26. Jul, 2021
Acceptance of the fact
“All men are created equal” (Jefferson, 1776).
I can’t do everything. At some stage you and I have to realise that even if it is not exactly how we want it, in a couple of weeks will what we did really matter? Somethings just aren’t worth all the heartache and headache. What we need to do is accept what is critical, and what we perceive as critical. We need to learn to differentiate what will cause trouble that requires resolution and a finite inspection, and what we think will be critical to ourselves. What matters to me, might not matter necessarily to you in the same respects.
I nearly had a mental breakdown in 2019 (I am being a bit dramatic), I think in some way, I did, but maybe for each individual it comes across us differently, and how we adjust, and react to it defines who we are. But let me take you back to sometime before this moment. I remember that when I heard of another man having a mental breakdown, or breaking down into tears, I recall laughing and feeling somewhat superior. In a way that I had thought I would never reach this point of no return, or so I thought it was so. I thought that a ‘real man’ doesn’t cry, that he doesn’t need to have a mental breakdown to get over something. That if it’s all that bad, just get up and move on. I always worked on the rule that if it was that bad, just get up and get moving.
But with a little bit of age, and situations working against me, I found myself, that I was now one of these men that couldn’t cope. At that point I had two mortgages, which was a great investment opportunity at the time, but circumstances, and markets shift. My wife recently pregnant with a couple hiccups (enough to make me realise what is most important in life). And then I came to a point where I could see I was stuck. I had no easy option to just get up and leave. So, my strategy, my mental plan in the background, was that if it ever got to that point, where I saw other people fail to get over their situation that I was now without a plan B.
I didn’t anticipate the need for a plan C, once my second option had gone from under my feet, the pressure of my situation really started to dawn on me. And I mean, I had never had such an amount of sleep deprivation, medication taking, things used to take away my thinking time and general self-pity which ended up being self-defeating activities. I was at a real low point, I remember I would wake up at 2am and just lay there, some nights my heart would race. I would feel my heart beating outside of my chest, I think even my wife would wake up from the sound of my heart racing.
The struggle was agony. The early morning wake ups were me thinking about all of the problems in my workplace, but also that I had nowhere but to keep on going back and taking the ‘beating’. The problems at work were my responsibility, I wasn’t directly at fault, but it was my operation, and as such I took it quite personally. I got to a point early in the year where I resigned, I just couldn’t take it anymore. But I pulled the pin in isolation, I didn’t have another job, I didn’t have another way out, but I just couldn’t take it anymore. There were many factors, not that I will get into too much detail as to who and what, but let me tell you, the pressure I felt, it was affecting my health.
I got to the end of my five-week notice period, and I had nothing available to me, there wasn’t another role ready to take me on, and with two mortgages and a pregnant wife, I couldn’t get away with minimum wage. I had to swallow my pride, I had to go against myself and ask to stay on in my role. It really hurt me, because I took back into a role that was hurting me as a person, not just as a professional. It hurt me, I had to tell my friends and family that I went back into the forest, my close friends just couldn’t understand. They knew what I had been going through, and yet I was ‘silly’ enough to go back into it, knowing fully well what I was walking back into.
Back understandably, they were right, but also sorely wrong, I take my family and my personal liabilities very seriously and defaulting and not providing for my family would be the ultimate failure. This has become one of my greater fears since acquiring these things in my life. It is funny how the great things we collect and gather in life then become our greatest liabilities. My wife tells me that we have it around the wrong way, that we shouldn’t ‘use people and love things, but love people and use things’. We sometimes get consumed in the marketing of this new age world and forget some of the most important things in our lives.
But I digress, and I continued on searching, seeking an alternative to my current situation. An arduous many month and I felt as though there was no way out. I felt pressure from my wife also because she needed security for our soon to be daughter, and rightly so. I remember driving to work and breaking down, in complete self-pity and feeling as though I had no way out. That I was stuck, I had to stay where I was, yet completely unhappy. I had tried for many other opportunities, but I wasn’t the right candidate for these instances, and with every time I was advised I was not the right fit, or unsuccessful, I would let it graze me. I would keep on keeping on, but with each time I got this told to me, it hurt.
I came to a point where I was unable to take it anymore, I just couldn’t, I had started to get involved in a local charity event that I was able to pour some of my life into and found that all of the great euphoria that I was getting from it was sapped from my spirit the moment I had any interactions with my workplace. I would have the motivation and energy of a ten plus. But then fall back into a self-pity state which was again self-deprecating. I made the call to my wife and said, even without another opportunity at hand, for my life, for my heart, its time, I cannot do this any longer. Regardless of the money, regardless of how I might feel like I have failed at what I have done, regardless of the financial risk. For my soul, I had to do this. And so, I did it in this way. I instantly felt a huge weight roll off my shoulders. I remembered this feeling, of freedom from what was pulling me down. It was so easy to change my state of mind with this simple choice and backing myself to do it as so. It also helped that my wife gave me her complete and utter support in my decision, she also had had enough.
