The River in Winter 2019

Special: A Journey of Personal Growth

Lately, I have been on a journey of acceptance, discovery, and growth. It has been astonishing in the past few months how far I have grown into a man and discovering that what I am feeling and what I need to do to be well is possible and acceptable. I can no longer live in shame about what I have to do to stay well and be who I want to be. 

In the past year or so, I struggled with not realizing that I can be who I want to be and the fact that I, a man in his 30’s, has the right to his preferences and the ability to set his boundaries and choose what he wants and doesn’t want in his life. I also learned that I don’t have to accept everything that comes my way and that the things that are defective to my mental wellbeing that I can steer clear of them to protect my personal wellbeing. Doing so has made me feel so much better about myself and as such I have made the decision to be more positive based. Now I don’t mean toxic positivity. I believe that everyone, myself included, has the right to think about things as that is the valid thing to do. Doing so also doesn’t make anyone less of a person for expressing how they feel as long as they do so safely. 

Validity in the way I feel has taught me so much about understanding and acceptance that things are not the way that I think the common world thinks they should be. I guess that is why I had to see and realize that there was such a thing as toxic positivity and know that every day and situation can be sunshine and rainbows. Being validated has made me feel that what I feel is acceptable and a part of life and not something that is wrong. Even if it is wrong, I must work on creating a remedy to make it better than I left it.

Also I have accepted the fact that I cannot change what others do about their behaviors or situations they create. What I can control is my actions towards them and realizing by lashing out in an illicit manner by making demands or causing a scene will cause negative energy that I am the cause of and is no one’s fault other than mine. I must also realize when not to invest energy into the things that are not my concern or beyond my scope of control because I am powerless of the situation. When I can feel the energy of others’ negative behaviors, then I must employ whatever strategies necessary to make sure that I do not omit any negative energy onto others which will result in damage due to my expense.

Part of the discovery is realizing how much of a good person I can be. For most of my life, my faults were continually pointed out. This resulted in me not having a good outlook on life and being connected to others who did not accept my feelings, needs and rights only made the outlook more detrimental to where I was in survival mode for any time I could have to myself. Surrounding myself with people that I want to have good energy has been very beneficial to me to the fact I am now interacting with others much more and being more comfortable accepting myself for who I am and what I want in life. Having a social connection to the outside world has been so beneficial in my social and mental health for so many reasons that it has given me a purpose to keep going.

Now, this doesn’t mean that it is indeed all sunshines and rainbows. There are times that I still struggle maintaining my overall positivity and wellness. Energy from the toxicity and brain stll arise, however I am able to bounce back better many times by stopping and looking at the big picture and envisioning what the result of my action without thinking would be. Would it matter? Would people move on? Probably, yes. So, the question is, What would it do for me? Is it going to hurt my mental health? Therefore, I have to many times see in reality what the impulsivity would result in and many times put on my big boy pants to do the right thing because doing what I want at an impulse will likely result in nothing for the other party and cause me a lot of strife..

However, now I am seeing that people are seeing the fruits of my labor being performed to their maximum potential and as a result I can produce the similar energy enmasse. Life is what you make it. You can spend it being miserable, or you can get out of the trenches and roll with the punches, it’s your choice.

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