Saturday, March 15, 2014

Collateral damage 9

When you've devoted years to thinking you were making a difference, realizing instead that you were actually collateral damage is not something you easily embrace.

You have to let go of believing certain things:

-- That you are respected by others
-- That people care about what you say and think
-- That you have the ability to influence outcomes
-- That others will rally to your ideas
-- That you have control in the situation
-- That you can come up with a plan that will work

This can do a number on your ego and your sense of place in the world. It can lead you to wonder whether you've been thinking you were someone you were not. It can cause you to question what is really important to you. It can lead to changing your priorities and retreating for a while.

But it can also help you make sense of your physical ailments, failing confidence, emotional swings, depression, poor sleep and diet, anxiety, short temper and more. All of a sudden you realize these things are tied into having been collateral damage. And things begin to make more sense.

A fog starts to lift. You give yourself permission to be hurt, to be somewhat of a mess. You realize it's OK to change your perspective and priorities. It's OK to rest for a while. It's OK to take stock and reconsider. You understand that you are angry at some folks, some situations, even some institutions. You realize maybe you need to talk to someone, get some help so you can heal.

And then you begin to take the steps you need to take—and you begin to get better.

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