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Do we ever go backwards?

Updated: Jan 6, 2023

My first blog post was shared back in November 2019. It was titled ‘My Story So Far’ and represented a reflection of my healing journey and self-growth at that point in time. I first established my blog having found the courage to want to publicly share my personal story. I wanted to invite a space for others to explore their own vulnerability with honesty and authenticity, to be able to relate to and connect with others, and to create a platform in which my experiences might offer some support or a feeling of solace amid another’s turbulence.

I have re-visited this piece of writing several times recently and reflected upon that period a lot. On the one hand it makes me feel excited and inspired by my own capacity for healing and reminds me of how I managed to find a space in which everything suddenly seemed so much less daunting and overwhelming to me. I felt content, my thoughts, decisions, and moment to moment experiences started to flow without resistance or self-limiting doubts. The smallest things bought a smile to my face. I felt connected, lighter, and balanced. I approached everything – most importantly myself – without judgement and with so much more compassion. As such, I was able to share these qualities much more readily and authentically with those around me.

On the other hand, I think back to that time and look back upon my writing, wondering how it is that I let that special time and state of being go, when it made me feel so good, so alive. I have thoughts constantly hovering in my mind, asking the questions of; how am I back where I used to be? What was all that healing for if I feel more challenged than ever now? How did I allow myself to get back to this place of loss, self-doubt, confusion, and disconnection? Does the fact that I’m so deeply feeling these emotions again mean that I will always come back to them? That I will always feel somewhat trapped in my thoughts and unable to manage or understand my own experiences?

With a clearer and more focused mindset, I can look upon the above in a more rational way, and identify how I’m judging myself too harshly perhaps. This does not mean that my questioning is not valid, it is more valid than ever, as it is true to how I feel in that moment. It takes me to depths I was unaware I was carrying; it allows me to explore the whole of my experiences and who I am. How I attach myself and experiences to those thoughts and questions might be less rational, it is feeding into an image of myself that has no self-worth and is full of limitations. One where I find it difficult to be forgiving to myself, and without sounding too cliché, not valuing myself enough to love myself. To recognise that amongst sadness and challenge, I have the capacity to experience joy, that I am deserving of that feeling and that when it comes – it is real, it is not a stolen moment.

I find it easy to lose myself in confusion and sadness and it makes me feel as though my experiences of happiness are fleeting moments, and that they will never last. But ultimately, it is about understanding that it is my choice to open myself up to the whole range of my emotions and how I respond to them, it is no one else’s. I can learn to carry my emotions lightly, with a balanced and free-flowing mindset, to enjoy the outcome, to learn from it. With that, my present self does not need to be dictated by my past self and neither does it have to impose on my future self if I don’t want it to. I have the choice to ultimately free myself of myself, to let go of expectations, to have fun with where I’m taken moment by moment. To accept that however good or bad that moment may feel, that it is okay. Every moment and experience will be slightly different from that before it, and to that that follows. It is never fixed, and neither do we need to be.

So, to revisit the first question of how am I back where I used to be?, if nothing is fixed, then the idea that I am back where I used to be cannot possibly be true. Something is different this time. I have the choice to see that I have evolved with my experiences, and that I will always continue to do so, through the whole range of my emotions... hopefully with the help of nurturing a little more kindness and lot less judgement.

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