At the very beginning of healing, when I first begin to realize just how affected by everything I truly had been, I was really overwhelmed. I saw all the bad in myself. Habits I had formed to protect myself or to please myself without anyone else’s judgment. I was sneaky, angry, dramatic, and irresponsible.
At one point, I crashed my car. I was in the midst of leaving an angry voicemail for a family member and I had become so distracted by my emotions, I ran a red light and T-boned another car. Sadly, in my immaturity, I blamed my family member for my accident. My reasoning was if they never would have mad me so angry, if they would have just answered my call, if they weren’t making me drive across town in the first place, I would have never gotten into an accident. No one was injured in that accident, except me. Which says a lot, because the truth of this situation was that I was the only one responsible for that accident. I was on the phone, I was distracted, I didn’t stop at the red light (whether I saw it or not). I was wholly responsible for the crashed car and my crashed life.
I was at a terribly low mental state. I was weak, and refusing to take responsibility for my own actions. I assumed if everyone wasn’t so shitty, I wouldn’t need to be this person defending myself all the time. I wouldn’t be reacting if they stopped attacking me. There is a small amount of truth there, but what I really needed to see was that my actions are my responsibility.
My husband and I were laying in bed one night as I was ranting about what was happening to me. He leaned over, with some stern tough love and said, “Rhea, you need to grow up and take responsibility for yourself”. I shut up immediately. While there probably is a kinder or more loving way to communicate this message to me, tough love is something I have always responded too. In that moment, I needed that tough love.
So, I needed to own up to my actions. I needed to take responsibility for myself. I started first by cutting out the people who were triggering me to react like this. I used to say I would put them in “time-out” but now, being a bit more mature than that, I know I just needed some space to think. It was a couple months before I realized where I had messed up with my family. I had reasons to act in the terrible way I did (given my history of emotional/psychological abuse and the fact that I was grieving my dads death) but that cannot be an excuse to being a shitty person to the people around me.
Everyone has a life that we know nothing about. I was 24 long years of pain and confusion. Everyone has hurt and pain and not many people acknowledge it and try to change it. I don’t want to be like that. I want to be kind because I know people are hurting. I’m not going to operate from my hurt because that only ends up hurting more people. I want to be detached from this pain game of stabbing one another in an argument. I want to be understanding not judgmental of people reacting to pain. So I had to stop making my pain an excuse, heal it finally, deal with my triggers and then be better. (not that I’m all the way there yet, but the progress is definitely evident)
I assume everyone around me is a bleeding mess. Why? Because when I was a bleeding mess I was in good company. I had a lot of people who acted the way I acted, when I retold the story of my accident without taking responsibility for my emotions people agreed with me and understood me. When I started to heal, and accept my fault, and actually try to change, not many people understood that. When I tried reacting to my problems differently it was like a whole new world opened up for me.
So how does one take responsibility for one’s self? I don’t fully know the answer but I’ll tell you where I started.
- Feed and water myself every day.
- This is taking responsibility for your body. You have to eat and drink water everyday.
2. Sleep well.
- This is taking responsibly for your energy. Plus sleep is wonderful and healing so don’t skip out on it.
3. Commit to a morning routine.
- This is taking responsibility for your mind. Giving yourself a chance to wake up and be ready for the challenges ahead facing your own healing. I find this to be crucial to every adults life.
4. Learn new things.
- expanding your knowledge, expands your consciousness which helps you see who you are and where you need to change. Learn philosophy, history, cosmology, gardening, storm chasing, anything that keeps you grounded. Learning about the world and its history will help you understand yourself.
5. Get exercise
- Just take a walk. I promise you’ll feel better. Sun, movement, sweat. It’s good for the mind. Pushing thorough pain and resistance in your physical body is what helps you conquer the pain and resistance in your mental state.
Taking responsibility for your physical wellbeing is where you start. Once you start to feel good, you’ll emotional problems will bubble up, you’ll get triggered, you’ll react, but you’ll feel so good in your body that you might get the chance to think about a new reaction before you react in your normal way.
I’m not perfect at this stuff but I try. I consider feeding and watering myself to be an annoying daily maintenance, but this taking responsibility for myself. I am committed to healing, and I will do the things I need to do to heal.