I learned at an early age that I should do what was needed to make the world around me more comfortable. Maybe I was born with that trait. Maybe it is because I am female. I learned that it made people around me more comfortable if I stayed small, stayed quiet, and did my best to make sure everyone else was comfortable. I received praise for being this kind of child. I ate every bite of food on my plate and was told what a good girl I was. I tried to calm any conflict around me. I tried to anticipate and ease any stress that I saw building in people around me. I was told that I was such a good girl. I made it easier for the adults around me (for the most part, not always). I felt my worth was based on how well I juggled all of these skills. I felt that I earned love by trying to please and ease other people. I tried to morph and mold into whatever situation I was in to make things more comfortable for everyone else. I thought that was the definition of being a ‘good girl’. I was a chameleon.
Of course, this dynamic has had negative implications for me in the long term. It did not allow me to be and do what I truly wanted. I didn’t even learn how to know what my own needs were. Apart from needing to facilitate peace around me. It didn’t allow me to express my true emotions. In fact, it made it hard for me to even know what my own emotions were. I was too busy trying to anticipate everyone else's emotions. If there was a battle going on (and there often was), I wanted to get in the middle of it and try to calm things down. All of this led to an anxious, quiet, exhausted, overeating and overdrinking girl who constantly looked to others for her approval. It had taken a toll on my body, on my mind, and on my spirit.
There have been many things over my life that have slowly chipped away at this veneer and allowed me to step outside of the patterns I had set up for myself. There have been many, and it has taken years. There is no denying that a shift has been taking place in me over the past few years. Once I started having some extra time for myself, I started making my own health and growth a priority. I stopped feeling guilty about pouring myself into books and courses that I found interesting and fulfilling. I started to fill my own cup up first. And I got better at knowing what shit was mine to figure out and deal with, and what was someone else’s. I stopped worrying if my words made someone feel comfortable or uncomfortable. I had to speak my truth. As someone who was not used to doing this, my words can come out sounding harsh. My own thoughts had been missing in many of the conversations that I had been having over the years. Some stuff just needs to be said. I am getting better at listening to my body and to my stomach to hear what it really needs. I started believing and trusting in my inherent worth without needing to validate it from an outside source. I started listening to the people and voices who really spoke to my soul, and started letting go and ignoring the ones who held me stuck in my old ways.
Go inside. Listen to your own internal guidance. It knows. We already know everything that we need to know. We just need to trust in it. How fantastic is that??
I was on a walk recently, back when my daughter went to school and rode the school's. As so often happens, a thought appeared in my mind (from where, I don’t know).
I have spent so many years of my life trying to be whatever the world around me needed me to be. I was a chameleon. It is only in my last few years that I have become much better at designing my world more to suit me and who I am.
I know better who I am, and what I need. I try not to feel guilty for this. I don’t beat myself up for feeling a certain way anymore. I am learning to trust my instincts. I am more compassionate with myself and finally realize that I am worth investing my time and energy into. Everyone around me benefits when I do this. And I believe that by watching me, my kids will also learn that they are worth taking care of as well. I try to be a good example for them. Not perfect, just an all-round flawed human being that is messy and confused at times, but clearly trying to do her best in this world and having fun with it at the same time. I wish I had started doing this earlier, but maybe it happened exactly when it was supposed to.
Anyone else on a similar path? Finding clarity in a new phase of their life?