For a long time, I didn't know who I was. I had become a cluttered patchwork of who I thought others wanted me to be or what I should be.
I should go to college.
I should have a boyfriend/husband.
I should have children.
I should be thinner/in better shape.
I should talk less.
I should speak up more.
I should talk slower.
I should be quieter.
I should go slower.
I should go faster.
I should have more motivation.
I should relax.
I should live up to my potential.
I should stop being so emotional.
I should stop being depressed.
Have you done that?
It's not that I didn't want some, if not all, of these things for myself, but choosing when I wanted them, why I wanted them, and how I wanted them had nothing to do with me and everything to do with everyone else's perception of me.
It wasn't until my 30’s that I even realized I got to choose who I wanted to be and it had absolutely nothing to do with anyone else. When I decided enough was enough, I looked in the mirror and didn't recognize who was looking back, but I knew for sure I didn't like her. I didn't like the way she looked. I didn't like the way she talked. I didn't like how much she cried. I didn't like how vulnerable she was. I didn't like how needy she was.
It took me a long time to love myself, even in the slightest. Choosing to put myself first, as unselfishly as I could, was necessary. Self-care was necessary.
I’ve come a long way since then and I know how strong I am, how loved I am, how I’ve made an impact. But I still have days that overwhelm me. I still have days where I question who I am, what I want, where I want to be. I still have low moments where I ask if I’m worth knowing, if I’m doing what I’m supposed to do, if I’m being too lazy or just allowing my body/mind/spirit to rest. I still have days where I question how others feel about me, why some people love me while others keep me at a distance.
This past year, especially, has been challenging. I’ve had to heal all over again, more deeply than ever before. And I feel I’m sitting here waiting, a new life dangling before me like a carrot that is just out of reach and it’s not up to me if I ever get a taste of it. I find myself asking a question I don’t feel good about asking — that no matter who I’ve become, no matter the good I’ve done, no matter the love I finally have for myself — What’s in it for me? When will that big break come?
I’m sure you’ve all felt that, too. Right?
But it doesn’t take me nearly as long as it used to to pick myself up from those now less-frequent times of darkness. That is the hope I hold onto in those moments, that I know at any moment I will look in the mirror and love her, all of her, and tell her she is indeed worthy of self-care, that she is indeed worthy of knowing and being loved. I can still find my light.
Have you gotten there, to that place where you love yourself even just enough to end self-punishment and begin self-care? I hope so. If not, reach out. It’s why I do what I do. Because I, too, know what you’re going through. I’ve been there.
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When Love Wins: Our Journey to Peace
Love. It begins our journey, it ends our journey, and is the foundation for everything we encounter along the way. After all, love is the only thing that is eternal. It is all we need to gain the peace we were all created to experience.
Love will take away the need for forgiveness. Love will conquer negative thoughts such as anger, depression, fear, and jealousy. Love will give us the quiet strength to calm our minds, fill our souls, and help us live a peaceful life. Love will change hope into knowing.
It really is that simple...