Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Life’s about the journey, not the destination.

The trouble with clichés is that they’re usually annoyingly true.
(Ahhh HATE that.)
I’ve been thinking very much about what many consider “destinations.” Graduating from high school, college, getting married, having babies, losing 10 lbs, gaining 10 lbs, getting rich, getting that svelt car…so often I have thought, if I can just get married, or do this or get that, then I’ll be happy, I’ll be cured, I’ll be there, and everything will be perfect. But marriage, socially acceptable and expected accolades, and all of the above things I mentioned…these are not destinations, but rather, in my opinion, landmarks. A place where you can stop and rest, and be proud of what you’ve done to meet your goal. A place where you can put your feet up, and bask in the sun, maybe get a smokin’ tan, but then get up, and keep going, keep forging ahead.

This particular cliché I am currently learning is true in recovery, and also forgiveness, as well. Forgiving myself for past offenses (real or imagined) isn’t a one time happenstance. I’m finding that every once in awhile, I need to sit, and breathe, and remind myself that I am good and have good intentions and that I deserve food and happiness and taking up space in this world. I’ve never been able to say to myself (or even to others who have hurt me in the past) yep you’re forgiven, the end. No. Sometimes that hurt or that anger or that shame or that fill in the blank swells inside me, and before it can overcome me, overwhelm me to go back to my compulsions of not eating, I have to think, and have sympathy, and remember that I am good, that people, in general, are good. If I don’t believe this, if I can’t, then I cannot survive in this world. It would be too cruel.

Similarly, recovery is not a destination, either. I am finding that I am in many ways recovered one week, or one month, but the next, take a few steps back. Recovery is a constant process of changing and learning and growing and moving back and forth on a spectrum. It’s about allowing yourself to be imperfect, make mistakes, learn from them, and move on. Recovery, love, forgiveness…all of these things require constant maintenance and nurturance to thrive. It’s a never-ending journey. But it doesn’t have to be painful.

And because that darn cliché (that is SO sickeningly Chicken Soup for the Soul) is totally true ‘dat, remember that patience and self-love is involved. Your journey is gonna be one hell of a long, desperately unhappy voyage if you don’t allow yourself some lovin’, patience, and like I mentioned above, forgiveness. So give yourself a rest today, will ya? Enjoy yourself.

I’m totally having a kum-ba-ya moment. Love it.


Penny said...

It has taken me my whole long life to like and accept myself!(And that is a shame). Because I am more laid-back and relaxed I always feel like the hard driving perfectionists are the ones that look at me disapprovingly and I find for years that I tried to please them instead of looking at my own journey and how far I have come. Kudos to you for figuring this important aspect of your life out. I totally love the concept of beginning to like yourself or even to appreciate yourself because your struggles have been so hard, and you lunge ahead despite the "mess-
ups" . Life is a journey and there is actually happiness that comes from each little baby-step ahead and side-steps are common. Others' steps mean nothing because we all walk in our own path. ( Loved this post and the psych sidewalk, always amazed at the way your mind works)!Hope YOU are related to me.

Courtney said...

I agree, I think this is wisdom that most people go through life never fully understanding. I'm always trying to remind myself one step at a time, progress not perfection, and all those other cliché's that are like you said, annoyingly true.

Sometimes it's hard to really believe them, but I love those moments of clarity when you can see things as they really are. I hope you can see what incredible progress you've made and that the journey you're taking is much more meaningful and rewarding than any destination you might have reached long ago.

ghost girl (saa) said...

Thank you for this post! I am currently having a bunch 'o bad memories and past hurts bubbling up and it makes me want to retreat into old unhealthy coping mechanisms....It is very supportive to read posts like this!! Yay for the Kum ba ya moment!! :D

bananas said...

This is one to print out and hang on the fridge. :) Or put in a journal. I might do that.

Thanks Brie!

Krystle said...

This made me smile. Thank you for posting it. You are an amazing woman, Brie!

lisalisa said...

I liked this post- it made me think about how I need to forgive and love myself. You are right- it is very difficult to recover if you don't allow yourself some grace. Thanks for the reminder!

Angeline said...

just......thank you!!!

inthemainstream said...

I've always wondered why it's such a huge project to learn to love yourself (yourself being all of us). I usually find that middle-aged people have gotten to the "for the most part stage." What kind of adaptive function could that possibly have? To, more or less, loathe at least part of your person for half your life? And it's like you can't escape it either, just knowing about it, but you have to build toward it no matter who you are.

kristin said...

This was a really inspiring post, Brie. I definitely think you are right and I hope that I can remember these things when the journey gets hard.

Take care, Brie.

love, kristin

Jackie said...

Great post honey bun. It is so true and I am so glad you have this type of perspective. You need it and you deserve it. Love you so much. xoxo

Laur said...

It always bugged me when people always quote John Lenon "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans."
but then one day I like really thought about it and let it sink in and I realized it was the truest statement I had ever heard.

Amber said...

Hey, loved it today. Everything you said was true! You are doing great, keep it up. ps Cade very happy today, running around laughing

Sarah said...

This is a great, great post full of Brie-y goodness. Glad you wrote it -- glad you can feel it.


Brooke said...

Don't you love the moment's where you have those clear realizations? I have very few, but they feel so amazing when I do.
Everything you said is so true and is good for me to hear. Thanks for the post.