You have answers within you
For Christmas this year my oldest child Archer gave me a book. This wasn’t a book they had read nor was it a book that had been recommended to them. Rather, as Archer explained to me “It just seemed like a book that might speak to you.” So, it was with great anticipation that I dove in and sure enough this book is certainly speaking to me and now I guess I will speak to you.
In one of the early chapters the author is relating an experience in her life that sounds a great deal like the journey of depression. She had bouts of lethargy, sleep problems, difficulty concentrating, no appetite, was unable to focus at work, had difficulty being around her children, struggled with thoughts of unworthiness, and sought relief through multiple external sources. All to no avail. There was no clear medical condition to be diagnosed. There was no clearly defined event to place blame for her misery. Nothing seemed to add up or make sense and yet her misery was deep and profound.
According to her experience the outward searching for answers yielded none and, in many ways, exacerbated her pain. It wasn’t until she came to realize that perhaps the solution to her problem was right there with her all along. The quote that really grabbed me goes like this, “I invested all of my time searching outside of myself for a solution to my illness. Eventually, there was no place to look but within.” This statement really resonated with me.
During the times that I have struggled mightily I was always looking to others or other activities to make me feel whole, to bring me contentment, to make me “okay.” And so many of those pursuits were foolhardy and not only did they not bring me the peace I was searching for, they further compounded my misery. Much like the author of this book, I finally had that moment where I knew that it was my job to figure me out. This doesn’t mean that I haven’t had a whole host of people along the way to help me with this, but it does mean that I finally had to own my life, my choices, my activities, my past, and very importantly my future. It was no longer anybody else’s fault for why my life was the way it was.
The irony? Once I started looking inside I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I had the wherewithal to live a life with meaning and purpose. I wasn’t nearly as lost as I thought and acted out. Oh, I have many flaws, but as I have learned we all do, that is what makes us human. And I also learned that my past doesn’t define me, but the choices I make moving forward will go a long way in determining how I feel about myself.
You have answers within you to your problems. They might be buried by shame, a difficult past, or challenging life circumstances, but you have answers. The challenge as I see it is whether you’re willing to ask yourself the tough questions to get at those answers!
Take care of yourself…it’s the only one we get!