"It takes real courage to endure the sharp pains of self discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives."
Each day I sit with people who trust me with their biggest fears, their greatest failures, their deepest regrets. I am humbled by their ability to share so much of themselves with a stranger. Nothing is spared, yet all is sacred. Each intimate detail a piece of their soul, poured out for me to take and sift away the shame and guilt to uncover the hope and goodness...emotions often long lost or left behind with the broken shell of a life they abandoned out of necessity or a compilation of poor choices and bad decisions. We talk through each of these, looking hard to find whatever it is that drives them to be...to see...to feel...more. So often the focus falls on the ability to stop running from something/someone, or to turn away from something/someone, or to break an addiction to something...or, and typically worse, someone.
What I'm leaving out is the extremely personal ways this very quote touches my life...not the lives of those I work with, but mine. It's easy for me to get others to open up...it happens without me even asking most of the time. But, for me - someone who can have surface-level conversation with almost anybody - talking about the important stuff is next to impossible. I've spent years convincing myself that the things that have happened in my life...the really important, mostly painful stuff...didn't affect me like I seem to believe it would someone else. I was sure my mom moving out when I was 16 didn't hurt me. Sure of it. Until the past couple years... See, I have a really hard time believing I'm enough...trusting that someone could love me enough to not leave me...that relationships with those who really matter don't have a shelf life...that something like a marriage really could last a lifetime. I trust easily...trust that someone will care about me for a while and then disappoint me. I have buffered myself the past couple years from the potential brokenness that could come from allowing someone to really love me. I have purposely...although I didn't realize it until very recently...put myself in a situation where I could get hurt...and I have...but not broken. I have chosen to accept less in order to protect myself and have ended up missing the very things I value so much....because I have been afraid. I have preached, begged, plead and argued the importance of getting over the fear and loving openly no matter how badly life...er, someone...has hurt, disappointed and crushed you in the past. I have sworn that I know exactly what I'm looking for...and maybe I do, but am afraid of finding it because if I do then I could either lose it or ruin it. I am still terrified of not being enough. And I'm honestly not sure if I will ever be able to see myself differently. I feel like I've been a great big faker...that I pushed someone else to be ready for something I may very well never be ready for myself. Because, at the end of the day, I want the very life I'm fairly convinced I either don't deserve or would ruin if given the chance. Fear is an awful thing. It keeps us from being, and receiving, our very best. In realizing all of this...in being brave enough to face all the demons that have haunted me for years and likely held me back from many things...not just relationships...I am forced to see the ways in which I do need to make changes...changes that are hard, but necessary if I ever want more for my life.
Looking in the mirror and facing the very things we fear most is the painful part of creating exactly what we want most. I'm not sure if I will ever be able to think I'm enough...or worth it...but I have to at least try. I refuse to see myself as broken beyond repair. It's weird, in my conversations with my families, I'm learning more about myself than I ever imagined. Painful self discovery versus unconscious denial...how real are we willing to be with ourselves? What if what we find is too hard to see? What if we aren't able to fix the messed up parts? What if we can? I don't have any of the answers right now. All I know is I'm finding myself face-to-face with things I never realized I was dealing with and I can't seem to find a way around any of it this time. I'm just praying God will lead me to whatever it is He wants me to see and then give me the ability to do something good with whatever that is.