"I'm lost in space and I want to find a way home. Nobody else can get me back to the planet,
so I have to do it myself.” Susan Vaught
Sometimes we have to save ourselves. Sometimes we have to be our own heroes. Sometimes we are the only ones capable of enacting our own rescue. To this day, I think one of my favorite moments in modern film history is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Askaban when Harry casts the patronus charm to repel hundreds of dementors, and literally saves his past self. He even says he knew he could do it because he had already done it. Sometimes we are the only ones who can help us because we are the ones hurting us. Sometimes happiness, joy, peace, love, and light at least for us, ourselves, is a choice away. Sometimes the release from bondage, incarceration, solitude lies with us and us alone. What would you do if you had the key to saving yourself? Would you use it? It seems like a rhetorical question but people are complicated, and sometimes keeping ourselves locked away seems to be easier than letting ourselves out and having to actual trudge on. What if we fail? What if we try to be happy and can't do it? What if we aren't who we thought we would be? We can speculate for a lifetime but do we want our lifetimes to be mired/marred by what could have been? All we can do is try, and in doing so know that our best is all that can ever be asked of us. If we try and do not succeed then at least we tried. Choosing the "safety" of detainment is not safety at all - it is danger that lulls us into a false sense of hopelessness, lovelessness, and lifelessness. Our lives are not meant to be stifled. We are not meant to be our own torturers. We are meant to love ourselves, to live our best lives, and to be free.
There are instances where our anguish is self-induced. That is to say that in certain ways we can create our own captivity. But in that realization there is agency and mobility - if only we choose to act upon it. We get to choose if and or how we emancipate ourselves from that self-initialized imprisonment. If we are the jailors, we are also the liberators. If we are the antagonists, we are also the protagonists. If we are the problem, we are also the solution. There is power. There is hope. There is light in that. When the issue is internal, then we also have the capacity to solve the issue because we have nothing or no one else to rely on but ourselves. Our recovery, our deliverance, our absolution can come as quickly as we are willing to provide it. The only thing serving as a barrier to us is well ... us. When we get out of our own way, then we can move forward. When we stop holding ourselves back then we can proceed. When we face the truth - our own truth - then we can use it to set ourselves free. Denial, delusions, and disillusionment with ourselves do nothing but further self-sabotage. When we lie, cheat, and undermine ourselves we literally only hurt ourselves. When we pretend to be better than we are, we do ourselves a disservice. When we lash out at others for situations we have placed ourselves it, it is nothing more than our frustration with ourselves manifesting itself in malicious ways.
How do you save yourself? You have to change your mindset. You have to take control instead of letting false self-perceptions or even self-portrayals with some truth to them write your story. You have to be real. Facing the reality of what has gone on, what you have done, and what you have allowed to happen can be challenging. It can be downright discouraging, daunting, and dispiriting. You cannot come to your own aid until you have faced your truth, no matter, or rather, especially when those truths are painful, ugly, and seemingly unbearable. Accepting that truth, and even more so the role you played in making it so, whether actively or passively, is the epitome of excruciating pain. After you endure, nothing that comes afterward will ever be as hard. Once you push yourself further than you thought you could ever go nothing can ever challenge you that way again - because you have been through worse. And going through things means that those things have an end, that things get better, and by things getting better I mean that you make them better. You have to make your own way. You have to sort through your stuff. You have to process through your emotions. You have to go through to get to the other side.
You have to reconcile with yourself. Who are you? Do you love or even like who you are now? How did you get to be this way? What happened to you, and always, always, always, what did you do to get here? Who do you want to be? How can you get to be the permission that you deserve to be? What do you need to transform into someone you desire? What does that process - yes, an arduous, emotional-labor, and sometimes tangible-labor heavy process - look like for you. From whom, and how are you going to ask for help. And when you ask, are you willing and able to accept the help offered to you - even if it's not the ways you want or imagined it to be? You have to ask for help. You have to take what people can give? You have to be okay with people knowing you as someone you may not have been aware of, or thought yourself to be. Their experiences with you have to have merit, and must remain an irrefutable truth specifically for them. Be patient with them because whether you recognize it or not they have encountered you in ways that have impacted them, oftentimes negatively. If they are wary, hostile, or judgmental - don't be quick to discredit it's validity. Be there, and be gracious in what you're given.
Rescuing yourself means taking responsibility for not only who you are, but who you have been, and who you will be. It must always be all three iterations. That means no shying away from the ramifications of what you have done, and the impact you have had on yourself and others. That is standing in your truth but choosing to not let it define you but validating that is nonetheless part of yourself, albeit a darker one but still important. It is not getting stuck in guilt, self-pity, or self-flagellation. It is not wallowing in helplessness when the only thing keeping you where you are is you. It is choosing to move on. It is choosing to do better. It is choosing to be better. It is commitment to change coupled with action - tangible, measurable, observable - action. It is changing your language, your demeanor, and your behavior. It is breaking toxic cycles. It is conscious uncoupling from vices and bad influences. It is no longer enabling malignancy. It is doing things differently. It is being different through and through. It is taking ownership of your own journey to redemption but even more so your re-purposing. What do you value? How do you respect yourself? What makes you happy? What brings you peace? What do you want out of life? How do you want to change your world/how do you want to be remembered? Rescuers don't go back. Saving yourself means doing exactly that. Making an active choice to change, and being intentional to ensure it happens. X