Soul searching. It’s an important part of personal growth. So I sit here, in Caribou Coffee, parked at a table beside two middle aged men speaking Italian doing precisely that. Soul searching. Now, honestly, I’m slightly distracted by the fact that two years of college Italian and two trips to Italy have paid off and I can decipher that their conversation loosely covers their extended family back in Italy, a heated divorce and college tuition. Hmmm.
I usually don’t soul search in a coffee shop. It’s interesting, really. The one place where, regardless of who you are, nobody cares that you’ve plopped your butt in front of a computer screen, in public, for hours on end. Even the public library limits your hours plugged in.
Back to soul searching. Instinctively, I shut off, pulling into an unbreakable shell, just as a turtle does in the face of danger. I’m not one to reach out. I move inward, cope alone. Of course, this always ends in ruin. It ends in anxiety attacks, blood pressure spikes, mood swings… you get the idea.
This week I tried something different. I reached out. Granted, I waited until my anxiety levels crashed through the roof. I talked. I listened. I was honest to myself. I took deep breaths. I listened some more. I refocused.
And it worked.
I created a new mantra. Be brave, find your courage. Positive thoughts are the best medicine for depression and worry. I’m depression’s biggest critic. After all, what more is depression than a gigantic pity party, thrown by none other than yourself? And nobody wants to hang around a pity party.
It was a long week. A hard week. A week of highs and lows and rollercoaster corkscrews. You know, the part of the ride where you fly upside down, over and over again. But, I wasn’t alone. I found a voice in the words of my family. They centered my thoughts, refocused my energies and held me up.
It was a good lesson. It may not come naturally to me, the queen of hiding in my shell in the face of danger. Still, it worked. In the calming words of a phone call with my mom. In the warmth of Alex’s hand, gripping mine. In the reassuring words of my dad who reminds me that I know the right thing to do. In the text messages from my best friends.
It doesn’t matter what caused my stress and anxiety. What matters is that I learned an invaluable lesson this week. Bravery and courage come from facing troubles dead in the face. They come from owning up to your faults, your mistakes, your flaws. They come from lessons learned. This is how we soul search. This is how we grow. This is the stuff that makes us into beautiful people.
*Filed under Personal Life*