Courage

“One of the happiest moments in life is when you find the courage to let go of what you cannot change.” – Unknown

As I travel this path, knowing how far I have come and how hard I have worked, I have almost become accustomed to the sense of security I feel as I watch my strength and determination grow. I feel inspired… I no longer feel intimidated by the challenges that lie before me.

Knowing that I am a work in progress reassures me. It has given me room to grow in a place without the expectation of perfection. I ultimately allowed myself to grow from a place of vulnerability when I started setting goals instead of trying to achieve impossible expectations.

I usually gain encouragement by looking into my past and recognizing the obstacles I have overcome. However, today feels like a day where I am unable to visualize the line between vulnerability and insecurity. Today, something is different and I am again imprisoned by the pain of my past.

I feel stuck in this mood where the acceptance and forgiveness of being vulnerable has been replaced by the shame of my insecurities. I feel incredibly intimidated by the day ahead and find myself doubting my ability to face the obstacles and challenges set before me.

In this state of mind, I find myself feeling extremely overwhelmed. I’ve come to realize over the years that this mood is never brought on by just one thought or feeling. Trying to pinpoint the trigger is pointless; in this blinding moment, the trigger is insignificant. I have allowed my pain and exhaustion to open a door for a mob of negative feelings. An overwhelming wash of emotion causes me to lose control of the original issue, and that is when things go from bad to worse. I’m drowning in my emotions.

I have found that working through a bad mood feels a lot like treading water. I am painfully aware that no matter how hard I try, I find that I haven’t moved any distance in any direction and I am suddenly aware of the exhaustion and despair that has come with the struggle.

I always try to stay ahead of my moods, but today the road I’ve started down finds me overcome with the inability to forgive myself for being vulnerable. On my good days, I gain strength from the anguish of my past. But today, I am painfully aware of how my anguish has suddenly grown into an insecurity that feeds by suffering.

I’ve questioned myself…why am I hesitating to grab ahold of my life rafts? Am I intimidated by the idea that I might not be able to hold onto it? That I might slip off and drown? Am I so lost in my thoughts that I don’t even notice the opportunity they provide to separate myself from my thoughts? Why am I not allowing myself to find comfort in this familiar struggle?

Once I realize I’m at this point, I have to make the decision to climb up on that life raft and do the hard work of moving toward a better mood. I am clinging to the following quotes today:

“In order to move on, you must understand why you felt what you did and why you no longer need to feel it.” – Mitch Albom

This quote encourages me to find a way back to the present. As I think about this quote, I close my eyes and take three deep breaths. The counting and breathing soothes me enough to be able to focus and acknowledge the initial trigger. This acknowledgement helps me understand why the mob of negative thoughts are having such a negative impact on me today.

The awareness doesn’t instantly wash away my difficult mood, but by simplifying the problem, I am able to begin processing the thoughts and my mood becomes less overwhelming. Overcoming the mood one issue at a time brings a feeling that resembles relief.

I am reminded that what I am experiencing is just a temporary emotion. Understanding why I was upset is usually the easy part. Accepting that I do not deserve to feel this way is surprisingly more of a challenge. In order to allow myself to move forward and stop punishing myself for my insecurities, it is important to remind myself that in these darker moods, it is quite normal to feel weak and doubt by ability to persevere. Finding wisdom in the struggle is something I know I’ll be able to take into future challenges.

This next quote is really inspirational; it supports everything that I am trying to learn from the previous quote:

“Courage is not having the strength to go on, it is going on when you have no strength.” – Theodore Roosevelt

I find the word “courage” to be nothing short of empowering. I truly believe that if we can remind ourselves in these moments where we are struggling that if all we have is our courage, we already have enough power to make a change.

My past, my armour, they are both part of me… A weight I am proud to carry. Knowing I have this courage gives me the strength to rebuild; I am motivated to use it to move forward. I do realize, however, that sometimes the weight of a particular emotion is too heavy to carry and I have to have the courage to let it go.

 

I was extremely hesitant to work through my dark mood in this entry. My hope in sharing the experience is to encourage others to understand that we are all working on our mental health…it is a process and a journey. We need to be proud of the accomplishment of allowing ourselves to be a work in progress. I truly hope that we can all accept our vulnerability as a place which we can grow from.

“Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.” – Brene Brown

-Cat-

 

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