I've always loved a good quote as you probably know by now reading the blog.
One I've always found interesting, although a fictional quote, but never thought about in depth till now is this:
"Later that day I got thinking about relationships. There are those that open you up to something new and exotic. Those that are old and familiar. Those that bring up lots of questions. Those that bring you somewhere unexpected. Those that bring you far from where you started and those that bring you back. But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all, is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone to love the you, you love... well, that's just fabulous."
I think that regardless of what you are told, you have to take in what you can relate to yourself and make of it what you will. I think if you don't know yourself, then inspiration will be superficial and you may end up sacrificing parts of yourself for others.
Some could argue in life that it's necessary to be more giving of yourself to others than you would like, or if you don't realise you're doing it, than is healthy. But if you're not happy in yourself then what is the point in being in a situation where you're giving too much?
What is more important, I believe, is knowing yourself well enough to know where the line is that means you are unhappy in what you put in to life, particularly if you are not getting back from life what you would like.
There are examples where there are exceptions. Work is the most obvious one, you may not enjoy every part of your job, but at the end of the day you are getting to live a fuller life by having a job. So what you get out of that is enough to sacrifice more of yourself than you might like, compromise with yourself more than you would have maybe hoped. At the end of the day many of us just don't have the luxury to live to work, we work to live.
There is however a huge part of your life in terms of your personal relationships where in many cases you have to be selfish about what you want and who you are.
But at the same time, you have to understand who you are first before you realise in what areas of relationships you can't compromise.
I think it's difficult in an era of mass information to know who you genuinely want to be. Media loves to put individuals in a box. In the same way people with epilepsy sometimes self stigmatise their condition, people who could be put in a convenient box generally tend to put themselves there without too much help.
I think you need to take a step back from life sometimes, be it travelling the world and seeing new places, or just simply doing something you never thought yourself capable of. New experiences develop you as a person, they open up new possibilities to you and help you understand if something was worth giving of yourself for, or actually if it's not something which makes you happy.
The one thing I've understood through my experience of loosing my job in the Police all those years ago, is that I've been most happy when I'm taking part in sport. I've also realised over the years that I have a mentality of not being satisfied if I haven't reached my own personal best in my given sport. Not because of what others think, I've actually come to realise I don't pay much attention to praise and find compliments hard to take if I don't feel deep down I deserve them.
Instead I have a mentality of, for example, trying to be the best in the world at my sport of Ultra-marathon cycling. I've also realised that giving more of myself to my cycling in order to raise awareness of Epilepsy is a sacrifice worth taking.
I know that if I am able to achieve my goals in regards to my cycling and more importantly my awareness raising for epilepsy, then I will finally be satisfied.
So what would I do once I feel deep down inside myself, I've truly achieved my personal best? Well I guess I will understand more about myself when I do and I'll be able to tell you then. But for now, I know what and where I want to focus my energy at this point in my life.
I know people with epilepsy find it hard to fit in, especially in areas like team sports where at a participation level, being chosen to be part of a team could sometimes be more about how you perform in a drinking competition, rather than on the field. But that's not me, and when it comes down to it, I don't believe that's the spirit of sport either.
So to anyone in a scenario where they feel under peer pressure like that to get pissed for example, I would say this:
"If you can find someone to love the you, you love... well, that's just fabulous."
...and if you can't, keep looking!
We should never be ashamed to be the people we are, once we've found out who we want that to be. So if you know you don't want to compromise, then don't and keep looking for that special boy or girl, that special team, a special cause, maybe even that special job, that, in the end...
...will be just fabulous.