"If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting, which can be anything from your house to bitter old resentments, and set out on a truth seeking journey either internally or externally and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared, most of all, to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself, the truth will not be with held from you."
I am sort of embarrassed to admit where this came from.* But the way it has stuck in my head since I heard it has made it an integral part of my everyday life. My quest initially began about a year and half ago. I was dealing with some rather serious depression and anxiety disorder. I was being thrown out by my now ex-boyfriend with no job, no savings and nowhere really to go. I was forced to move all my stuff to my parents house, put myself on every sliding-scale therapist's and counselor's waiting list and prayed I got the temp job I just applied for. I sent an email to everyone I knew explaining the situation and asking for assistance, any assistance they could provide. A couch to sleep on, job leads, anything. While I received some very helpful information, stories of shared experience, and a single offer of a few weeks on a neighbor's couch, I found the response of my friends to my plight underwhelming and a little disappointing. It left me feeling very alone. I wanted the people in my life to be there for me and I felt like they weren't. I have now learned that they weren't able to be there for me because I wasn't able to be there for myself. I got the temp job and I spent a week in my neighbor's guest room and I explored any possible alternative to moving back in with my parents (the reasons for which is another story in and of itself). My ex asked me to move back in with him a month after kicking me out. I went. I was worn out and broken and I thought that was what I wanted. I started seeing a counselor, started attending a dialectical behavioral therapy group, and got a part-time but promising to become full-time job as a receptionist at a hair salon. I started getting better. My focus turned from myself to my relationship with my ex, which was still a mess. Our relationship was a mess because it had already ended. I tried to get some part of our happiness back, reconnect with him and he just shut down. I gave up. I said screw you to my group and my counselor and dealt with their annoying "I am so disappointed in you" comments about my decision and I questioned and doubted myself about whether this was the right thing to do. I didn't want to spend the money anymore. I felt like nothing was changing. I was not happy. I tried to talk to him about it and he broke up with me. Again. I was angry and hurt but secretly knew it was coming. I had worked so hard for "us" and he didn't care, he just walked away. I was transitioning to a new job and wasn't sure exactly what my cash flow situation would be. This makes starting over on your own very difficult. I wasn't going to get kicked out like last time as he knew my situation wasn't stable yet, at least not right away. I didn't sleep for the next three months. Because I couldn't stand being in the same apartment with him much less sleeping in the same bed with him. It was also the middle of winter and I started getting sick. A sinus infection every 2 weeks. I spent every waking moment sick, in the cold, waiting for leasing agents and looking at really shitty apartments. I did what I had to do because I had to do it. I started my new job. I hung out with my boss after work and saw some bands and met some new people. I found myself. I felt like a bitch because I was really looking forward to my new life, my new apartment, doing things that interested me and finding all the things that I felt were missing in my life. And then I didn't feel so much like a bitch anymore. Not because my friends reassured me that I wasn't a bitch, I was just moving on but, because my ex made it very easy for me to leave during the last 3 weeks I was living with him. By being a complete and unrepentant asshole. And then blaming me for his actions. Something had changed in me. He still made me angry but I couldn't take any of it to heart because I KNEW it wasn't my fault. I officially moved out about 4 months after we broke up. I have never been happier. I am unashamed to say it. The days of me feeling depressed and helpless are extremely rare. I am a completely new person. If you knew me a year and a half ago you wouldn't recognize me and you probably wouldn't like me. My friends will vouch for this. I have changed and grown more in the last year than I have in the previous 27 collectively. I know that I wouldn't be here, I wouldn't be happy with out having to have gone through the things that I have gone through. I was scared and lonely through most of it but here I am, a better person for all of it. I don't sweat the small stuff, I don't put up with bullshit anymore, I do what I have to do, and I have fun and I don't regret any of it.
*This is part of the denoument of Elizabeth GIlbert's personal quest in Eat, Pray, Love the movie. I am not sure if it is in the book or not. Dorky, I know.