Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The First Step

Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

There are many reasons why people hesitate to take the first step. Fear of the unknown freezes some, fear of failure stops others, and more than a few let fear of success keep them from taking any steps at all. Fright feels the same whatever inspires it, but knowing what produces a fear makes it much easier to overcome.
If my footsteps faltered every time I could not clearly see the path ahead I would be in a constant state of stumble. When in doubt, I keep my eyes on the prize and let faith of its value lead me forward. I know my goal is just; if it cannot keep me on the right path then nothing ever will. Trusting in it has been the easy part. Trusting in myself has been much harder.
The way you view yourself is the light in which others see you too. When you put your pain forward they see you as a victim and use compassion as the base they build their opinion on. If they see you heal their opinion rises as you grow, if they see you wallow endlessly then their opinion lowers. We control how others view us whether we admit it or not so the first step to changing that is altering how we view ourselves. We are not what happens to us, but we are a direct product of our reaction to whatever occurs to or around us. Shit happens, but that does not mean you have to sit in it.
People who wear their pain like armor need to rethink the way they dress themselves. Look at how old it is, chances are it belongs to a time long past and the only one still dressed for that era is you. There is a lot to be said for that old saying...laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone. The masses will share your tears for a minute or two, but sob endlessly and you better bring your own tissue.
I let overcoming pain be the billboard I decorate for public consumption. I do not seek pity; hell I want none of that emotion that only encourages the weak to stay weak. Self pity is worse yet. When you take a dose of that you make yourself impotent by default. And saying you cannot un-learn a self destructive trait just insures that will be the case. Tell yourself what you want others to tell you and soon it will be precious fact.
Say you are capable and you will be. Say you are not and guess what? Say you deserve more and you will look for it. Tell yourself to settle for crumbs and crummy you will remain. The only way you can grow in strength is to build yourself up. Other people may help steady you between steps, but if you think for one minute anyone is going to carry you up more than a few you are thinking like a fool.
Every destination has its own path. If you expect to end up at a place of happiness then get off the unhappy trail. Once you admit that you will own all the blame if you continue traveling down Dreary Lane, it ceases to matter who put you there. An easy way to see if you are on the right path is to check for debris. The road to happiness is littered with piles of discarded pain, and misery. The road to regret is litter free because it is a requirement of travel that you carry whatever burdens brought with you. Check your path then change it if need be.