There are a couple of rules in life I've developed for myself that really help me manage what I do, how I cope, and pretty much how I maneuver when any issue arises. But first let me preface my thoughts by stating I grew up with a father that was verbally abusive but coated the smell by saying he was sorry along with allot of carefully worded phrases that were intended to 'enlighten' me while releasing him of his responsibility. It's quite difficult to hear your dad say, " I wish you were never born" over something as trivial as getting a "C" in class only to have him come back around later and say, " I'm really sorry I was mad with you son. But you know you had that coming." That second sentence pretty much eliminated the point of being apologetic since he felt there was a greater moral in play here that I had to own (not him). The worst part is I heard that from the time I was six or seven until I was late in my teens. So he got me during my formative years which left me VERY ambiguous about my own sense of self with so many severe hot and cold messages.
I came through it, but not without spending a huge chunk of my childhood very depressed, confused, and mostly unsure of my worth. I always had to wonder if anything I did well was ever "really" good or if I was just giving myself too much credit. It's a terrible way to exist because my lows were to the point of being numbing while my highs were best described as feeling embarrassed, because if I got recognized for something I did really well, whether it be in sports, art, or even in my studies, I felt like it might be a mistake and everyone would know by just looking at me. That's an ugly box to keep yourself in. But that's what negative reinforcement does to people when they can't see past the criticism they've been taught, almost by instinct, to carry on themselves.
The good news is I dug myself out of it. And while that within itself is a whole other story, what came from it are these two rules I previously mentioned that govern pretty much everything I do. The first rule is, " You only control yourself". That sounds simple but there's allot of truth behind it. You can do your job well but lose it the next day. You can be a faithful partner but find out you're not wanted tomorrow. You can be a great parent but realize your kids will not follow everything you layout for them. And you can be in top physical condition but drop dead from an underlying condition no one knew you had. Most everything around us is transient regardless of what people try to sell you.
Now while that might sound a little dark, I'm not remotely suggesting you can't (or shouldn't) believe in the social process. What it DOES mean is you can only do YOUR PART. Be the best you can be. Make the best decisions you feel you can make. Focus on doing what you can do best for your role in any situation. But ultimately you must understand you don't control the outcome if others are involved. You can be impactful and in some instances maybe offer that piece that gets someone else to do what they need to do. But ultimately that's a determination made by someone else. So it's not about living life detached so much as understanding what NOT to hold on to which was not yours to control.
My second rule is to never let the words of others own me. Your identity should always be your greatest treasure and most protected investment. Too many people let what others say affect them. ONLY YOU control what counts and what does not. And ONLY YOU have the keys to that door which you do not open for just anyone. Ultimately you should know yourself better than anyone else. Be honest with yourself. Be realistic with yourself. But also make yourself accountable for who it is you want to be. Hold yourself to a standard YOU create from all that you know of yourself and your life experiences. Do the things that make you happy and be honest about being around the people that promote those things that are positive for you. Don't be afraid to remove people who are never there except to downgrade and diminish you. And lastly don't be afraid of labels society puts on people. Father, brother, sister, wife, mother, uncle, priest, judge, attorney, counselor... All of these are titles either personally or in some cases professionally. But guess what? They're all just people like you. What they say to you is not something you must own. Your words come first. You are the judge and jury to your identity and no one else. Don't allow the words or deeds of others control who you think you are.
If you keep those keys you will always know who you are, and more importantly who is around you. It's amazing how clear everything becomes when you quit chasing after what people say you should be or think you are. When you see it all from inside yourself and understand YOU control that mechanism, then those other people become...well just people. They can be special in your life in various ways, but that doesn't mean they have a special seat with your identity. Only you control that. Everything said to you are words. They can be said to elicit a certain response or try and manipulate you in a certain way. But ultimately they have no power except what you give them. Don't give them any. You decide what matters in your life.
Things that have happened that are behind you need to be reconciled, not relived. Have an honest conversation with yourself. If you feel like you honestly made some bad decisions then accept that. Own that. But then reform yourself. Understand where you made the mistake and learn from it. THEN MOVE ON. Forgive yourself. We all make mistakes. Own them and learn to do better by having a clearer understanding of yourself and those around you. If you were a victim of something, stand up to that pain. Mourn it. Face it. Get angry with it. Then understand you are standing on a new day. You CAN move on. You CAN control yourself. You CAN be a positive person. And you CAN matter as long as it starts with you to yourself. Be the best you can be and let go of what you can't do anything about. Hurting over what we can't control does not mend our hearts. It only keeps us prisoners to our fears. Take charge. Understand who you are and learn to love yourself. You COUNT. You MATTER. You CONTROL all of that. Go out there and make it happen.