So it's the beginning of a brand new year. I know of a lot of people who start their year with a couple new goals or things like that. For me, I have a general idea of where I want to go and how I'm going to get there. So my goals kinda just evolve as I go through my day-to-day life.
I've actually been having a hard time with depression lately. I know from my studies that depression can come in cycles that last from weeks to years. Having experienced a two year cycle of depression, I'm really nervous about it coming back again. But there's something I started doing that's really helped: volunteering.
To be honest, I was looking for a volunteer opportunity more to get into grad school than to do service to my fellow man. There's a man from my home ward who I contacted. He runs a clinic that deals mostly with people who are sexual offenders. I didn't know this when I first started my group therapy session. Lemme tell you about it.
I attended two group therapy sessions. One was a group of adolescents and the other ranged from eighteen to probably sixty something. The adolescent group just talked about their school life, problems with parents and authority figures, and other problems that seem fairly common among teens.
The adult group dug a little deeper. They talked a lot about relationships and commitment. Now, I have big commitment issues so I thought this was very interesting. One member spoke about how he felt this need to tell basically everyone his whole life history and all of his "transgressions" in order to feel ok with himself and the other person.
Now...I feel that same way. There are times in which I feel like I'm getting close to someone and I feel like I can't get any closer to that person until they know almost everything about me. Obviously there are some things that stay private but for the most part, I tell them everything. So I understood what this group member was talking about.
The therapist leading the discussion then asked all of us what we would do in a situation where someone asked us about our pasts. After much discussion, we all seemed to come to the conclusion that it's better to simply say something to the effect of, "There have been some things I have done that I am not proud of, but I am moving forward".
I've been thinking a lot about it since that group session. I think one of the reasons I gush everything about me to another person is because it then takes the responsibility of them liking or not liking me off of me, and onto the other person. For example, if they know everything about me, and then decide to not like me, it's not my fault. It is their fault that they cannot accept me for who I am. That makes me feel safer and more justified in my relationships.
I do think I could come to the point one day of being happy with who I am, without everyone knowing every minute detail about me. It is going to take a lot of work on my part and a lot of trust. I have a hard time trusting that people will like me for me, hence I spill my guts just to make sure.
So the therapy sessions were fantastic. I felt really good just listening to these honest to goodness good people who had just messed up. I could see their desire to change and admired them for working so hard to change. It's inspired me to be just a little better.
And so I'm making some changes myself. I've recommitted myself to living the Gospel. I'm going to have to learn a lot of self-discipline and self-mastery to do it but I do believe it's possible. My Bishop and I talked yesterday for a long time and he really inspired me to do just a little bit better. I prayed for the gift of hope and an eternal perspective to help me get through this.
I do believe in the Atonement and it's cleansing power. But I do also struggle with believing in it's power to work for me. The idea that Jesus Christ could really pay for all of my sins and the rest of humanities is quite mind-boggling. But hey, this is just one of my many leaps of faith. I haven't been let down in the past so why should I worry now?
I spoke to a friend last night who is very close to me. He is probably the closest thing I have ever had to a boyfriend. I explained to him what my Bishop and I had talked about and he was so understanding, loving and accepting. He told me that he truly admires me and knows that I will be a dad some day. When he said that to me, I just burst into tears. I had almost given up on my hopes and dreams of being a father. But the Spirit testified to me that I will be a father some day. And a really good one too :) Or so I hope ;)
He will support me in my decision as I'm sure all of my friends will. This year is going to be a struggle, but I can already see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I'm working towards it. Thank you for your love, prayers, and support. You mean the world to me.