I’m Still Alive, or Dealing with Disappointment

When you fall, there's nothing you can do except to stand up and move on.Like any millennial, the first thing I do upon waking up is to log on to the Internet to check my emails and my Facebook feed. One particular morning, I chanced upon John Maxwell’s status update, wherein he shared a quote from Robert Anthony: “When you blame others, you give up your power to change.”

I don’t usually pay attention to inspirational quotes I find on my Facebook feed; too many of my FB friends love sharing them, and the constant bombardment has made me indifferent. But this particular quote struck me like a slap to the face. It’s the Universe giving me a wakeup call.

Disappointment leads to doubt; doubt is a killer pill.

You see, I have been living with severe disappointment for a good part of the year. Last May, one of our own betrayed me and my mother. His actions created trouble for my family and had dire consequences for me. I had been enjoying a good start to this year. My freelance writing business was doing well, and so were the personal side projects I had taken on. One event changed everything – it sunk me into a mire of bitter disappointment, a mire from which I couldn’t get out.

Anyone who has suffered betrayal at the hands of someone they love knows it is extremely difficult to describe the pain they have to bear as a result. You don’t have the energy to get up in the morning. You’re too wired to fall into deep sleep at night. You become physically and emotionally exhausted. And your mind gets filled with questions there are no answers to: Why did he do this to me? How can I get out of this mess? What have I done to deserve this?

What have I done to deserve this?

That one question is the hardest to face. Severe disappointment arising from someone’s betrayal tends to put everything you have believed about yourself in a different light.

You begin to doubt yourself. I have tried my best to be good and have, to my knowledge, not done anyone wrong. But I must have because this ugly thing happened to me.

You begin to doubt your actions. My mind tells me this is the right decision to make, but I am not so sure anymore. What if this gets me into more trouble? I can’t handle any more.

Most of all, your doubts cloud your judgment. You spend too much time thinking of what you should do that it gets you extremely tired and weary that you have to think of these things at all. And yet, despite that much time and effort spent thinking, you end up making the wrong choices anyway because you no longer believe 100% in yourself.

When you blame others, you give up your power to change.

The blame game makes no winners.

As I mentioned earlier, my freelance writing business was doing well at the start of the year. I had a stable of regular clients, and I had some new business coming in. As a result of the emotional fatigue and the self-doubt, my business sort of went into free-fall. I pissed off a couple of regular clients who became dissatisfied with my output. I stopped taking in new business because I barely had the energy to take care of the clients I already have.

I have set financial goals at the start of the year. Obviously, I am not going to meet any of those goals by yearend. Not to mention the fact I have bills to pay that won’t go away no matter how hard I try to ignore them.

But instead of looking at my actions as the reason why my business began declining, I played the blame game.

It was his fault, not mine.

I am blameless. This shouldn’t be happening to me at all.

But am I really blameless? Of course I’m not. I’m not a puppet with someone else pulling my strings. It was I who let myself be overwhelmed by my anger and my hurt. It was I who neglected my responsibilities to my clients and let them down.

I was betrayed by someone close to me. The resulting disappointment was very hard to bear. Those were my circumstances. But the way I acted as a result of those circumstances was entirely my own. I am not blameless at all.

When you fall, there’s nothing you can do except to stand up and move on.

If there’s any person out there who can drag me out of the mess I’m in, that person is none other than me. Me, myself, and I. It took me many long months to get my head out of the fog and shake myself out of limbo, but it’s better late than never. I’m never going to get the time I lost back, but I can at least take some positive action to get myself out of the mess I’m in, even if it was not my mess to begin with. I’ve decided to own it and clean it up myself. No one else is going to do it for me.

Don’t get me wrong. I am still angry. And while I love this person who gave me this heartache, I still have a long way to go towards forgiving him.

And you know what? It’s okay to be angry. It’s okay not to forgive if you’re not yet willing to forgive. The right moment for that will come, if it will come.

But I can’t be what I have been in the last few months – a dark cloud eager to rain on someone’s parade, a whiny little b*tch. I’ve been a trial to my parents and siblings and the Significant Other. I’m not that kind of person. It has to end.

It’s okay to be angry. I am. It’s okay not to want to forgive. I don’t – not yet, at least. But it’s not okay to let your anger and bitterness rule you. So I am setting aside my anger and my pain. It’s time to stand up and move on. I’m taking back my power to change.

Image: Flickr.com | Sean MacEntee


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Anna Sibal-Gonzaga is a freelance writer based in the Philippines. She likes reading books and watching movies and TV shows in the sci-fi, fantasy and historical genres. She is also a casual gamer and an all-around nerd.

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