What did you do?!
I swear before I started intentionally working on my well-being, I gave an excuse every time someone asked me the question above. I would find a way to bullshit my answer so that it seemed I was doing something when I was not doing anything.
I was too ashamed to tell people who I cared about that I was suffering and feeling lost. I felt like the world has shunned me and I had no purpose for living. I spent an entire year and probably even more time feeling unworthy.
I was battling unhappiness, anxiety, fear, and a mindset that almost sent me straight to the bottom of my life. I was unhappy because I felt like my life had no meaning because I didn’t have a degree. I had anxiety because people would constantly ask when am I going to finish my degree.
I had to walk around with a default answer that would change based on who was asking me this question. You see most of the people that I care about all have degrees.
Now society dictates that we do things certain in a prescribed method and in doing so we become fixated on linear progression.
I had the fear that my life would not amount to much because I did not own my higher education certificate. To be honest, I still have fears.
I value the institution of learning and paying the school fees that are needed to build my life. I value conversations that are informed by just not my thinking but the perspective of well-respected individuals.
The fear had my emotions tied up in a series of knots. I would wake up one day feeling better and think to myself I’m in a better place. It would take one comment, one demoralizing thought and I would go back crashing down to the pits of self-loathing and unworthiness.
I kept my feelings locked up because no one around understood them (damn, I didn’t understand them). It felt good to live in the pits of my feelings and just put on a brave face for the real world.
I don’t need to tell you where my mindset was at but I was a gone boy. I was ready to give up on life and all my talents because I made myself a victim.
I allowed my parents, friends, colleagues, and many more people to be an influence on how I viewed the completion of my degree. I consider myself to be a strong person but I can tell you now, this part of my life stripped my strength away.
I was vulnerable and broken. I didn’t know better so I couldn’t do better.
So what did I do to get out of the pits of condemnation, victimization, and unworthiness?
It took a lot for me to change my mindset. It was such a grueling experience that I had cut off some people including my beloved friends.
It started when I was asked, what did YOU DO?
Here’s the thing, no one tells that you are a problem.
I went for a whole year blaming so many people for how I felt but really what I needed to do was, to tell the truth. I needed to tell myself the truth.
I was responsible for my happiness. I could not control what people said to me but I sure as hell was responsible for how I reacted to it.
I did not know this nor did I know that I had a choice in everything that happened in my life. I had a very narrow view of life. I believed talent was enough to get you by and that I needed my degree to matter.
I needed this accolade so that I could be accepted by my parents, friends, and society at large. I had big plans so I needed all my affairs to be in order.
I can’t tell you how many tears I had to hold back when I spoke to my mom about this topic. The amount of anger had to suppress because my dad is old school and only knows one way of raising a child.
I understand that my parents were disappointed but nothing was more hard-hitting than being asked, what did I do?
I can tell you now that I have fought many battles and won. I have smashed presentations and I have impressed many people but never have I been so lost when I asked what did I do to save myself.
It’s not my fault, I’m not strong enough, I hate my parents, no one understands me, and I don’t have any talents so I don’t feel special.
I don’t like my body, I don’t appreciate my partner, I have trouble sleeping, and I just don’t have time (I’m too busy).
It doesn’t matter who caused you pain or who stomped on your emotions. It doesn’t matter what your boss doesn’t appreciate your efforts. It doesn't matter that you wish you were raised by different parents.
It happened and now you have to clean up the mess. No, it wasn’t your fault but it is your responsibility.
I’d like to say that God saved my life but to be honest I saved my life. I owned my mistakes and felt the pain of failing at something. I had a hard conversation with myself so I could tell myself the hard truths.
It matters that you are well physically.
It matters that you are well mentally.
It matters that you are well with your soul.
It matters that you have an unshakable mindset.
It matters because you matter. You matter because you are responsible for your life. You are not your mistakes and you can change. You just need to change your mindset.
I don’t know what you are going through and who you are blaming for your problems.
My only question is, what you are going to do save your life?!