Sometimes, things happen in our lives that temporarily suspend our ability to think straight. People we most value do us wrong, leaving us bewildered and betrayed. Intoxicated with our desperation to alleviate the anger and hurt they caused, we find ourselves making unhealthy choices, compromising the values we grew up with. We end up acting on our heightened emotions with little inhibition. We forget that wanting to cause pain to people who hurt us will do nothing to ease our own pain.
In time, the dust settles. The shock, pain and anger dissipate. We sober up, and as our head clears, so does our perspective. We become acutely aware of the things we shouldn’t have said and done. By then, it’s too late to take back or undo them. As consequences begin to besiege us, there is nothing we can say to excuse or justify any of it.
And then the lessons come. We look back at every move we made and lament on what we should’ve-would’ve-could’ve done instead. We think of the people we unwittingly involved. People we hurt simply because they were in the way of our tornado of feelings. People we took for granted while we were so focused on ourselves.
With those lessons come realizations. We see the situation for what it is—so much less complicated and fearsome than we imagined. As our flaws and vulnerabilities get exposed, we also begin to see people for who they are—the ones merely waiting in the wings for the delight of seeing us fall, the ones only in it for entertainment, and the ones who love, forgive and stand by us through everything.
The sad reality is, lessons come with pain and difficulty. The beautiful truth is, they also come with hope and choice. Apart from seeking forgiveness, there are two things we can do when we make mistakes. We can wallow in self-pity and regret, allow ourselves to be hindered and condemned by fellow human beings who forget that we are all fallible, that we have all done things we’re not proud of, that we all have skeletons in the closet and the only difference is we no longer have to hide or be afraid of ours.
Or we can make the choice to forgive ourselves, rise above it all and move forward. To realize that our exposure is a chance to acknowledge our mistakes, then do things differently so we don’t ever repeat them. To show how who we once were, does not define who we are and who we can be. To embrace the hope each day brings, wipe our slate clean and get ourselves a brand new start.
When we can be at peace with our past, gratitude sets in. Not just for the happy times or the people who have been good to us. We begin as well to appreciate the pain we once rejected and the persons who caused it. We realize that they have actually given us a gift: that of freeing us from fear, of leaving us forced to fight our monsters, of helping us find great things within ourselves that we wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. We come out of it with newfound courage and wisdom, ready to once again begin.
Everything and everyone changes, and to refuse to accept this is to refuse to grow. Nothing is ever stationary or static. Even for a tree planted firmly on the ground, seasons give way to seasons: from being abloom, its leaves shed and its flowers wilt, and just when it seems resigned to staying barren for good, its bloom is renewed—each full circle a transition from stagnation to growth. The same holds true for all of us. Each “death” is a mere “passing on” to a new and more fulfilling life, if only we embrace it.
Dress from Bangkok, maxi skirt from The Catwalk. Freshlook Illuminate one-day contact lenses from Sarabia Optical Rockwell. Lookbook // Chictopia