Episode 2- It All Begins and Ends with You! (Not Political)
Updated: Mar 8, 2022
Script (not exact but hits the key points)
You know, I will just get right to it.
I was a real hard head when I was younger.
I did learn a wealth of valuable lessons in my life however, me being me, I learned every one of them the hardest way possible.
It was my second stretch in prison as I mentioned before when I met the person who gave me the tools to change the way I think, and by doing so, it changed my life.
I also mentioned that I really needed this person to come into my life at that particular time. I was sitting in prison this round for my 5th DUI. I went on the run first though, fled to Georgia, and hid out at my older sister's house for a while.
They found me eventually though, I was living in Knoxville Tenn., and doing pretty good all things considered, and BOOM!
A random ID checks by a nosy cop and it all came crashing down. Lost everything and at the time I was blaming everyone but the person who was really to blame, myself.
Long story short. I spent a year in the county jail to get 2 years of prison time which pretty well catches us up to where I started.
This brings me to the title of this episode, "it all begins and ends with you." The first time I heard this it stuck in my head like an old dried-up goat's head sticker between your toes and it would not stop running through my head.
Remember, I am in prison, so all I have is time to wander around in my own head.
So who is this "guru of psychological wisdom" I speak of? His name was "Brian" (name changed to protect identity). He was my Anger Management and substance abuse counselor, two programs every inmate is required to complete no matter what they are there for.
I hated that guy, I really did. He had my number and he knew how to use it. I could NOT BS that guy and for someone who was quite adept at manipulating people, it was a damn near unbearable thorn in my ego.
Eventually, though, it started to click. "It all begins and ends with you." There was no one in this world I could blame for my problems and behavior except for myself.
I made the decisions that lead me into certain circumstances, I did not HAVE to go somewhere, or do something, or say something, there was no gun to my head. I made a conscious decision to participate and I am the sole person responsible for whatever the outcome may be, good or bad.
Now of course I tried to use the old "well man I was blind drunk, didn't know what I was doing, it's not my fault."
And he immediately came back with "you made the decision to drink the alcohol knowing full well that it would likely lead to trouble, but you did it anyway, that's on you."
As I said, this old guy had my number.
Anyway soon enough, the pieces were falling in place and I understood for the first time that I was not thinking for myself. In fact, I was not really thinking at all or taking any significant action in my life. I had become a person who was basically going through life simply reacting to things. I had allowed the alcohol to strip me of my self-worth and turn me into a shell of the man I used to be.
I had given up and did not even realize it. There is a whole story behind why I was living at the bottom of a bottle but it involves other people who I can not speak for. I do not want to give just my side of the story, it would not be fair or appropriate in my opinion.
Suffice it to say that I was a man near the end of his rope, I was hollow inside and the only joy I could find was the empty joy found in that whiskey bottle, so that is where I lived if I was not working. Looking back I can see that I was on a downhill path to killing myself one way or another.
Put it this way. When the judge sentenced me to 2 years in prison, I shrugged my shoulders I really did not care. Dealing with the demons that tormented me and drove me into my self-imposed hell is not really relevant for our purposes in my opinion.
As for me though, I had to take "that long cold hard look in the mirror" and face myself, take responsibility for a lifetime of things I blamed other people for, accept responsibility for every wrong, every lie, every betrayal. I had to admit and accept my failings on every level.
Then, and only then could I do the hardest thing of all, I had to forgive myself and by doing so swear an oath to turn my life around and become a better man, a good man. In my life, I had spent too much time being the exact opposite of what a good person should be like. I was determined that man was dead and gone, never to be resurrected.
That was my anchor point. When I walked out of The South Dakota State Penitentiary with nothing but the clothes on my back and $250 I earned in prison pay, that is when my life began again.
The first thing I had to do past dealing with my demons was to keep that phrase going through my head. "It all begins and ends with you" I literally said that to myself before thinking too much about things, and it worked, in fact, it was astounding how well it worked to start changing the way I thought about things. I was taking decisive action again instead of just reacting to the world around me. Talk about empowering! Every success took me further and further away from that man I left behind in that prison.
It took me a while before I figured out that the phrase ITSELF was the first tool "Brian" had given me in my toolbox. The phrase was simply a rather clever way of getting me to STOP! And really think about things. It all begins" (I make the decisions that guide my life and only I am responsible for the consequences of those decisions, good or bad.) "and ends" (by taking time to really think about things, and practicing impulse control I am far less likely to make bad decisions) "with you." (ME)
It is really that simple, as you will find is the majority of what I say, it is just common sense. Sometimes common sense gets buried under the noise of an overcomplicated world filled with people who have a 15-second attention span. We need to get them to stop and think
Everybody likes to say things like "that person needs to stop pissing me off!"
That puts the responsibility on the other person, THEY are to blame for YOU being angry.
There is another way of looking at it though.
YOU need to stop ALLOWING that person to piss you off. Getting angry is a natural emotion, staying angry, or acting out in that anger, is a choice. Not only does this help YOU gain better control over your own emotion through practice, but it also takes the power away from the other person and gives it back to you.
The other person is antagonizing you in order to elicit a certain response from you. If you give them what they want they get their fix, they make themselves feel better by making YOU feel angry (basically tearing you down), you just gave that person the power to manipulate your emotions and now they know it too.
However, if you do not ALLOW them to antagonize you, control your emotions. YOU become the better person, they do not get their fix, and you DO NOT give them the power to manipulate your emotions. You walk away stronger, they walk away angry and weaker.
This goes right to it, "it all begins and ends with you." You chose NOT to be antagonized and by doing so ended the encounter in your favor.
I call that a win any day! As with most things the more you practice it, the easier it becomes and eventually, it will become second nature. Remember, I can only give you the tools, YOU have to do the work.
Remember back when I said if you can not be honest with yourself or take responsibility for yourself, you will never get past this point?
This is what I mean, you may have to deal with some things before you get here but that is the great thing about it. There are no deadlines, YOU decide your pace, not me. I am a guide, a road sign if you will, but the road you travel is yours and yours alone. You either do it or you don't, "it all begins and ends with you!"
Now, I left a few blanks in here and opportunities for clarification because I am hoping to get some people talking. I love questions because they give me an opportunity to either learn or help someone else learn.
I am also a firm believer in there being no "stupid questions", only stupid answers.
I am out y'all, you have a great rest of your day.
A little extra.
NOTE: I have still had no luck finding a usable CC (closed caption) program for those who have hearing difficulty for my videos so for now the best I can do is a script you can follow along with me on. The problem there is I am not very good at following scripts LOL, it will have all of the pertinent points in it though. I thought about simply writing my own on the video itself but I found out very quickly what a monumental pain in the ass that is to sync up. I am unfortunately not that skilled as of yet. Any CC program suggestions?
Now. The reason I say going through my own battle of wills with myself would not be relevant is because not everyone is going to be starting from the beginning. There will be people who are at every junction of this process and they may not even realize it.
People get stuck sometimes and all it takes is for someone to come along and say the right thing at the right time and it gets them moving again, it clears the path, answers a question, or just fills in a blank. Regardless, it is all part of the process.
That is the point here, people know things I don't, and I want to know what they know while sharing what I know. Crowdsourcing information.