Starting Over from Scratch
When the rug gets pulled from under you, it can be really hard to regain focus and pick yourself back up. For one, you are still reeling from the shock of this even happening. And after the shock fades, you get a nice fat reality check. When the dust settles and your mind clears, you are left wondering: what the ____ just happened?
The things that traumatize us the most as humans are things that remove our sense of security, that completely demolish our plans for the future. For instance, an unexpected death in the family can really shake up a person’s sense of security and even, their identity in relation to the deceased. But as the saying goes, every cloud has its silver lining.
What is the silver lining in unexpected, terrible events that inevitably happen in life? I’ve been trying to figure that out for myself. The silver lining I’ve found in my own life is this: the opportunity to start over from scratch, to recreate myself into the person I’ve always wanted to be, to redefine myself without anything or anyone holding me back. How do you do that, though? Honestly, you’re asking the wrong person because I don’t really know. I’m still figuring it out for myself. I’m the type of person who figures out things AS I’m writing about them, though, so here goes my step-by-step list of how to start over from scratch:
Acknowledge, thank, and let go of the past.
This is arguably the hardest step of all because letting go is never easy. We are creatures of habit, preferring to stay put in our comfort zones. But when things happen that literally rip our security blankets from our hands, we kinda have no choice but to let go and move on. Living in the past means dying in the future. Don’t pretend that the past didn’t happen, but acknowledge that it did, be grateful for the lessons learned, and with a heavy sigh, let it go. Take note that this takes a lot of conscious effort, and is never easy, and is an ongoing decision.
Re-evaluate where things went wrong and make tangible changes.
It’s tempting to place blame on others and claim complete innocence when bad things happen in life, but that’s almost never the case. We all make mistakes and have room for growth and improvement. This goes hand-in-hand with the previous step, but take a good hard look at your past and make note of opportunities for improvement in your life. Whether it be in your relationships, career, or others: you can always change for the better.
Set some NEW goals for yourself and work towards them.
It’s time for the new you to shine, and part of starting over is re-directing yourself on a new path. Set some new goals for yourself. It’s imperative that these are new, not old. What worked for you in the past clearly didn’t work out, so you need a new starting point, a new objective in life. Set some new goals for yourself and don’t leave it at that: set daily habits in motion that will get you where you want to go.
Do things you always wanted to do but never did for whatever reason.
Go skydiving if you’ve always wanted to. Start that youtube career. Make that blog and start posting random stuff (like me). Get that piercing/tattoo/whatever. Chop off your long locks. Get a perm/dye your hair purple. (I did all three.) This is you 2.0 so you get to do everything you 1.0 never got to do.
When you fail, be kind to yourself. Give yourself the time needed to heal and start over however many times it takes.
As with everything new, you will encounter setbacks. You might feel extremely motivated one minute and fall apart all over again in the next. That’s OKAY. Something I’ve been trying to do more is being kind to myself. The idea is simple enough, but so much harder to practice in reality. I’ve been pretty self-critical my whole life, always being hard on myself and comparing myself to more ____ people. But self-love is essential to starting over, because otherwise you will find yourself trapped in the same destructive pattern of thinking. Be KIND to yourself. Remind yourself that you are enough as you are—starting over is for YOU and no one else, that failure is part of the process, and healing can take a lifetime.
Hope this helps anyone else who is suffering from PTSD (LOL). I’ll be posting as I progress on this journey, so stay tuned for Ariel 2.0! <3