I promise you that your life is essential.
It may not seem that way right now.
You might be reading this thinking that I don’t know the depths of your story, so who am I to beg and plead for you to stay.
But I was once somewhere around where you are now.
I spent many days trapped in a hazy wilderness totally oblivious to the feeling of hope. I honestly thought my only option was out.
I felt desperately inadequate and as though my life made no sense at all. I tried to run from, bury and deny my pain, but it remained.
I now see that part of my demise was self-judgment. I felt like a failure. Powerless. My mind was telling me how perfect my life should be and I was cruelly berating myself for not being happier all the time or for not being a success at something…anything.
My love life was a disaster and I just couldn’t seem to figure out how everyone around me seemed to have it all glued together while I regularly fell apart.
Expectation—the word that fueled the chemical concoction of my despair.
I felt I couldn’t live up to my own standards.
There were expectations and comparisons all around me and I fell short on every one.
I didn’t have a purpose; I didn’t have a conventional and stable lifestyle; I didn’t have a loving relationship with someone I wanted to exist forever with; I struggled financially; I detested my career choice; I was struggling with an illness and I was allowing myself to be manipulated, deceived and emotionally, psychologically and physically beaten.
I was done. Beat. So I thought.
I had had enough and I badly wanted out.
I was so worn out I had no idea how to fix even one of those things, let alone rebuild my entire life from the bottom up.
I was at rock bottom, but in spite of the turmoil I still had choices.
a) Give up on life.
b) Give up everything around me and begin again.
I came to the realization that I had nothing at all to lose by choosing the latter. Because, if I had chosen the first option I would be giving it all up without finding out if trading the cards I had originally dealt would eventually work out better.
I had to untangle and free myself from all of the insidious wretchedness surrounding me.
The first major and most effective change was altering my perception. I began to view life as a force of energy. Energy that was constantly moving through and around me. All I needed to do was put in a small amount of effort when life was moving in a direction that resonated with me, so that I could merge and float with ease on the edge of the momentum.
My heart knew exactly what I needed. All I had to do was listen. Doing this silenced the irrational narrative echoing in my mind that was filling me with fear and doubt and rendering me helpless.
I started to honor myself and show gentleness in my thoughts so that I could recognize my needs.
I found courage and that courage allowed me to be vulnerable so that my sadness could spill out, which instantly offered me liberation.
I opened to the possibility of an alternative way. A different existence to what I had always known. I realized that I was dangerously unhappy because I had been living a life that suited other people and that wasn’t in any way right for me.
Little by little I walked away from the comfort, safety and security of everything I knew and I replaced them with things that had meaning. I tenderly stepped away from myself. From whom I was at that time, and I began the painful but necessary process of self-transformation.
I realized that the strong sensations that were pulsating through me, contradicted by a loud heavy numbness, were not a desire to disappear and die—they were a calling and they were challenging me to appear—to live and vividly exist.
I’ve discovered that life is not always a mosaic of beauty and bliss. Sometimes it is tragic and can seem unbearable. However, when I accept that life is Yin and Yang and that it ebbs then flows in every direction, it gracefully carries me to wherever I am meant to be next.
Whenever I criticize myself unfairly I try to take another look at the situation through the eyes of someone who loves and accepts me exactly as I am. I consider what their perception of me is and what they would tell me. I try to replace my fractured, fragmented thoughts with their empowering, loving and compassionate ones.
Sometimes, we just aren’t very nice, respectful or loving to ourselves. We would never talk to other people the way we internally dialogue with ourselves. The destruction I have caused myself over the years with self-critical conversation could only be described as soul violence.
It is not okay.
But, I have forgiven myself because I accept that I am learning and trying hard to become a better friend to myself.
Knowing that I have survived the wrath of treacherous storms has given me confidence to know I may be knocked sideways or down, but waves are not permanent. I will always, always rise, eventually.
And so can you. You will.
You are a rarity and no one on Earth will ever replace you.
No one will ever understand how it feels to be you. So never let anyone tell you that you aren’t absolutely needed exactly as you are right now.
The butterfly didn’t always have those wings. It earned them through slow evolutionary persistence.
I am still persisting.
Still pushing through.
Am I still scared? Yes, I’m petrified at times.
Do I still weep? Regularly.
Have all my scars healed? No, there are parts of me that are still wounded and may always be, but they are no longer as achingly painful.
There is no right way or wrong way. You create your rules. You decide.
Please, never allow anyone else to devalue or determine your existence.
You. In all of your imperfect, flawed, cracked, broken goddamn beautifully chaotic and fragile messiness—you are so worth it.
Trust me, please. Have absolute faith.
One day you will look back on today and thank me for telling you what you already knew—that you have a purpose, a treasured jewel hidden somewhere inside you.
There is no hurry…
Just remember you are needed, unique and exquisite, exactly as you are right now.
Your purpose might be to bravely love open-heartedly, paint or sing extraordinarily or to travel the world and connect with and touch other souls. It may be to show others how to battle adversity and to inspire and empower. It may simply be to just radiate warmth with your smile!
Regardless of what your purpose is, your life has meaning and you will find it.
You haven’t yet had the best days of your life and you still haven’t met all the hearts that are long lost friends of yours. You haven’t seen all the places and felt all the feelings that are out there. There is an infinite amount of magical moments you have yet to experience.
It won’t always be easy. I won’t lie. But, I do know this—there will come a time when you will look back on this day and through tears and laughter you will say, “Thank f*ck. It was all—every sharp and jagged piece of it—worth it.”
Author: Alex Myles
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Flickr/Isabelle Gallino