Something you need to know about me is that I can be a very all-or-nothing person. I’m either 100% in or 100% out. I’m either right about everything or wrong in every way possible. I am either perfect, or I am horrible. I have always been this way and I am not convinced that I can fully explain why. Maybe it’s because I grew up in an environment where I felt I needed to prove myself, guilty until proven innocent. Maybe it’s because I grew up in a family that had multiple black or white thinkers. This isn’t a bad thing, it is what was modelled for me and, clearly, it is the way I learnt to think.
Regardless of how I came to be this way, I have been rethinking this mindset constantly lately. It was something I used to be proud of, I was a people pleaser you see, a ‘yes man.’ I was only as good or worthy as my last attempt at something. A successful attempt equalled a successful version of myself. A failed attempt equalled a failed version of myself. On top of that, my identity largely depended on the good (or bad) opinion of others. I thought that this was healthy, that I was pushing myself to be the best version of myself and I should be proud of that. I couldn’t see, or I chose not to see, how harsh this way of thinking has been on my brain.
I see it as if I always have to be in winter or summer. I am either feeling desolate, alone and stripped bare - lacking self-worth and self-empathy, the winter version of myself. Or I am feeling on top of the world, proud of my success and wishing certain moments and feelings, would never leave - the summer version of myself. When I am in winter, I forget that summer exists, forget that I was ever worthy. When I am in summer, I forget the winter moments that got me to this point, forget that it’s my losses that enable my wins.
I have decided I don’t want to be living in a constant see-saw of winter and summer anymore. What I really want is to live in the spring season. You see, spring has some days that are colder than others, and some days that are warmer. Some days there is sun, some days there are clouds, the difference is simply this - the change is not one of magnitude. It is slow, gradual, beautiful and full of blossoming new life.
Maybe you’re a bit like me. Swinging between winter and summer, let me encourage you to find spring within it all. Embrace the in-between, embrace the new things that will be birthed in this season.
Voices of Hope wants you to know that you do not have to do this alone. Click here to 'find help' - it's not weak to speak!