I really hope this letter finds you feeling a bit better, and if not, I hope to lift your spirits a bit by the time you finish reading. I also wanted to remind you that you aren't a pain in any way at all. What are friends for anyway? Besides, I can recall going through a similar time and questioning my own life and purpose. There really aren't any easy answers or solutions, but hopefully, some of what I write will help you to sift through things and evaluate them in a better light. You're not alone and I love you.
The most important purpose that we ALL have in life...is to simply LOVE. How we each choose to interpret that and implement it into our own lives, is a matter of choice...and what defines our individual lives as UNIQUE.
My own belief is that I should do all things with love...always. Granted, I'm no more perfect than anyone else and I have a tendency to lose sight of this when things get a little rough sometimes too. But there isn't any shame in picking yourself back up, brushing yourself off and trying again. Actually, it's quite the opposite. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to get back up and keep trying, despite obstacles and adversity. But we also need to remember, that it's all a work in progress.
Any choice or decision you make in life, as long as the underlying reason behind everything...is one motivated by love...how could it be wrong? Of course, nothing is ever as completely cut & dry as that. When we are dealing with choices that involve other people, it also involves their own philosophies and motivations...and unfortunately, some people are motivated by a multitude of other things that simply don't involve love in any way. And therein, lies the danger.
To be happy with ourselves and our own choices and lives...we need to have a firm grasp on our own beliefs and motivations...so start there.
Begin to explore those things you believe in...and why. Are they beliefs that truly belong to you, or were they something that someone else shoved in your face and said you should believe as true? It's important to recognize those things that are ours...first.
Afterwards, you should begin to define those things which are truly important to you in your life: people, places, things, feelings...whatever. Why are they important to you? Understanding this, is one of the key answers to establishing what is important in your life and surrounding yourself with those things...rather than those things that possess little or no value or weigh you down in some way.
Do you remember the signs in my house? The quotes you liked so much? This is the reason that I surrounded myself with them in the first place. Gentle reminders...to surround myself with things that are positive and to adopt that attitude for myself also.
Think about it...if you spend time with people who spew nothing but negativity...how long before it begins to rub off on you also? It's only a matter of time. People get stuck and frustrated every day. They give up or resign themselves to the idea that things will never change...and so, they never bother to try. Therein lies the difference. Here's the first quote for you to put on a plaque and display for yourself: "Be the change you wish to see in the world."
It all begins with us alone. It's not enough to want things to change or to sit idly by and hope that things will get better. You have to be actively involved in making that change, in ensuring that it will manifest. Start small. Nothing is so insignificant that it should be ignored. If it came to mind, it is probably of some importance to you and warrants your attention...even if it's simply to dismiss it as no longer important to you.
For instance, maybe you prefer to enjoy your morning coffee outside, while writing a journal entry each day...but you don't. Maybe because you wrestle with the thought that you really wouldn't know what to write anyway. Here's the thing: If it came to mind, there must be a reason, right? And it could be a relatively simple one. Perhaps, the mornings are peaceful and quiet and being outdoors at that time, brings you internal peace and gratification. Simply stated: It makes you happy.
But still...you hesitate. So, is it worth being initially uncomfortable if the end result brings about some sense of happiness? This is where you learn to prioritize and determine if it's worth it or not. You have to start somewhere...one baby step at a time.
So you decide, and maybe you determine that you will take your morning coffee outside, along with a notebook and simply begin. Determine that you will write for fifteen minutes, non-stop about whatever happens to come to mind...even if it's that 'this is the dumbest exercise I've ever done in my life.' The important part is that you took the initiative to start and there's something else about this exercise that is helpful also. It helps to clear the clutter at the start of each new day and sometimes, it may appear as if you are merely rambling on paper...but you're not.
There are a couple of helpful things to remember: 1) This journal is meant for your eyes alone...so there is no reason to edit what you write (You can always burn it later if you choose to) and 2) If you get into the habit of clearing the clutter each morning, a remarkable thing happens after a while. As you begin to sift through the pages of what you've written, you will discover what is most important to you. Those things which have a tendency to bother or frustrate you, will also emerge. This will help you with the self-inventory and prioritizing that I mentioned earlier. Although I used this exercise as an example, it is a tool which I found to be extremely helpful, particularly when spending so much time alone. It might be something you would like to try also.
