I Promise My Story Gets Happier (but it’s ok if that takes some time)
by Anna Ervin
“I get paid again in three days,” I think to myself as the noises around me condense into a low hum, “and that should be enough to cover bills and groceries, but what about gas? … can’t forget to find a dog sitter for those Saturday events… do I have anything to wear for work—”
My thoughts are interrupted by the sound of my own name. “Anna? Are you okay?” My mom is staring back at me, confusion and concern flood her expression. She’s been telling me about a conversation she had with, well… I couldn’t actually tell you. I’ve been dissociating like this for weeks now. As hard as I try, I can’t seem to focus my attention on whatever’s happening right in front of me. My mind is clouded with anxieties bigger than I have ever imagined for myself.
I have been avoiding my friends and family, isolating myself for fear of disappointing those I love as I find myself seemingly stuck in this lower vibration. The notifications on my phone begin to stack up as weeks go by and I haven’t quite found the courage to open them— is it ever the right time to come up with an authentic and thoughtful response? Not being able to be a patient, mindful, and present companion for my friends and family makes me wonder if I deserve them at all.
The fear and concern that I have adopted over the problems in my life are now seeping into my relationships, the way I communicate with the world, and more importantly, the way I communicate with myself.
I don’t write this to look for sympathy or make excuses for myself, but to be honest about a chapter of my life that hasn’t been quite as eloquently written as many of the others. I know that I can’t go on like this forever, and I think that a truthful analysis of where I find myself today is a good place to begin shifting the narrative.
This isn’t easy for me, I typically try to focus my attention on the positive energies in my life, and I think that this character trait has served me well in a lot of ways. When gratitude is the focal point of my perception, I’ve noticed that I manifest more abundance. However, that gratitude has to be genuine, and in hindsight I’m beginning to question whether it has been recently.
Life threw a series of major shifts my way this year. Through everything, I think I was so hell-bent on focusing on whatever felt happy and safe that I glazed over crucial pieces of my journey that begged for tenderness and healing— pieces that required a little more bravery and depth.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not implying that a positive mindset isn’t courageous. At certain times in my life, looking for something positive in my reality felt like the most empowering thing I could do for myself or those around me. In those moments, I recognized the need for that mindset through self-awareness. At other times, though, that same awareness has invited me to take a closer look at some of my darker feelings, and I haven’t always embraced the challenge. Lately I have made a bad habit of ignoring those feelings, which has inherently led to an even nastier habit of allowing my focus to drift away from the present moment and into some inauthentic, fairytale reality.
This lack of awareness has caused a mountain of problems in my life to pile up around me as I have allowed myself to tiptoe around them, focusing solely on the glimpses of light I might find in their valleys. But as the mountains grow bigger, the light that reaches those valleys becomes sparse. I realize that now, the most abundant light exists on the peaks that surround me, those that will require a lot of dedication and hard work to reach.
I think I’m not alone in feeling that sometimes the whole self-help/self-love movement tends to focus more on “love and light” than the dark, scary shadow work that is sometimes required for deeper healing. I know I’ve been guilty of this in my own writing at times. The uncomfortable truth is that in order to embody the highest versions of ourselves, we have to be able to acknowledge the darkness just as much as the light. Finding a way to balance the two as our lives constantly shift into new planes of reality is half of the challenge.
I think that for me, taking accountability for the role I play in my own healing looks like moving through life with a lot more intention. Rather than making gratitude and positivity my sole focus and mission in my life (which I now realize became a bit of a reactive tactic I used to avoid difficult feelings) I’m now shifting my mindset to one of unconditional awareness, and challenging myself to sit with my observations, no matter how uncomfortable they may be.
Affirmations + Journal Prompts:
I acknowledge and lovingly release feelings of inadequacy, fear, and frustration.
I maintain a mindful awareness of all of the feelings my soul is asked to process on this journey.
I embody my most authentic truth.