I was moved by the blog post of this young woman who is recovering from anxiety; it's so honest and so poignant and also so optimistic. She is happy for me to share it with you and I hope you find it as moving as I do.
I poured tar into my mind and grew thorns where my flowers were supposed to bloom.
And it hurt my heart.
To hate yourself is an easy thing to do. To fill your soul with a small darkness takes almost no energy at all. Only thoughts. Little thoughts that creep into your mind as you scroll on your iPhone or catch your reflection in the windows of parked cars on your way to work.
It is easy, but it hurts your heart.
And to hurt your heart in turn hurts the hearts of those around you. Because you cannot love with a hurting heart. It will not work. Like an unoiled machine, it will not turn.
I poured tar behind me wherever I walked and I made a black, thick trail of where I had been. It was ugly. As is the way of tar, this blackness stuck to other people who walked behind me. And they were ugly too. But I kept pouring because it was easier to make everything black than to try and clean up all the spilled tar.
It seeped into my bed. And glued my clothes to my skin. It fell into my food. And blocked up my ears so I could no longer hear the birds singing. It even covered the sun.
It was very ugly, and it hurt my heart.
To hate is a powerful thing. And it requires no effort. When we hate we fill our mind and lives with this tar and create such a mess it feels almost impossible to clean up. When we hate it only takes a couple of moments. Sometimes it can be the smallest thing in the world.
I hate Mondays. And the rain. I hate when the train is delayed by five minutes. Or when my phone runs out of battery. I hate my hair and the way that one piece just wont stay where it’s told. I hate buses. I hate traffic. I hate cyclists who get in the way. I hate double yellow lines and when people block the drive. I hate wind and cold winter nights. I hate when I lose Wi-Fi and I hate final essays. I hate how I break out sometimes. And I hate shopping for jeans. I hate waiting at the bar. I hate when people talk to me on public transport. I hate going to work. And I really hate a poorly made cup of tea.
These little hates pass through our minds in such a quiet way they almost always go unnoticed. This is why to hate is so easy. It requires almost no effort. It is as easy as pouring tar.
But to love, that requires true strength. To open your heart, and give it to the world, that is truly brave. To scoop out all of the tar is difficult, some people find it almost impossible. But the reward is such a beautiful thing.
One day I replaced my tar with honey. And it was golden and sparkling and so rich with sweetness it began to soften my mind. I gathered every hateful thing inside my heart and I held each one in my hands. I looked at all of my mistakes, my regrets and my insecurities. Some were hard to hold, they were heavy with shame and stupidity. It hurt my eyes to look at the ugly things I had created. To see all of my hate. Then I did something I had never done before. I began to pour honey over them. A rich, forgiving honey. It was a hard task and occasionally I still slip and begin to pour tar again as it is much, much easier. To forgive yourself of all your flaws is difficult. To love yourself, even when confronted with the very worst parts of you, is difficult. It is not easy like hating.
Soon, I noticed a change all around me. I began pouring honey wherever I walked. And soon the birds came back. And soon people smiled at me. Soon Mondays were filled with happiness and I enjoyed the sound of rain against my window. I filled each day with loving thoughts. Beautiful things began to grow, and my thorns turned into flowers. I realised how infectious my love was.
Cleaning up all of my tar was hard. And some days I cried because I couldn’t get it all out. And some days I laughed because I threw it away by the bucket load. I poured this honey over the people around me and they became beautiful too and they were not ugly anymore. Other days, I had to pour it into my own mind. This was hard. But soon my thoughts were not ugly any more.
And my heart stopped hurting.
Because to hate is easy. It is sneaky. And it sticks like tar. But to love is the sign of true strength. Of a brave heart. And it glows like rich, sweet honey.
*(Although I still struggle to enjoy a poorly made cup of tea..)