Respecting Yourself Even When You’ve Made Bad Choices

In 1990, I met a man who would change my life forever. He was eight years older than me, into heavy metal, rock, and roll, and I never saw his true colors until later. I saw the man. While everyone else around me noticed a con artist, I thought he was incredible. We were brought together at a time when life lost both of us. He had lost his parents, and I had been through relationships so rocky that they made roller coasters look stable. Our relationship, if you can even call it, was one based on spontaneity. We lived in the moment, and even though we were constantly together, we knew nothing about each other. I know we wouldn’t have made it work. We were opposites in every respect, and we thought we knew what we meant to each other, but time has a way of taking the blinders off. That happens to all of us when we are wrapped up in how we feel about a person. I defended my ex-husband through many issues, and I know he protected me, but in the end, we didn’t trust each other. I had fallen out of love with him because of how he treated me, and to this day, I still have trust issues with men. I acknowledge that information freely because it’s part of healing.

I have a good acquaintance who once told me that I “fall too easily.” There was a time where he would be correct. But learning about who I am over the years has helped prepare and equip me for better choices, more awareness in a partner, and my shortcomings. There’s something to be said for changing the dynamics into a positive role. Especially when you’re down so much that it’s all you seem to experience. What’s important is that I recognize the patterns in my life that caused me to make poor decisions, associate with the wrong types of folks, and figure out who I am. The result is that I am a person of worth, who struggles like everyone else, but I finally believe in myself enough to know that I have to trust my instincts.

Sometimes it takes the memories of our past to build on our futures. We look at the obstacles that fell in our way and struggle to make better decisions financially, emotionally, professionally, and personally. It’s not easy to stand up when you’ve been humiliated in the past. It’s scary and uncertain. What helps me is knowing that I’m not the only one out there who feels that way. I struggle to find my voice in so many areas. When I was a kid, my dad used to say that I had a habit of going until I dropped. It didn’t matter what I was doing because I’d have boundless energy, and then all of a sudden, I was out of gas. There was never a time where I wound down. It took years for me to learn how to direct my system, and I still have days where it’s a constant struggle, but at least I pace myself better.

I’ve always been a picky eater, and I’ve learned to step out of my comfort zone. In the past year, I’ve tried several dishes that I previously wouldn’t touch. It’s a chance to grow my palate and my awareness of bigger things in this world. I wouldn’t say I liked reading nutrition labels until the last couple of years because I didn’t think it was a big deal. Now I’m more aware of what I put into my body and the effects to expect. Ignorance isn’t an excuse that people accept, but in my eyes, what I didn’t know might hurt me, but at the time, I didn’t care. I was young and thought I learned more than I did. Talk about a rude awakening.

Attending college in the late eighties and early nineties taught me that I wasn’t ready. When I returned to school in 2004 and graduated in 2006, I prepared myself because priorities shifted. I knew what I wanted and what it would take to make it happen. Many of my peers are successful because they traditionally did things, and that’s great for them, but it wasn’t meant for me.

Learning where we are in life is critical to where we want to go. I can sit here and give you pointers, but you have to be willing to forgive yourself for the mistakes in the past and learn from them. Growth doesn’t happen because you wish it to, but it happens because you are willing to put forth the effort to make the desired changes in your life. People will always have opinions about your life and your choices. But, you want to know something about views? I know that we’ve all heard that “Opinions are like assholes; everyone has one.” There’s truth in that statement. But the difference is that our asses get rid of waste, so why are we letting other people’s opinions waste our time and energy? We all seek validation from different sources. Start by validating yourself. Recognize your strengths and weaknesses and work from there. Prioritize what you need to and focus on your dreams and goals. Once you start those dreams in motion, everything else will become more evident. After all, we all make bad choices. The difference is that we don’t have to let those choices take over our futures. Have a great day, everyone.

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