I can’t choose what life throws at me, but I can choose how I respond to it. No one can get into my head and tell me how to feel or how to act. Even though sometimes it feels like someone else is pulling the strings to make me act a certain way, ultimately it is up to me to take actions that I feel good about. I used to think that if someone said something that hurt me, I needed to try and change their behavior. I would use all my energy explaining to them why they were being hurtful. I would spin more and more out of control trying to convince them that their words or actions were wrong. I would spin myself into a place that I had no intention of being. I would become a person that I didn’t even recognize or want to be. I would be triggered and transformed by someone in an instant. Nothing would really be solved by my anger, but slowly I would calm down and cool off. I would get myself together and would tip toe back to my place of peace and balance and hold my breathe until someone else came along and knocked me down. This was a cycle. It was my cycle. Guess what? I can’t control other people! I am not an omnipotent being that can talk someone into changing their behavior so that it doesn’t hurt me, especially if they don’t want to change. I have wasted so many hours, days, weeks and years trying to convince people of my worth. Trying to convince them to treat me better so that I can feel better. In doing this, I wasn’t even aware of my own feelings, except that I was angry. What was behind my anger? Why was someone’s words or actions making me so angry? What button did they push to make me feel that I had to use all my energy to defend myself? I didn’t know. For me reacting with anger was a habit. I was so focussed on the other person I would never analyze my own feelings. But I have come to realize that my anger was protecting an opened wound within me. When others saw or touched my wound the pain was unbearable, so I would lash out at them like an injured animal. It was opened and bleeding because I wasn’t taking care of it and trying to heal it. I walked around for anyone to irritate it, but now I know that it wasn’t their fault. They were just pointing out the obvious that I didn’t want to see. They were bringing to my attention that I was bleeding all over the place but acting like everything was fine. What was I doing? I needed to stop distracting myself with alcohol and other things and take a look at my hurt. I needed to stop trying to hide my wound with anger, it wasn’t working anymore and honestly I don’t know if it ever did. There is no magic pill or a moment of revelation like the movies portray to all of a sudden make you feel better. Instead, it is a gut wrenching, unglamorous, soul search where I felt like shit most of the time. But I made the choice to do it anyway. The first step in my healing was acknowledging that I did indeed have an opened wound. The next step was to figure out how I got it, which meant going back to the scene of the crime. This was a hard step because I had to feel the pain of when I first got the wound. That pain was like an infection that would have never gone away if I didn’t feel it. Once the infection was taken out, I was able to start taking care of my wound. I cleaned it, was gentle with it, and I had professionals take a look. Slowly it started to heal and stop bleeding. I have a scar now that everyone can see and that will never go away. I will get hurt again, but I know now it is my responsibility to heal myself. I didn’t ask for, want or deserve the original wound but it happened, and now I must take care of it whether I like it or not. But now I show people my scar, and talk about it. It feels good to normalize it, and make it a part of who I am. Now I protect it from people that want to poke at it. This process has made me realize that I had the power all along to heal myself. The power that healed me was the same power that I had been pouring into others to try and change them. It is a beautiful, magical power that I will never take for granted again. Why had I given it away so recklessly for so long?