Don’t let your past define you – a post from 2018

Dear FutureMe,

Today is May 28th, 2018, and it is wet, cold, and cloudy outside.

It will have been 14, 12, and 9 years ago respectively since you all passed away. We were left alone, abandoned, and hopeless. And when we thought we would have relatives or family to shoulder on, no one was there. No, instead we were told we were the reasons why they died, that we were the reasons our parents didn’t raise us well. I never forgot.

But here I am, after so many years, still alive and pushing forward. I’ve shed many tears, endured many hopeless nights, and anguished in so much pain. I thought about ending my life on more than a few occasions because the pain was too much.

And yet, here I am.

In the last decade, I’ve had friendships sour, learned new skills, got married, and took on mixed martial arts (and competed). I thought I had some good connections, made friends at work, and thought I was doing right by the company. Yet, I was still laid off.

And yet, here I am.

To FutureMe, life will suck. It will continue to beat you down, shove you into the corner, and wail at you till you break. But you won’t give in, just like in the gym, regardless of the pain, the blood, the broken bones. You need to see this through, no matter how much life throws at you.

You will cry, be sad, and feel alone. But you will come out of this. And you will try to be a better person for yourself and love the people you currently have in your life.

Remember, life will always suck. But stay happy, be strong, and fight forward. Enjoy the small moments, let it soak in.

And remember, most of all, be yourself. Be happy.

Future You

In 2012, I wasn’t sure where I would be, whether I would still be working, whether I would be alive. Where was my future?

It was, to some extent, a grim reality. So much happened in a such a short amount of time.

But when I thought about where I would go and what I could be, I thought, “Maybe….”

Today, I run a business, have a family and volunteer.

I would not have guaranteed you this would have happened.

But in 2012, I tried to look out 20-30 years and where I would go. I tried to think about what my future would entail.

This was enough for me to get up and try to change myself.

And for you, you can do the same.

We can do it. Together.

Try to think about your future self, the future you.

When you do, you’ll live life differently – with fulfillment.

The future you. My future.

When you love yourself, others will love you too.

TL;DR – when you love yourself, others will love you too.

You might ask, “What does that even mean?”.

I know, in some peculiar sense it doesn’t make sense. Why would we love ourselves if others don’t. Why me? Why should I care?

Because when we love ourselves, we find purpose. We understand how to help others, how to love others, how to care for others. We find reason.

It’s human nature – and in some sense part of life – to face difficult challenges in our lives. There are (too many) times where we’re faced with life’s problems, and we don’t have direction. What if I don’t achieve my goals? What if I fail? What if….

And I agree. There are no simple answers. All that we can do is put our best foot forward, wear one shoe at a time, and gear up to face our fears and challenges.

This is what allows us to overcome our demons, our battles and our fears. We realize after facing these these challenges that nothing else could be worse.

For those who may have lost loved ones or who battled extreme trauma in their lives understand this. And if you haven’t, you may have experienced in other ways (e.g. volunteering).

It’s at these moments we manifest ourselves, our characters. We find out that we want to take care of others, and that means first taking care of ourselves.

We must love ourselves.

When we begin to love ourselves, and we tell ourselves that we matter, life finds meaning.

It’s the long game though. One day at a time.

Rather than feeling sad about the things we haven’t done, be happy and fortunate for the things you have accomplished. There’s always something.

Remember you were scared of attending that workshop because of your fear of meeting new people? What’s to lose? Give it a shot :).

It’s calming to know others have been through our suffering

We’re not alone. It may feel like it at times, but be assured there’s someone out there we can speak with, to both sympathize and empathize with.

So love yourself, and others will too. We’re right there with you.