Here’s another deeply personal post, one I thought might speak to a lot of people out there.
Growing up, I didn’t feel very good about myself. I had major self-esteem issues growing up (for several reasons), and these issues plagued me far into adulthood, since I was on a mission to prove myself in the eyes of society instead of working to do what it takes to build my sense of self-confidence on the inside, regardless of what others think of me.
Jail and Anger Issues Begging to Be Dealt With
Getting in trouble with the law and having a tough time in school made things worse – I developed a strong sense of inner anger due to abuse in our home in childhood, and it resulted in being arrested when I was 21 and had major anger issues toward women (yes, there’s a huge link to childhood trauma with Mom and later rage and anger issues – it’s textbook psychology, frankly). The thing was that I didn’t get the help I needed until it was too late and I had a criminal record. I take 300% responsibility for the role I played in not getting help, and even though my life was now scarred with a record and increased anger issues in and out of school, something deep inside kept me believing that I was much more capable than I was showing.
…I was right.
Taking Responsibility, Brick By Brick
Over the years, I went to anger management courses, therapy sessions, continued to have issues on rare occasions in relationships with anger and commitment, and eventually tried to commit suicide in 2011, three years after my Brother ended his own life. My sense of trust in myself was all but shattered. However, my wife said to me “allow others to help you – wave the white flag and see what happens.” – She didn’t want to lose her new husband to suicide, and I sure as hell didn’t want to go that route, but I was exhausted, frighteningly angry at myself and fed up beyond all measure…
Then, I kept getting help and researching ways to be successful like people I admired had, while going to therapy and trying nine different medications over the course of three years. It wasn’t pretty, but with a bit of support, I pushed my way through and decided to go all-in on speaking publicly about my story through social media and speaking events.
In Hindsight From The Other Side
Now I’m here with nearly 2 million followers (friends) online, and my point to all this is that after all these battles, struggles and close-calls with a much worse fate, I know how to trust in myself. I say this because I’ve made it through whatever life has thrown my way (or what I caused, in the interest of taking full responsibility for all of it) and I’m wiser and stronger than ever in self-awareness at the age of 41. I know now that no matter what happens, I can make it through the worst and keep pushing forward.
Am I fully “there?” – No way, but I’m doing my best and I simply won’t stop. The way I see it, there isn’t ever some “perfect” day when we finally achieve peace in every area of life. It’s all about the journey.
KEEP. F-ING. GOING. That’s rule #1 through hellish times and good times alike.
Sometimes we need to stop over-thinking things and be gentle on ourselves. Self-compassion while doing our best to learn and grow can definitely change lives, as it has for me.