I'm sitting up tonight thinking about some conversations I've had in the last several months. A couple of them were with people I love very much and one was today with a complete stranger. The conversation topics were different for all three people, but the feelings behind them were very much the same. They all felt completely helpless to make a major change in their lives that they knew would help them lead happier and healthier lives.
I sit through these conversations listening, and, of course, being a person who really believes that in order to survive even the most hostile environment, you have to adapt. If you don't, you end up sinking into the quicksand. Adaption is your rope to safety. These people know that, too. But it's like they've given up. They're lying down and just flailing in the sand. And I feel two ways about it. On one hand there's a desperation and sadness, mostly for the two people I love, but with the stranger, I threw my hands up. She's making a choice to victimize herself. I figure you either get out of the fire or you burn.
Is it a lack of self-esteem? Is it biological? What makes someone repeatedly choose behaviors that they know will kill them? Where did their lust for life go?
I've made some pretty terrible errors in judgment in my lifetime. I've learned some pertinent lessons from each and every one of those situations. I'm not perfect. But the older I get, the more I start to see the triumph in just surviving the crap that life gives you. It sweeps in, knocks you over, and you claw your way up. Then, at least this is the way my life goes, it sweeps in and immediately knocks you on your ass again, over and over and over and over. What happens after the 453rd time it knocks you down and you decide you're not getting up any more? Are you tired? Injured? Depressed? What gets us up and what keeps us down?
I know there are many times when I wanted to stay down. I know I've been an enemy to myself on many occasions with my self doubt, negative speak and worse. Strangely, through all that experience, I never quite got how I could help someone else see themselves in a different light. Part of me understands that they have to make that kind of self-discovery on their own. It can't be taught or provided by someone else.
And I'm sad that I know so many people who appear to be in the same deep holes right now, and that even though I can listen and love, there's not much else I can do, except hope that they begin to see themselves the way the people who love them see them.