Now getting back to finding our purpose in life. What I've written here, is my own philosophy on things and you might not agree. It doesn't really matter, because you don't have to agree, you simply have to assess your own beliefs and determine your own truth. It's all very personal and unique to each individual. I believe that when my life is over and I stand before the Creator, the only question that I will have to answer is "How much did I love"? And I know with complete certainty, that despite what anyone else thinks...I will be able to answer, "With ALL of my Heart." That is my truth, and my belief. The rest is enhancement and quality of life.
I also believe that we are all born with gifts in life, those that are tangible and those that are not. Part of our journey includes discovering what these gifts are and how to use them. I always wanted to touch souls somehow. I think that I am able to do this to some degree, through my art or writing, but mostly...I find myself in a position to simply listen and then speak from the heart. I believe that these are all gifts. For me, they fit what I believe my purpose is: To love, with all of my heart.
When I create a new art piece, it's a definite labor of love and it makes me feel good. Later, should someone else be moved by that same piece of art, I feel that on some level I have derived an emotion or connection and managed, to some degree, to touch their soul. Make sense? Confusing at times, I'm sure. But again, it's a very personal journey and no two are ever the same. But maybe now...you have a little better idea on where to start.
So, what are some of the things that make you happy? A couple of my own observations might be that you like animals, and you love your children, writing and laughing. So, what are some of the things you might DO to bring about more happiness in your life? What about volunteering at a shelter, working with children with special needs, writing in that journal or surrounding yourself with people or things that cause you to laugh or smile? Just things to ponder...
The important thing is that you begin to look more closely at where you derive happiness in your life. Be more patient and kinder to yourself. Too often, we criticize ourselves, far more harshly than we would ever consider criticizing others. Why? We deserve the same respect, don't we? We are not infallible, we make mistakes like anyone else, so don't we deserve the same understanding and forgiveness that we offer to others so readily?
We are often our own worst enemies, and we need to remember to be gentle with ourselves first. We put ourselves last in countless ways, and as parents, we are well aware of this truth. But just because something is so...doesn't necessarily make it right. How can we honestly extend understanding, compassion and love to others, without first, opening that gift for ourselves? And that, my friend...is probably the toughest assignment that any of us will ever have to explore. But it isn't out of the realm of things, it's just something that we haven't allowed ourselves to genuinely experience before. We can change that at any time, we simply need to determine that we are worth it...and before you even consider arguing otherwise...You ARE Worth It.
I know that I've probably given you countless things to think about already, but as long as you're on this path...why not start right now? Begin by being kinder to yourself, just a little each day. Do something completely for you...however small. Put some make-up on...just for you, because it makes you feel better...not because you necessarily plan on going anywhere. Go fishing. Take the day off. Bake those cookies you've been craving, or eat that candy bar...why not? Write in that journal you've been putting off or take your dog for a walk. What about making a card for your daughter and mailing it...just because? Pick yourself some flowers to brighten your surroundings or draw a silly cartoon that makes you smile. Look into the mirror...and simply smile at the gentle eyes looking back at you...and know, that there are others who love you too.
You are far stronger than you give yourself credit for. Already, you have experienced, conquered and surpassed, more than most in your lifetime. Despite what you might believe, you are loved beyond measure, and you deserve to be here. At this moment in time, know that you are precisely where you need to be. Begin with that and the rest will unfold as it should.
The most important point to remember here is that it all comes down to 'You.' What is it that makes you happy? What do you want? Who do you want to spend time with? It's irrelevant what anyone else wants or thinks...it's Your Life...not theirs. And of course, you're not going to have the answers overnight, none of us do.
Unfortunately, we rarely get to choose the timeframe for when & how things will occur in our lives, regardless of the sense of urgency. But we never give up and we never surrender...we continue to press forward, one baby step at a time. And at some point, when we look back over our shoulders, we realize that despite the slowness and confusion of things...we have managed to progress & continue on our path, despite the obstacles and adversity. When you are able to put things in their proper perspective, it's easier to differentiate and realize that we have grown stronger...perhaps in spite of ourselves.
Just remember that it's your choice...no matter what. The people who truly care about you, will continue to love you regardless of the choices that you make. If not, they're probably not your people. So, try not to get caught up in the inane crossfire of those who believe differently. Just be true to yourself, as you explore & discern your own path...and I'll be here if you need any friendly advice. Okay?
Have an absolutely wonderful day...You deserve it.