After I was discharged from the Marine Corps almost 10 years ago, I will never forget the feeling I could not shake of feeling alone. While in the Corps I always had the band of brothers and sisters that would have my back and would always be there to pick up me up when I stumbled.
I was fortunate enough to only be unemployed for two weeks before I found a job, but I know lots of friends who were not as lucky. But even with a great job and what felt like a path towards success, I missed having those friends to share it with. I ignored the void left by the Marine Corps inside me for over 7 years acting like it wasn’t there, going about my life, doing the things “I was supposed to do”.
It wasn’t until I switched my mindset and started a path of self-help or self-healing that I could start to see the void for what it really was, a lack of meaningful human connections. I was in the Marine Corps from 2003-2007 and we only had Myspace back then, but the social media of today is like cover up makeup that hides our emotional scars to the world. Unlike wine, this void does not get better with age and it soon eats at you from the inside out. A new voice in your head (self-talk) starts repeating the same things over and over. Mine would often say “you don’t deserve to be happy” or “stay in the safe lane, it will all work out”.
Self-talk can be mean, cruel and unusual, and downright viscous in its attacks. When that voice is allowed to echo inside the void left from the way of life we left behind, we fall victim to the idea that we are meant to live a life of quiet desperation.
For me I didn’t fully become aware to the idea of being vulnerable till the summer of 2016 when I found a podcast by Larry Hagner called the Good Dad Project where he created a group of men all on the same path. It was this group that taught me that not being vulnerable was what was holding me back from filling that void.
The more open you are about your struggles, the easier they become and the more you find that you are not alone. We all have our problems, but only through being open do we find peace with what we are struggling with.
Being vulnerable is like having a friend hand you a flashlight to bring light to the inner darkness of the void. Only then can we start to see what we are hiding from and address it. Your void may be different than mine, but almost all veterans have one that we leave ignore or act like it doesn’t exist.
I started my business True Purpose 4 Life because only when we let go of our internal narrative can we fully see what your current life is reflecting back.
The quality of our life will only be as good as the quality of our questions. What questions are you asking yourself inside the void? You’re not alone if you’re not asking any at all, and a great first question is “What will I do today to make tomorrow different?”. This question has led me to some amazing places and it was only in the last month I started asking it.
No matter how much you may think you know, being vulnerable is a great method to find new ways to look at things.