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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Not A Happy Accident

Any repeat reader of Shell Shock Serenade will notice after a short period of time that I can appear to be really hard on myself. I wrote a post earlier today where I referred to my (old self) as manipulative, mean-spirited, angry, resentful amongst other things. I was pointing out areas in my life and character defects that I specifically needed to work on. Using this type of language about one's self often makes people (readers) uncomfortable as well as making me uncomfortable. Plus it can be a slippery slope for a guy who suffered from a terrible dose of low self-esteem bordering on self-hatred.

I cannot fall into a trap where I start feeding into that attitude and self-image again. But when you blog about subjects like I do (starting over, changing one's behavior, life transformation) it is important to accurately describe the "before" scene of the before and after scenario. It is impossible to illustrate true change if you don't really know where a person once came from.

But feels hurtful and uncomfortable to realize that I am writing about a real person and that person was me. In this scenario it is also critically important to show where things are today, how the changes that were made have impacted me up until now and how it will continue to be a positive growth situation.

In that post I am writing about my search for isn't an easy journey for me. So many of my past behaviors and character defects conspire to work against against me...but that is where faith, hard work and persistence come in. It was during the early days of this search for change that I realized that it was also important who I associated with. It began to make more sense to spend time with people who could understand, relate to my struggles and share their experience, strength and hope with me.

That really has made a difference. Same with my overall spiritual journey. For a couple years I would say that I was a spiritual person but didn't need to go to church, like I was somehow above that. Granted I had some deep-seated suspicion about church and organized religion. I basically stumbled into the scenario I am in today with a church and church family. A happy accident, perhaps? Huh...No, I don't believe for a second it was any accident. 

But the relationships I have made there have been critical in my continued spiritual growth. I really depend on the support of my church family and they happily give it. It has really made a difference in my daily life and has encouraged me in turn to reach out and help others who also have needs. A great experience for a person who struggled at times with relationships. I feel much more comfortable in my own skin...just being Thom.

So even though it appears I am tearing myself down when I list such negative aspects of my life, there is a very specific and positive reason for doing so. It illustrates the incredible growth and change that is possible when you commit to change and follow through. It also demonstrates the power of faith...laugh if you like, I surely would have at one time but for me this really demonstrates the power of the Spirit and the Creator.

So I have found it can be a necessary evil at times to list the unpleasant aspects of my past to more clearly illustrate the incredibly dramatic way my life has  changed...and I think the trade off is more then worthwhile.

(Painting by Winslow Homer)