By Kenneth Stepp
What changes us? Frankly I believe many things do. Things we experience, events that happen, how others treat us, how we treat others. The list is unending. How do we control how we change? How much we change? This singles journey has all the above and then some. And yes, we change. I have experienced many positive changes in myself. Many I have experienced are pretty wonderful. I haven’t been truly angry in years. This by itself is awesome. I tend to be more patient, I am more understanding and almost never judge. These traits or changes are just a few that I have developed since becoming single. When my wife and I split up I was angry and hurt. I was angry because I felt I tried so hard to make us work. Of course, we couldn’t keep “us” together. Twenty four years down the divorce drain. And life would never be the same again. Now, like others on this journey, I struggle to be me, more than anything, I struggle to know who I am to be.
“Real isn’t how you are made, said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’
‘Does it hurt? asked the Rabbit.
‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’
‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’
‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.” – Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit
This is a story I quoted years ago. But it’s the perfect picture of what happens to us along the way. We become real because on what happens to us. More often than not, it involves pain, confusion, and feeling a bit left out. But is becoming real the real goal? It is for me. But there are moments when I fear that real is getting further away than it was before. I belong to The Overthinkers Club. This causes me to rehash my regrets and wonder what the real motives are of other people. These are traits I no longer want. I now know I must be hurt. I have been, check. But does it keep happening? It might. To become real, to be loved, we have to dive in with no defenses or walls. Many can’t do this. I pray I will always succeed at this. Yes, it’s risky. Yes, it’s scary. But I know what waits on the other side of that risk. She’s there. She may not be in the next one, or the next. But if I am to find her. I gotta be real. So does she. She has to take the same risk I do. No telling how many times she’s risked before. Will I be worth it? I have to give all of me to see. She must too. Scary stuff indeed. For me, I have to “do the next right thing” every day. To not know the future outcome is so frightening. It’s like driving a car in pitch dark without headlights. The outcome is unknown. But to get anywhere, we have to take that chance. Stay safe my friends. Don’t guard your heart too much.
“You cannot change your destination overnight. You can change your direction.—Jim Rohn ”