I’ve had some sucky days this week and when I’m writing this it’s only Tuesday. Yep, I’m off to a good start, huh?? My challenges have been mostly mental and so tonight I thought I’d blow off some steam by doing something physical. I went to the gym to play some volleyball and guess what? I sucked! Haha! What was I thinking? I cannot win…or can I?
Dealing with Character Defects
While my challenges may feel like huge mental hurdles, it could be way worse. It can always be worse. But when you’re having a crappy week and someone reminds you of that, how does it make you feel? Me, usually worse. Then I start to feel bad about feeling bad, LOL. It’s a downward spiral.
I know one of my greatest defects of character is self-pity. When I got sober and into recovery, I did a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself. I looked at all the resentments, relationships, and most importantly my part in things. It was apparent that self-pity had been steering the ship for many years.
When I saw it in black and white I thought it was ugly. I thought I don’t want to be that girl. I’m done feeling sorry for myself!
But you know what? When the going gets tough, it’s very easy to fall back into what we know. Now to break out of that mold, that’s a tougher battle. I’d argue that’s a battle worth fighting.
Early on in my sobriety, my sponsor (and good friend) would tell me when I started to fall into that rut of self-pity, I needed to set a timer. I could allow myself to wade in the muck for a bit but when the timer went off, I had to choose to get out of it.
Good advice. I still follow it today.
The Wounds of Our Past
My problem now is I tend to push myself harder and harder. I want to run as far away from self-pity as possible. When things get rough I keep putting myself out there and that typically results in me getting smacked in the face.
Yeah, I can be like a pendulum swinging from one end of the spectrum to the other. I’m still a work in progress. 🙂
I’m learning the hard way that I need to be gentle with myself at times. This week is one of them. It can be of great value, for both you and me, if I hide out in my prayer closet for a bit. And doing this does not have to include self-pity.
Occasionally, I react to things out of the wounds of my past. There are certain triggers that take me back to hurtful memories. When I was a child, I didn’t know better and just learned to cope. I developed some useless habits and believed many incorrect things about myself.
Anyway, whenever I react out of a wound of my past, I feel a need to reflect.
Creating New Space
The balance that I seek is in creating my own place of retreat. I’m an extrovert and so I often feel refreshed after being with people. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t need alone time.
When I hid away as a child, pre-teen or teenager, it was often to cry, be angry and feed that monster called self-pity. It was a typical angst-filled response.
Since getting sober, I’ve relied on the help of many people. Yeah, I’ve done a lot of work journaling alone but when those oh so familiar feelings of pity returned, I’d do anything but be alone.
I’m realizing, though, I don’t really have anything to feel sorry about anymore. When those demons appear, I have to fight them off and remember who I am today. When I retreat now, it’s to reflect, pray, and make declarations.
Breaking Free and Finding New Life
I made some choices in life that lead to me getting into situations where I felt completely stuck. In my early 30’s I was addicted to drugs and alcohol and in an abusive relationship. Yep, it all stems back to the lies I believed about myself.
A lot of things lead up to me breaking free – friends expressing concern, a vision from God, and ultimately me surrendering. I had to remove myself from the situation in order to get help.
I’ve only ever looked back in favor of wanting to reconcile, learn from my past, and find a new future.
Upon getting sober and out of said relationship, I poured myself into finding out how and why I got there. I talked to hundreds of people, some professional and others who had just learned to recover from similar downfalls.
For fear that my brain would not completely heal I also lost myself in researching the brain and the different effects drugs have on it. I’ll never forget a pivotal day when I was watching a series of DVDs created by medical doctors. They were talking about what occurs in the brain under the influence of different drugs. In these DVDs, they explained the typical length of time it takes the brain to heal from each specific drug. I watched with bated breath!
Then I heard the words that were like music to my ears, “the brain has the amazing ability to heal itself”. This was the glimmer of hope I was searching for! Up until this point, the verdict was still out in my mind.
What’s This Got To Do With Money?
What place does this story serve on a personal finance blog? Um, a BIG one. Who we are spills out into all areas of our lives. I call that leftovers. Previously, my financial leftovers were in a disarray.
Since getting on the path to recovery my finances have also lined up. Now I find joy in personal finance and love teaching others. What I’m finding is, that when there are money problems, it’s not really about the money. There’s always a story behind it. Get to that story and you’ll be able to gain control of your finances.
For many years I lacked self-confidence and that had an impact on my finances:
- I tried to keep up with others
- Financed what I couldn’t afford
- Bought stuff in an attempt to feel complete
- Ultimately needed drugs/alcohol on a daily basis
Getting to the root of my problems has and continues to be the key to my successes.
Whether you’re digging your way out of debt, working toward financial independence, or both, I bet it’s not really about the money. I’d bet it has something to do with staying true to promises made, finding freedom, and freeing up more time to pursue your passions in life.
So I say go deep and figure out what’s driving you.
Then dig deeper and discover your purpose.
Finally, find a way to live your purpose now and every day.
A lot of times our purpose in life is tied to the biggest challenges we’ve had to overcome. I know mine is and I’m the better for it.
So tell me what’s the story behind your journey?