by Sheldonn Halsted
Before you get into this amazing blog piece I want to introduce you briefly to its author, Sheldonn. This crazy life I’m living has lead me to a place where I spend a LOT of time online forging relationships and making new friends. This guy is one of the best I’ve come across – as authentic and genuine as they come – so when he asked for some help editing his incredible piece I of course lept at the opportunity! I am beyond THRILLED that he has given me the honour of allowing me first, to have access to his thoughts, and now to share his finished piece with you here. I sincerely hope that this will not be a one-off guest posting for him! Thank you, my friend! It has been an absolute treat working with you!
And now, with no further ado ladies and gentlemen, I give you: Becoming You! by Sheldonn Halsted
Life isn’t easy; I don’t believe it’s supposed to be! No, I think that the harder life is, the more we can gain from it. That FAILURE is one of the greatest teachers we have!
Think about it: how mundane would life be if everything was just handed to you. I mean, sometimes that definitely sounds good! But if life is about learning, and I believe it is, then being given success with no struggle is just boring! Without failure we don’t learn how to actually live. Hardships and trials are imperative along the road to finding ourselves and creating the persons we want to become.
We just need to accept that failure happens, and maybe stop complaining when it does.
I am one of the lucky ones: I did not grow up in harsh circumstances. As best as I can remember my childhood was a happy one. Of course, our family had its issues, as every family does, but I remember that most of the time we got along and didn’t let the little things bother us too much.
Of course, there were times I can think of as I got older where I would watch my parents functioning in a relationship I did not understand – I didn’t understand any relationships, really, not having adequate maturity to do so. But I remember if I saw mom and dad fight or argue I would think to myself how I never wanted to be like that in my future marriage. I didn’t understand. I COULDN’T understand how they treated each other the way that I saw played out in these antagonistic scenarios. In hindsight, I understand it better, and I can recognize too how they have grown together in their relationship so we don’t see the negative side like that anymore.
Well, I’ve grown up. And do you know what? Life is HARD.
Some time ago, now, life hit me with a giant bag of crap and my marriage was thrown into a downward spiral. It’s been the most devastating thing I have ever experienced. I’ve been left reeling, existing on the lowest plane I can imagine with my self-esteem and self-respect at an all-time low. My self-loathing was at such a magnitude I contemplated suicide, feeling certain that my worth was nonexistant and that I could not survive this world alone. I couldn’t eat; I couldn’t sleep. Every little thing felt impossible.
Now, I’m not an expert, but in my opinion marriages don’t fall apart because of one simple thing. It’s not infidelity, falling out of love, money problems… I think there are usually manifold reasons why two people who once pledged forever have to take a step back, and finally step away.
In my case I believe it was my own unhappiness. I didn’t recognize it at the time, but I was a very negative person, always mad at the world and the circumstances I found myself in. I was never satisfied with my job, never satisfied with my home life. We moved a lot as I tried different jobs and businesses, and the constant upheaval brought a ton of stress into our family life. I was prideful, and felt entitled to success because I perceived that I was working hard to provide for my family.
When my wife told me she wanted to separate it forced me to step back and look at myself, at my life. Who was I? What had I become? I didn’t like what I was seeing.
So I made the decision to change. To get better. I asked for help. I sought out therapy for a place where I could share what was going on with someone and get some assistance making sense of it all.
How did I end up here?
I think I know, now. I know why I was angry and what brought me to this crossroads.
We do this thing as humans, I don’t know why, but we are sometimes overly cautious. We hold ourselves back from our big dreams and our wishes because it’s too wild, too crazy, it won’t work for me. We play it safe, and stay comfortable. Almost all of us do it.
So growing up and throughout my life I’ve felt that opposition to my ideas, my wishes. Whenever I have felt I’ve had a good idea someone is always there to tell me why it won’t work. I’ve felt like I’m always given the negative, never the positive. And that negativity sits HARD with me – I’m always left feeling bleak, coming away with my head hanging low; there is no hope for me in this world. A tough lesson to learn in youth and carry into adulthood, and yet one so many of us carry with us.
I brought that doom-and-gloom attitude with me into my marriage. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to be married to me, truly. I thought I was happy in my family life and just the other pieces were missing, but carrying that pessimism with me always I cannot have been easy to live with. And when it mattered most to my wife I was not fully able to process my emotions and deal with the problems we were facing. I shoved the pain and hurt aside and announced that all was forgiven, not recognizing the festering anger, the need for grieving, or allowing myself time to heal. I pushed everything down, bottled it up, and tried to pretend it didn’t exist.
This denial ended with my being easily triggered, becoming angry over things I shouldn’t have been. I held my pain over her and refused to recognize her own misery in the situation.
Time passes. Sometimes that alone will help. But in the time that has passed, as I said, I have sought help. I have learned about me and I have grown as a person. I’m far from perfect, but I am better than I was. I can see it now, how my reactions to life’s small frustrations were a big part of the problem. I used to believe that my family has a generational curse of bad luck, and carried that belief with me in my attitude; no wonder I never felt satisfied in my endeavours; I was demanding success but expecting failure! I had the dreams but no real belief that they’re attainable.
Since this trying time I have learned so much. My perspective has changed, my mindset has shifted. Now I know that we need to let go! Life is GOING to throw hard things at us, that’s the whole game! The trick is not to dwell on it. The past is done, it’s over; you can’t change it! So don’t dwell on the unchangeable.
No, I can’t change the past, but I can change me. I can change my outlook. I can decide to accept that I DO have potential and to actually work for my goals. I can keep dreaming, and I can make my dreams into my reality. I can be mindful of the now, and make sure I am acting and reacting in a way that will launch me forward to my goals instead of keeping me back.
It all starts with that one attitude adjustment.
So that’s where I started. Once the devastation wore off I dove in, changed my mindset, and adopted self-care. I started to exercise. I started to read books on how to help myself let go of the petty grudges I had been harbouring. I started listening to podcasts suggesting helps to find my happiness. It finally registered with all of this work I was doing that I needed to love myself and create a positive environment that I could glean off of when the rough days come, because come they will!
No one can be perfectly happy all the time, life won’t allow it! It and our emotions are like one giant roller coaster; each new day brings a new, totally unpredictable adventure! But if we can learn to let go of the negatives we are better prepared to battle the demons when they come. And if we are prepared with an arsenal of positivity it’s that much easier to persevere and keep on track.
That’s why I came up with daily routines to help keep myself mindful. It includes Exercise, Meditation, and Motivation, or E.M.M. as I’ve started calling it! I have found these are the three most important things that I personally need daily to help me stay positive and inspired to live in the moment. I am hopeful that over time I will succeed in totally breaking my bad habits of leaning to the negative.
It’s important for us as humans to remember our value in this life and to those around us. Why do we constantly put ourselves down? When we tell ourselves that we are no good or can’t do something meaningful our minds have a chemical reaction reinforcing those feelings. If we can fight it and tell ourselves we are valued and not worthless our minds will again have a different chemical reaction that will cause us to believe it! One begets fatigue and the other life force energy! It’s literally exhausting to be negative and unhappy, and life is too short to be tired all the time! I feel that with E.M.M., the right nutrition, and maybe a few other of our own favourite things we can find the happiness we deserve. And if we can accomplish happiness by making these marginal changes in our lives we can then begin to attract other positive people to us because of the energy that is around us.
The first step is the desire to change.
If you want to connect with Sheldonn check out his inspirational Instagram!