I don’t know why I am the way I am, but I am trying to accept it. There is no gain in questioning your feelings and thoughts; there can only be gain in dealing with them. So I am trying not to wonder about why I was miserable in the past when there was really no obvious reason for it – I had a beautiful family and amazing friends, I had a fridge filled with food and a wallet full of money, I had always been loved and never been abused.
I know now that I don’t need to justify my feelings and that all it took to screw me over for a while was my own mind. However, I didn’t know that when it started, and I let myself become a slave to my very own destructive thoughts. I began to think of myself as this pathetic and worthless creature who did not deserve to be loved and desired and appreciated. Ugly, boring, weird, unobtrusive, and dull were some of the characteristics I ascribed to myself. And it worked, because I wasn’t conscious of what was happening and so I created a picture of myself that actually had no evidence at all to support it. But I was convinced that I was simply finding out who I really was, and that all of those negative words were part of my simple truth. No matter what my friends told me, I wouldn’t believe them. It confused me even more when I looked into the mirror and found the complete opposite of who they saw.
Whenever I experienced rejection of any kind I felt sadly validated and at the same time could “understand” why it happened – why would anyone actually want me? A few times I even considered someone’s rejection of me as a positive characteristic of theirs. It showed that they were sane enough to recognise the disgusting person I was, and hence keep me at a safe distance.
Looking back now, I can see the absurdity and insanity of my thoughts, but for the time when I was right in the middle of them, everything just seemed so logical and made perfect sense. By thinking the way I did, I had placed a weight on myself, and I made myself carry it for around three to four years. At times, I even thought I could physically feel it. It felt like a huge rock right in my chest, and even when my thoughts were not circling around themselves, that rock was still there, always in the background. Knowing now how life can be without the rock, I don’t know how I managed to live with it for so long but I guess it just seemed right at that time. Like it was what I deserved.
Last year, I experienced some of my darkest moments, but when I went on a short trip with a few friends, things suddenly changed. I cannot explain what it was, but perhaps my body was just sick of living this unhealthy and literally insane life, and ready for an alternative way of being. All of a sudden it felt like the weight in my chest had been lifted a little bit, and I experienced a lightness as I never had before. The following month I flew to Australia for my semester abroad, and I can say now that this has been the best decision in my life so far.
Altogether I think that it was a combination of being away from home and my usual surroundings, the special spirit in Australia, and the people I met that influenced me more than anyone ever has before. I would say that probably the most important step was to start talking. I talked about how I felt and what I thought about, I asked questions and finally started receiving some answers, I knew that I would not get judged for what I was saying and I discovered that life could, in fact, be quite different, and that I could be happy if I chose to.
No matter what happens, I know now that I will be fine because I am all I really need. Realising this has changed my life.
It does not mean, though, that I am super happy all the time now or that nothing can bring me down. Actually, I can still relate to a lot of thoughts from the past and there are days when I’m just inexplicably sad, but now I know that these thoughts are anything but logical and that it is just my mind turning against me. Overall, I have realised how great it feels to know that there is not a single thing I have to fear or worry about. Worrying won’t change a thing, anyway, and in the end it is just life, so why ruin it? Today I can see that I have a very strong desire to be loved by others, and that this urge determines most of my thoughts and actions. This is also why I think that the fact that I have never been in a relationship was what brought me down the most (which I know now is not the end of the world and most definitely not when you’re only 22).
I made myself suffer intensely for no obvious reason, and then I got better again – for no obvious reason, either. What all this has taught me is that everyone is in charge of their own happiness and inner peace. All feelings – the good ones and the bad ones – are part of the human experience, but we need to remind ourselves that we can always choose which one we’ll end up with.
By Marlene Bauz