I felt called upon to write about personal accountability today. I am not going to put on velvet gloves and handle you gently because quite frankly that is bullshit. Life never handles us gently and if you haven’t been slapped around by some cold hard truths yet, maybe it’s time you did.
I am inspired to write on this topic because I am reading “Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered” by Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff. If you are a muderino and listen to My Favorite Murder, you will understand. This book fell into my hands at exactly the right time. Had I tried to read it when I was still wrapped in my cocoon of sensitivity and self pity, I would never have allowed the message to sink in. It’s very empowering and all about being true to yourself. I have busted out of that shell with both my fists raised in triumph, my heart swelling with self love and appreciation, and a backbone made of steel. It took A LOT of shadow work and tough love to get to this place. People have approached me and asked me “how did you learn to love yourself?” or “how did you find the strength for x,y,z.” The answer is there is no magic formula or recipe to follow. I stumbled through a spiritual awakening by closing my eyes, opening my ears and heart and jumping feet first. I allowed others to guide me and let go of my control. 8 month’s later I opened my eyes and looked in the mirror and who I saw was someone I didn’t recognize. That’s what recovery and change is about. We often believe that recovery means returning to our old selves but what it really means is completely shedding the old and coming into a new body, a new mind, a new way of life.
Transformation, healing, recovery, whatever your goal is…is a very personal journey. The things that worked for me, may not work for you. They will probably be a start though. I can stand by that statement with confidence because I have watched it work in many people’s lives. I am not talking about solely recovering from substance abuse. I am talking about death of loved ones, heartbreak, isolation, any number of things you can apply these suggestions to and begin your healing. Are you ready to plant the seed of transformation? Here we go…
1.) Get honest with yourself.
You cannot begin to heal if you are constantly lying to yourself. Some examples of lies we tell ourselves are “I like to party, I don’t have a problem” / “EVERYONE else is doing it and they are fine.” / “This doesn’t even bother me, I am not even hurt by this.” / “I never loved him anyways.” / “She’s in a better place.” / “I am weak for still grieving.”
As humans we constantly are doing things to cushion the blows of life. When we are broken up with we may try to pretend or convince ourselves that we aren’t hurting. We rebound to try and feel something other than the pain inside and end up suffering longer. When we experience the trauma of death we tell ourselves any number of things to soothe that raw, aching, pain….even if we don’t believe what we are telling ourselves. We wake up with one too many hangovers a week but it’s really ok because Jan was over and she was doing it too. Whatever little niggling voice is sounding off in your head…STOP DROWNING IT OUT WITH LIES. Even little white lies or excuses. STOP. Listen to that voice. Write down what it saying to you. Confront it head on with courage. Process what it might be trying to tell you. Get honest with yourself and figure out what things you need to process to get better. No one is coming in to save you darling, you have to do this yourself.
2.) Take some fucking accountability and stop waiting for someone to save you!
Alright, so you finally decided to stop ignoring your inner voice and become willing to do some work to heal and transform. If you thought that was hard, buckle up. Personal accountability is EVERYTHING. You have to STOP blaming everyone and everything for your problems. Even if the source of your pain and suffering isn’t from your own doing, your accountability lies in your own hands. People will fail you. People will smash your soul into a million pieces and walk away like nothing happened. They do not owe you anything and they don’t need to come back and pick you up and glue you back together. That is YOUR job. Suffering is 100% optional. Do you want to lay bound and broken on the floor like Natalie Imbruglia for the rest of your life or do you want to stand up and start putting yourself back together? If you sit and wait for someone to save you, you will sit for the rest of your days waiting honey. We blame God, love interests, friends, parents, video game violence, drugs and alcohol, ad infinitum for all the reasons we are suffering. We use up all our energy creating resentments, pointing fingers, holding grudges, and being petty. Take an ounce of that energy to pick up the fucking phone and call a therapist. Write in a journal about what your plan is to get over this hill. I am not telling you to get over your grief or heartache….what I am suggesting you to do is add tools to your belt to make it manageable. Things like loss and grief last a long time, they can last a whole lifetime, but we have choices. WE are responsible for our own happiness. There are ways we can learn to walk with acceptance for the things that have hurt us instead of pushing a boulder uphill our whole life.
3.) Take action.
This is 2019. There are countless free resources, books, videos, blogs, etc. that focus on self-help, mental illness, recovery, grief counseling and tools, etc. Get on the computer and start googling resources that pertain to your problem. If you are suffering from loss look for support groups (they even have online ones…I know because I used them for anxiety support.) Check out books from the library that help guide you through this hard time. Open up to people and talk to them. Stop isolating yourself. Call for an assessment to see if your alcohol use is normal. Join some sober groups on Facebook and see how it feels to be apart of that community. Start writing your feelings out so you can begin to process them. Find a therapist. Be honest with your therapist. Call that old friend you miss and bury the hatchet. Life is too short to sit stagnant in our own cesspool of misery and shit. If you truly don’t know where to start….start by reaching out to a friend that you trust to give you some sound advice. Ask for their input….they may think you are just venting, so make it clear you would like some guidance.
I spent my entire 20s and part of my early 30s being miserable, self medicating, hating myself and my life. My best days were still in a shadow of misery. This translated into all parts of my life. I hated my looks, my body, my relationships, my job, EVERYTHING. I was not content, I had zero motivation, and then trauma after trauma kept happening and I just laid down and let life have its way with me. I am only where I am not because I had no choice. If I didn’t start doing some soul work the disease of addiction would have taken my life. Some of you may be facing less life threatening problems, but you deserve a life that is full of joy, gratitude, and love….and all of that starts with you. It won’t walk up to your door and knock and sweep you off your feet. It won’t infiltrate your soul when you sleep and you won’t wake up cured or healed. It all takes work on your part. You don’t have to do it ALONE, but you do have to do it for YOURSELF. There is a difference.
I truly hope that whatever is ailing your soul….you find some strength to confront it, process it, and accept it. Show yourself some grace….just keep on trying. One day YOU will wake up eight months later and not recognize the warrior looking back at you.