I’ve struggled with insecurity most of my life. In my early teens, I had lots of friends and never gave much thought to how important they were to me until they were gone. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease — a debilitating digestive disorder — right before I turned 16. The embarrassing nature of my illness prevented me from talking about it with my friends which was extremely difficult on me.
Feeling constantly ill and lethargic inhibited my usual sunny outlook and reduced my tolerance for people. As my health deteriorated, I withdrew from school activities and lost numerous friendships. My confidence plummeted, and my sensitivity to people’s actions toward me soared.
I couldn’t wait to finish high school, so I wouldn’t have to feel so awkward being around people who used to be my friends. I was happiest alone, where I didn’t feel I had to be someone I wasn’t just to get attention. But when I did get attention from the opposite sex, it felt good, and I couldn’t refuse it, although I may not have been attracted to the person giving it to me. Their interest replenished my value and gave me someone to talk to-a friend.
With each relationship — none less than a year — I became overly dependent on them for happiness. My insecurity caused me to hold on to unhealthy relationships, because I couldn’t stand the thought of losing my only friend. Eventually, work became my other crutch. Subconsciously, I tried to become everything to everyone, so they would need me. But I could never say no, even if I wanted to, because if I did, they might not need me anymore.
After a series of life events, over the course of many years, my confidence peaked. I had never felt so sure of myself for such an extended period of time. I was in my glory, finally able to walk with my head high, without forcing myself to do it. Then it all came crashing to a screeching halt, and I lost everything or so I thought.
What appeared to be the end of my life, threw me into a deep depression — a state of mind I had never experienced. For over a year, I went day-to-day unsure of my purpose; I was blinded by grief at the loss of all that gave me value. I was again worthless.
Never one to dwell on hardship, my heart begged my mind to move on, but I couldn’t overcome it. I was lost among a sea of neon billboards, pointing me in the direction I needed to go, but for the first time, I couldn’t see them. All that my tormented mind could visualize was everything that I had lost, everything I thought was perfect for me.
None of my old methods worked to get me back on track. There was only one thing left to try; something with which I had no experience: spirituality.
Despite parents who were both practicing Catholics for most of their lives before my birth, their knowledge and beliefs were never handed down to me. I knew nothing about religion or spirituality — not even basic information. What miniscule amount I knew — the Lord’s Prayer — I learned on my own at 15 years old.
Up to that point, I never gave much thought to spirituality. Although, I wanted to believe that there was more than what could be seen or touched, my rational mind couldn’t accept it. There were too many inconsistencies. I was convinced that I controlled my destiny, and if I wanted something, I simply needed to work hard to get it. And that was exactly what was holding me back from moving on.
In my daily search for answers to why I felt the way I did, I came across Sedona Soul Adventures. It seemed to offer precisely what I needed but was well out of my comfort zone. After much deliberation, I decided to do it. What did I have to lose?
I wrote my parents this email, before I left:
I’m leaving on Saturday and plan on coming back Friday. I have some pretty lofty goals for this trip-
- to let go of my “old life” as well as the tremendous pain, loss and emptiness that has been left in its place;
- to accept myself for who I am and, more importantly, who I am not;
- and to find peace within myself.
I’m going with an open mind and am ready to experience a little “spirituality” to save me from this horrible place I’m in. I feel like I’ve tried everything else. I sure hope it works!
I learned that spirituality isn’t about religion and the associated set of imposed standards that never made sense to me; it’s about energy, connection, acceptance and higher purpose. I learned about meditation and breathing to clear the mind and connect with myself. I learned about chakras, cleansing the soul and releasing latent blocks.
By the end of the trip, I felt like a brand new person and had a number of revelations that ultimately set me free from the insecurities that held me captive virtually my entire life. It filled me with hope and enabled me to get the first real glimpse into my true reason for being.
But I was still missing something. So I set out to learn as much about it as I could. It was Dr. Wayne Dyer’s book about the Tao Te Ching, Change Your Thoughts — Change Your Life, that brought it all together for me.
I realized that until that day, I insistently tried to control everything that might impact me. To be in line with what would make me truly happy, I needed to let go of control. It didn’t mean throw my hands in the air and give up, it meant do my best but not be attached to the outcome. Every experience presents an opportunity to grow and learn, so no matter if it didn’t turn out like I expected, I was better prepared for the next task.
Life has continued to pose challenges beyond what seems fair, but because I believe in a higher purpose and have let go of control, I’ve maintained peace of mind in the worst of situations. I see the signs and follow my heart without fear, knowing that in the end, I will never lose.
You May Also Find These Articles of Interest:
I Should Be Happy: I Have Everything I Could Ever Want
Why Can’t I Stop…(fill in the blank)
The Happiness Principle: Am I as Happy as I Could Be