There are certain people in this world that are different than most others. People that waste away fighting a war with a ghost. They let the fight consume them to the point the fight is all they know. It wears them down, shatters the foundation of any stability they’ve ever dreamed of having, and tarnishes their very spirit. Though these people all have a common enemy they are all fighting different battles, for different reasons, in hopes of different victories.
You see this ghost they are fighting is a very unique enemy and a key aspect to each and every one of their lives. It has a way of torturing them and haunting them in the most powerful of ways making them relive some of the most horrible memories of their lives. This ghost is known as their Past. It’s a battle like no other and some people take their last breath still fighting it. No closer to achieving victory than they were when they started.
They waste away. Worn out, tired, and ultimately defeated. Loneliness, hurt, disappointment, and heartache are the wages they pay along the way. The repercussions of this battle are far greater than the fight. I know all too well the price you pay when you’re fighting a losing battle against the past. I’ve spent years fighting my own war. I fought so hard to keep from feeling heartache because of my past that in the midst of it all that’s all I brought upon myself. You see this ghost we’ve all been fighting has the ability to do many different things. It has the ability to manipulate you into thinking that your present is your past, and your past is your future. Making you protect yourself from people and things as if they were the ones that initially caused this pain and heartache so deep that it’s scarred your heart. How can you ever really know peace and happiness fighting a battle such as this? The answer is very simple. You don’t.
So how do you fight this battle? It’s different for everyone because we are each fighting different battles against this common enemy. For me, my pre-battle strategy was to always have a wall up. The wall was to keep out anything and anyone that had the potential to cause heartache or disappointment in my life. Without letting anything with that power in you eliminate the possibility of having to experience these things again, right? Wrong. In eliminating the possibility of being hurt you also eliminate the possibility of being loved and happy. So what would I do when I realized I’d slipped up and let someone or something slip over or through my wall? I’d run. I’d shut down all emotions and I’d run as fast as I could from where I’d let myself become vulnerable and I would build the wall even stronger than before. Even doing so I found myself still fighting this losing battle, fighting the shame invisible and haunting ghost. It took me a very long time to figure out the key to winning this war I’d been fighting so fiercely was not victory but defeat. Stop fighting. W. Somerset Maugham said it best when he wrote, “It might be that to surrender to happiness was to accept defeat, but it was a defeat better than many victories.” If you ever want to achieve happiness and peace then stop fighting. Yes, you are left with war wounds, scarred, and damaged, but being damaged is much better than being broken. Life takes nothing without giving something in return. You must know hurt in order to know love, and you must know heartache in order to know happiness. Otherwise, what was it you’d been so desperately fighting for?