“Anywhere can be paradise as long as you have the will to live. After all, you are alive, so you will always have the chance to be happy. As long as the Sun, the Moon, and the Earth exist, everything will be alright.” There was a time when I thought that the quote would be the ignorant words of some hippy. Nearly all my life, I’ve had nothing but apathy, sadness, and anger both towards myself and the world. I didn’t even know why I got up every morning. I knew what would happen everyday.
Stewing in bitterness and contempt at school, a chronic feeling of emptiness, raging at the drop of the hat, all an infinite cycle that went on for years. Year by year I lost everything I ever cared about. Soon I felt no remorse, and this would allow me to commit horrible acts. I knew I was being self destructive, but I lost all hope that happiness would ever find me. The day this cycle began to end however, was the day I almost died of a Dextramorphine overdose. It opened my mind to the reality that happiness was a possibility. I learned that in order to be happy, I had to practice Self-reflection to know who I really was deep down. This is a key part of bettering yourself. I learned I had to accept my past and myself in order to live. If I wasn’t able to do this I would have died a few weeks ago, bleeding in a bathtub. Finally the most important piece of my survival, is hope. Without hope we are just dead men walking.
Many may consider self reflection unnecessary. Many think that if you’re satisfied with your life, why would self-reflection make any positive difference? I used to think this way when I was younger, but not because I was satisfied with my life. I was convinced at 7 years old that all the things I desired in life would never come to me. I felt that the love I desired so much, was just a myth that was made up in movies. I couldn’t see how analyzing myself would change the “undeniable fact” that I would never be loved.
Unfortunately, it was thinking that pushed me into the beginning of a raging downward spiral. Since I wasn’t able to see into myself and see the positive aspects of myself, I planted the seeds that later became an inner monster. Day by day, I became more and more sad. But that sadness eventually transformed into anger, and hate. I was told by a therapist that my pain was so great, that my brain cut off my abilities to feel sadness and guilt to protect myself. All I felt for years was anger, hate, envy, and then periods of emotional numbness. For a long time I kept these feelings inside, and refused to connect with other people. Soon however, these feelings built up and exploded on the world. I’ve done so many horrible, unforgivable things that I can never take back. At the time I didn’t care. In fact the only thing that did bring me happiness was inflating my ego and hurting others. I knew I was the villain in my story, and I took pride in that. Each day I’d do something more monstrous than the last. So where does self-reflection fit into all this? The heart will always reflect what it feels to your perception of life. When I only saw the bad in myself, it was because that was all I allowed myself to see. Deep down I knew that if I saw the good in myself, I’d have to face everything I’d ever done. I’d have nightmares of this happening, and they’d repeat in my head nearly every night.
Something as simple as facing my own reflection was what terrified me more than anything. If we don’t know ourselves, we can’t understand the truths of life. Fear, and ignorance are the most dangerous emotions known to man. When someone feels fear, their first reaction is to do anything to get rid of it. This can lead to narcissism, selfishness, hatred, and even the taking of human lives. Fear is very important for survival, but if you run away from fear pain will follow you to the ends of the earth. Ignorance is dangerous because it encourages egocentrism. When you have the fear of accepting yourself combined with the ignorance of the damage you’re doing, looking inside yourself for the truth will always take the first step in saving you. When you realize that you aren’t bad or good, you can finally see that your just a human being trying to survive like everyone else in this life of inevitable pain. No one is “good” or “bad”, we are merely products of pain and desperate survival. Self loathing is a pit some people may never escape, because they don’t know how. I didn’t know either, at least until I overdosed on a potentially lethal dose of cough syrup.
For years I thought that the only time my life would make sense, was in my final moments. I thought I would be able to see what my life really meant, and find some sort of redemption just like in the movies. However while I was laying there dying, I finally saw the truth. That stuff only exists in movies. When I was laying in that ambulance, the thoughts that came to mind were this “Well I guess that’s it then. What a waste of time”. Then I laughed for a minute and realized I could’ve been so happy, if I just would’ve accepted myself. I laughed because the answer I always wanted deep down, was right in front of me the whole time.
A lot of people don’t know what acceptance really is. They might think that acceptance would be thinking “Oh I’m not happy right now, I guess I’ll just never be happy. Oh well.” That is nothing more than a delusion. True acceptance first comes with self-awareness. When you look inside yourself and see all aspects of who you truly are, the world becomes a place of infinite possibilities. “I am someone who has made many mistakes. I have the choice and the strength to be whoever I want to be. I’m going to go through really low periods of my life, and very high periods. Just because I make mistakes doesn’t mean I have to hate myself, and it doesn’t mean I’m unlovable or that everyone hates me. I can face the world knowing that I know I have the ability to be happy one day.” That is acceptance. There is no positive, or negative aspects of it.
All it is, is finally knowing the facts. While I was able to accept myself, it doesn’t mean I have found happiness. Instead, acceptance gives you hope. For the first time in my whole life, I can face the world knowing that I can be happy. I have that courage because of my acceptance. Through acceptance, I was able to take the first step in recovering from my deep rooted self-hatred. I know now that I don’t have to hate myself for the mistakes I’ve made in the past. It’s okay for me to be alive in this world, and with that realization my whole life has changed for the better. I was able to let go of my hatred for my father, and my mother. I used to think forgiveness was pointless. I used to think “why would I forgive them if they never apologized?” What I didn’t realize was that forgiveness isn’t about making others feel better, It’s about helping yourself and moving on. I used to think that moving on was running away from my problems. I would grow colder, detached, and more apathetic as each day went by. I would listen to music 24/7 to escape my problems, and my thoughts. Not a single moment was I ever content or at peace with anything. There was always something more that I wanted. More drugs, more binge eating, more power, more vengeance. A downward spiral, that whenever I thought I hit rock bottom, the ground would crumble beneath me to reveal an even deeper abyss. No end in sight, because I truly believed I was a thing that couldn’t be changed. When you label yourself as a bad person, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Soon you do bad things not because you want to, but simply because you believe It’s just who you are. I don’t believe people can really understand what It’s like until they’ve gone through it themselves. People don’t understand why “bad people” do bad things, and I don’t think most “bad” people understand why they do the things they do either. They can grasp a false understanding, but it’s usually another attempt to wall themselves off from others. Of course It isn’t that black and white, but I truly believe that’s the case with the majority of those kind of people.