I thought now that nothing could hurt me and that I now would slowly roll out of this environment with my head held high. I went to bed that night and awoke at 2am. My workplace still had a grip on me. I drove to work with a horrible feeling and I again struggled to manage my emotions. I broke down, I was questioning myself as to why I wasn’t on top of this, that I had pulled the pin, yet the pain is back again the same. What had changed again? “But there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer” (Frankl, 2004).
Certainty. I had stepped out of the fog and moved into the haze. I subconsciously had now taken into consideration that I have no opportunity to walk into. That I had two mortgages and a pregnant wife to look after, this hadn’t changed. I didn’t question my decision, it wasn’t irrational, it was for my health and as such it was going to happen either way. But my fear now came from the realisation that I have to be hungry to find another opportunity, or it will pass me by. And for the next month, in my ‘roll out’ it was painstaking, there was so much to do, yet I was still so personally connected, but my motivation had finally hit a point where I couldn’t go that extra step to resolve and overcome certain workplace challenges.
What I realised, is that in this time in my life, I had felt as though I had achieved nothing. That for all my heart ache I had come out the other side no better. My wife hit the nail on the head when she said “you might not have seen it, but you have become more resilient since you have been there, to even have stayed there for as long as you have, shows how much you have grown”. It might be that I feel as though I haven’t achieved much, but when I look back across my diaries for this period of time, there has been a lot of pressing challenges I have managed to overcome.
Maybe in my mind I had a feeling as though I hadn’t got to where I wanted to be, but so long as I have progressed, slow, fast or minor, forward progress is still forwards. And I think the biggest take out of this section of my life, and why I am sharing it with you, is because we all get into situations where we feel completely and utterly stuck. And we feel as though nothing we do will make it better. And for a period of time, we are all right, make a rash decision will just come and get us the next day. But over the course of time, and the day that I hand over the keys is the day where my euphoria will be longer lasting. And I am certain that my level of resilience will have increased substantially. That things that affected me before will become ‘water off a ducks back’.
And I am not ignorant to believe that I could have achieved more, because once we achieve our best results, we build on them, we then see new heights and new levels that we can reach. We don’t jump up a flight of stairs, we take it step by step. And each new flight of stairs we traverse, comes another flight to lift us to the next story. “Will I be defined by things that could have been? I guess time will only tell” (Alter Bridge, 2007).
Releasing control in this section is very hard, I am sure you have had an experience just the same, when I put it into perspective, I didn’t lose my home, I didn’t lose my wife. I was very lucky. What I felt was true pain in my heart. The tangible wasn’t what worried me so much, it was how it would make me feel. Why I continued on with what I was doing was because of how it made me feel, that failure would be my end. But in reality, my end is just another opportunity to begin again. It feared me so much that I did anything and everything I could just to evade this from occurring.
What is critical is growing from this, that I move one step backwards, but two steps forwards. That one step is my personal growth development, and that my second step is my health and wellbeing increased, and therefore filtering back to my family. So that I may be more able to give back what I have received. In a state of self-pity, there is no giving back. I have had many experiences where I have passed on all of my fears and frustrations but heard nothing back from those around me that I love. I recall listening to my wife yet hearing nothing. An entire conversation yet all I did was think about ‘woe is me’.
That is why they say misery loves company. But when you think something, when you talk about something that becomes your reality. Much like perception, if you think something, or believe something to be what it is, regardless of what it actually is, you will believe it to be. This state of mind is hard to get out of, I can understand it now and realise that it is a limiting belief system that affects so many people these days. That medication and pharmaceuticals are becoming more and more common place in our daily lives. But we have to decide, we have to stand on the knifes edge and decide in either direction that we will head. We cannot stand in pity and hope for the best. We must speak about the best, we must be our best, and we must enact what we want to be. ‘You are what you eat’, you are what you do. We will be defined by what we do.
Decide today, where you are presently, is it where you want to be, if you complain about what happens to you, what do you want it to be then? Act in this way, act in the way that you want to be treated, be what you choose to be. It is not an easy task… actually yes, it is. It is harder being in the now and allowing it to happen to you. It is more important that you absorb the atmosphere that you want to be within. Saying it is too hard to just do is a limiting belief system. If you think it, therefore it is. “Truly I tell you that if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and has no doubt in his heart but believes that it will happen, it will be done for him” (Mark 11:23, B.C).
Our self-doubt kills more dreams than the external pressure or effects of those around us. That is why it is so important that you decide your fate. That you organise your life, don’t let people organise you. Impossible is a word, it is not an action. The action that you take today and each and every moment of your life is what overcomes impossible. Be the competitor to be feared, by going about your business each and every day without a care or consideration of those that wish to limit your abilities. Your potential is limitless. And deciding that you will take positive action each and every day in a forward direction will set you apart from the rest of society.
Things will not always be in a happy ‘la la’ state, don’t get me wrong, you will suffer through the hard times. But life is like a roller coaster, with the bad comes the great highs. At the end of the dark alleyway you will find a light, even if you have to bring your own. If you seek it, you will find it. Life’s greatest challenges gives us memories to look back at, they also forge the greatest fires within our souls. With every scare comes a great story, an attribute to our character and an opportunity to give back to people. That when they ask you, you tell them, and they learn from it, much as you did yourself.