. In a second the world flips. You think you know someone or where you stand and suddenly you find yourself alone. You see someone who said they loved you become cold and find enjoyment in your pain. You question your worth all over again. You look at the events leading up to that moment and you see what you didn’t see before: there were signs. Indications of things first not going well and then fizzling out. Things not turning out how you thought they would. No, this isn’t to say that any time something doesn’t go as planned it’s a disaster. But it is clearly to say that there are moments when you fall that you have to reevaluate who you are. The most painful part of this is when you see your part in it. It’s when you acknowledge the pieces of you that need to change and adjust.
We are human and we all have moments of rock bottom. Moments we don’t see coming until they are upon us and when we look at the depths of who we are. Recognizing our contribution to each of those moments has taught me we can’t move forward until we see where we’ve contributed to our own downfall. Now, like any human, none of us want to acknowledge where we caused our own pain. After one of the most emotionally painful weeks of my life, I spoke with my mentor and she flipped my view on it’s head. I never considered my reactions to someone ego. Especially with concrete actions like someone saying they won’t spend money and then they do it behind your back. In my brain, that was a justifiable thing to get pissed about because they actively did something that impacted me. I felt those actions in my soul because I believed we were working toward a result together and I had a right to set boundaries. But my mentor stopped it and framed it around control and I’m learning this is a fine line.
We create expectations around someone’s actions because there is a real impact on our lives. The bottom line is that we can’t control what they do. No matter the agreement, the understanding, whatever it may be, the other person can always do what they want. My mentor took it even deeper and asked the question about where my need for control came from. What issue of lack am I dealing with that makes me want to control. Initially I bristled. I mean, it’s common sense if someone does something to you, you’re allowed to react. The question becomes do you need to? Is the reaction based in something more deeply seated than the action of the other person? And even if you’re right, the other person may not have the wherewithal to deep dive into themselves to see what caused them to do it in the first place. All we can do is the work on ourselves.
The work involved with self-care and self-awareness to promote growth can sometimes frankly suck. My mentor asked me how long I had been doing this work and I made the comment that sometimes I ask if it’s even worth it because it’s painful. She reframed that, too, stating growth is painful—that’s why they call it growing pains and that it’s always worth it. She also shared with me that sometimes on our growth journey we trigger things in people around us. We mirror what they need to work on in themselves. They even tell us we’ve changed and incompatibilities surface. I also know first hand when you’re not ready, the work won’t happen. We avoid it. It’s hard to go through the mud and take ownership of things you legitimately didn’t do, as well as the things you did. Because the truth of growth is that we can only play the cards we are dealt and sometimes the mess we have to clean up isn’t ours. We may not have caused it, but in order to move forward we need to take responsibility for it. That doesn’t mean taking blame, but it means looking at the future and doing what you need to get there. The wound will repeat until we heal it. No matter how painful the beginning, we can heal it as long as we are willing to face it. Sometimes the most painful discussion is the one you have to have with yourself to accept the truth.