back into the light. What I do know, is that I was finally brought back into the light. I am truly thankful for that. I can’t say enough about this because had it not been for this breakthrough, many things would not be where they are today. For one, you would not be reading this book. Secondly, I would be working some dead-end job that I hate just to pay the bills. I wouldn’t be developing the relationships with people that I am now able to develop – trusting relationships with people who want to propel me, rather than pull me back. I would have continued to sabotage my marriage. Lastly, and probably the worst thing I can think of, I would not be a good role model for my daughter. I would let her down because I would be giving her what I had growing up – no direction. The final thought here is that no matter where your past took you before, that doesn’t have to be your path now. Find an outlet of some sort. Talk to someone, write a book, say your fears out loud when no one else is around. If you believe in God, pray. These are things I have now learned to do and I have to admit, my entire life is better now because I am no longer blaming others or living in the past. I am living life. I was put on this earth to make an impact on the world and I am now finally going to do that.
One of the most important parts of step one, and the most difficult for people (including me), is believing in yourself. It has taken me from my true potential and allowed me to just be mediocre for so long. It made me doubt my abilities and what I had to offer as a person. While others believe in me now, up until very recently, I still doubted myself. Instead of thinking about all the things I HAVE accomplished, I would find myself thinking about and dwelling on the things I had not accomplished. Why do we do this to ourselves?
For me, I can remember being in school and being made fun of because I was wearing hand-me-down clothes. My mom and her husband were addicts, so I just felt very lost and afraid of what my true potential was. That was ingrained in me at an early age. While I can no longer blame any of this on the life I have now, I can say that it set the stage for the years to come. I was so lost during college and even pretty much my entire 15-year military career. I was decent at what I did, but I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do my entire life. When my mom passed away and I had a child, you would think I could have found some direction. In all actuality, I became more lost. I entered a program I thought I was meant to be in. That didn’t last. It took an even bigger toll on my confidence. As the years went by, I felt like I just went deeper and deeper into a hole that I could not get out of.
It wasn’t until the past year or so that I finally decided enough was enough. There are so many people out here doing great things that don’t know half of what I know and are leading others down a path that won’t allow them to be truly successful. I wanted to be able to influence these people on a broader spectrum, share my story, and hopefully impact them in a positive way. But how? Again, I had no direction. I was doing tons of research and helping others daily, but I still lacked the confidence to take it further.
My journey now is not perfect. Yours won’t be either. No person’s journey is linear. There will be bumps in the road, life WILL happen, and you WILL have to pick yourself up during these times…make sure you pick yourself up. There are still many days where self-doubt and lack of confidence – fear of the unknown – surface within me. The difference now is that I can identify it before it takes me down a path of self-destruction. I am clearer on what I want to do. While I still don’t have an exact plan of how to do it, I am working on it. Whether your journey is in life, a goal, getting healthier, making better choices, no matter what it is, the journey is never linear. There will be times you are afraid and want to quit. There will be times you enter a room, all eyes on you, and you want to turn back around. There will be fear. There will be doubt. The way you overcome that is to continue taking steps in a forward direction. Don’t turn around. Walk into that room with your head held high. You have made it. You are here. You are doing what you were put here to do. Make it your priority to be your biggest fan even if no one else supports you.
I am truly grateful for those who have supported me through my venture. Not everyone has, of course. There have been some who didn’t think I had it in me. Nevertheless, many, who know me and have come to know me, have made it possible for me to get over my own self-doubt and keep pursuing what I am truly meant to do – help as many people as possible. Maybe you didn’t have a rough upbringing, but other things in your life have happened that have made you not want to try again. Whatever you do, don’t be like that. Don’t let other things dictate what you do or don’t do. Listen to your heart. If you know in your heart you were put on this earth to make an impact, do whatever it takes to make that impact. Believe in yourself. Be your biggest fan. That way, when no one else believes in you, you still keep moving forward in the direction that will take you further than you have ever been before. Don’t worry about what the rest of the world is doing. If you want to help people, help them. Find people who will guide you on your journey. People who have done it themselves. Listen to those people. Don’t listen to the people who don’t want you to succeed. Listen to those who do.