There comes a time in everyone’s life when we are faced with a crisis in our identities. Who is that looking at me in the mirror? A question that I have asked myself more in the recent years than ever before in my life. Somewhere along the way, I took a wrong turn and inevitably was faced with a decision that would change my life forever. Fight to take my life back from the demons of my PTSD or just give up and let things run their course? In these life-defining moments, we come to a crossroads in our self-identity and it can confuse anybody to the point of becoming helplessly lost. Luckily, I chose to fight.
I chose to fight the way I have been forced to fight for everything I’ve ever gotten in this life.
My mother got pregnant with me when she was 16 years old and from the moment she gave birth, placed blame on me for ruining her life. Needless to say, I grew up with a major complex and some serious abandonment issues. She was something that resembled a prostitute and traded sexual favors to get whatever she wanted in the moment—but was usually paid in money. This lasted until she had her third child at twenty-one. I remember bouncing from motel to motel as we tried to find a place to sleep for the night. The rest of my childhood wasn’t even close to something that could be referred to as a “childhood.” I watched many men come in and out of our lives and it was always their fault for the short stay, at least that was what our mother told us. I believe this was when the PTSD and issues with my identity formed, but the effects wouldn’t rear their ugly presence until after a 16-month deployment to Afghanistan with the 82nd Airborne in 2007. Following this deployment, I began suppressing all that I had been through by “self-medicating” with alcohol.
Self-medicating is very common in people who are tormented with PTSD and it took hold of me full force. After many years, two divorces, a DWI, medical retirement from the Army and the ultimate betrayal by my mother, I had finally reached my breaking point. The night I broke is one I can’t even remember. I destroyed my home and at the same time, nearly every relationship in my life. I chased off the people who had attempted to pull me from my blind rage leaving them scared to death of who they saw wearing my skin. When I woke up in a pile of broken furniture and an empty house I attempted to put together the fragments of the night before that I could remember. In a state of shock and confusion, I found myself standing in front of a bathroom mirror and I was faced with that question. Fight to take my life back from the demons of my PTSD or just give up and let things run their course towards a self-destructive ending?
That was the moment I started on my journey to find that man I had once respected and who I loved seeing on the other side of the glass.
As I started laying the foundation for my new path towards the goals that I wanted for myself, I came to the realization I couldn’t fight at my best with the weight of alcohol holding my strength at bay. I vowed to myself that from that day forward I would never touch another drop of alcohol. I have been sober over three years now and I’ve done it completely on my own. Now, my case is a rare one and I always encourage people to seek treatment. Although, I didn’t get help with my sobriety, I have taken part in over ten different sobriety programs throughout my lifetime. So, I used everything that I had learned from the groups I had participated in.
Strength can be found in numbers.
I am only sharing what worked for me, but anything you have to do to get where you need to be is absolutely wonderful because you are making changes to better yourself. I had gone through so much and made it through everything alone, so why couldn’t I do this too? (Was my thought process). When you realize your weaknesses and place your focus on strengthening them instead of only building on your strengths you will eventually come to a point of balance that is inconceivable.
As my weaknesses began to lose their value to sabotage me they began to fade from existence. I found the stepping stones that had been inside me all along now filled the gap where I had once placed other’s opinion of who I should be.
I began to love myself again.
When you don’t love yourself, all you have is the love from others, and in the end you should be able to rely on yourself for your needs. Once you reach this point, everyone else’s love becomes a benefit instead of a necessity and will grant you a higher appreciation for the connection we all need to feel human.
Through meditation and soul searching, I found that everything I had gone through only had power over my emotions in the deepest parts of my subconscious where the ego doesn’t exist. Our egos are the “masks” we all wear to protect our inner emotional fears like rejection and what others think of us. Everyone has one, but most never take the “mask” off, which causes them to lose the knowledge of who they actually are. If you see yourself only through your ego, happiness will lose it’s luster because it’s just a “sense” of happiness and not “true” happiness. Now that I have discovered the secret to unlock my Alpha state, the state of operating in one’s highest potential, instead of creating a false sense of self through an ego, I had to share it with as many people as possible. I started my company, so I could do just that. I have helped people find the inner strength we all carry inside our weaknesses because I have discovered this is where our inner drive and beautiful uniqueness dwells. Once it’s unlocked, you will become the person you were born to be and in turn you will find that familiar reflection you have been chasing your entire life. The answer to true happiness lives within each of us and I can help you unleash it as I have done for myself and many others.
One step at a time.
I will leave you with three gentle steps you can take to check where you’re at emotionally and to prove to yourself that you are ready for change. These are the three that I do at least once a day and all it takes is a mirror and some honesty. Now that you’re standing in front of that mirror I want you to take a second and look yourself over. Analyze yourself and not just in a physical way.
Truly look at yourself the way you would look at someone you admire.
I call this the “Mirror Gut-check.” Now that you have looked yourself over, I want you to look into your eyes and say these three little words—“I love you”. It may sound crazy, but if you can say it and mean it then you are doing much better than most. It’s taken me a long journey to find the ability to believe the person in the mirror. Now that you have done this, your mind is probably racing with the thoughts of why you don’t believe that you love yourself, and that is okay, I promise. Ready for the next step? Pick something holding you back from believing in yourself. It’s time for change! Still in the mirror, I want you to make a promise to yourself. A promise you should hold dear to your heart. For starters, try changing something small and it can be physical or emotional. It can be something as simple as a promise to stop hitting the snooze button in the morning or cutting something from your diet for a day. Once you follow through with a promise to yourself, no matter how big or small, it will grant you more trust in yourself. Trusting in your ability to change something you find as a weakness will make the first step easier the next time you look into that mirror. Last but not least, the third step I want you to do is to give back to yourself. This can be in the form of a treat,so to speak. What is something you love to do and that makes you happy? Take at least 15 to 20 minutes during the day to do that one thing and that one thing only. I know for most of us this seems impossible because we spend so much time on other tasks like work or taking care of others, but it is imperative to take the time to start making yourself happy.
Fifteen to twenty minutes can be found or created, so don’t accept any reasons not to complete this step.
These three little steps will start to transform your perception of yourself and perception makes up over two-thirds of our reality. How you identify yourself among the rest in the world has the most profound effect on each of our emotions. Changing your perception takes a lot of work but it can be done. By doing so you will see that nothing that happens in life can’t be overcome. I have been through more in this life than anyone I have met up to this point and I can tell you from experience that without the strength found in myself I would’ve crumbled a long time ago. It is a daily battle, but like anything worth having in life it is work that will become habitual and over time you won’t even notice that you’re doing it anymore. Happiness and self-fulfillment will be integrated into your very being to the point that you won’t even realize the amount of work you are putting into it. Fulfill your dreams. Walk with me, learn about the tools with me. You can take your life back.
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