Ever since I was 15 (or younger), I have had so many questions about myself:
Am I acceptable?
What is my place in this world, in that person’s life?
What should I be doing with my life?
Do I deserve this or that?
How can I feel fulfilled?
What will make me happy?
I carried those questions in my soul for 20 years, asking every friend, partner, and family member along the way if they could answer them for me. Most of them tried so hard to answer them for me–to make me believe what I was worth–but it never stuck. These questions weren’t theirs to answer.
Finally… FINALLY, when I began to sit with the uncomfortable feeling of being uncertain about myself (showing up as loneliness, abandonment, isolation, anxiety, fear, etc.), the answers to not just one or a few, but ALL of my life-long questions began to come. The root of my questions was a self-worth issue. I was undecided on it and it showed up everyday in my life–mostly my romantic relationships. It was a lot of little things and a lot of big things too. It was the way I carried myself in public–asking for attention or proving I didn’t need it. It was the lack of space and time I allowed for self-care, restoration of soul and energy, and self-discovery. I busied myself so I didn’t have to face the daunting, ominous cloud that threatened to swallow me up–the thought that maybe, afterall, I am not enough, just as I am.
This fear kept me from paying attention to myself and leaning into my inner voice crying for recognition and scratching at my insides (making me feel crazy!). Once I found the courage to face myself (aka got fed up with the 20 year cycle I had been running in), it felt like I was going through withdrawls. I cut out all distractions cold turkey. When I felt lonely or unsure of myself (how I felt, who I was, what my place was in the world or other people’s lives), I promised myself I wouldn’t reach for my phone, the remote, a drink, or social media. I chose to sit with the feeling.
Ummm, this was NOT EASY AT ALL. I was literally squirming and uncomfortable being in my own presence–ALONE–quiet and full of unanswered questions. YUCK. But I did it. For 5 days it was like living with raw nerves exposed to the cold. But I kept my promise, and on the 6th day the fog lifted a little and it wasn’t as unbearable. On the 7th day, I thought, “Hmmm, maybe this won’t be bad forever.” And by the next week, I found myself excited to spend time listening to my inner voice/child and paying attention to my feelings from the day. What the…?
After a few weeks of this, I was on a high. I almost finished a complete spiral notebook journal of handwritten observations/notes/thoughts about myself. I wasn’t hungry for attention, validation, or approval from everyone in my life (or random strangers). I was finding my place in the world. THEN I learned about boundaries. That sent me rolling even faster down the Self-Worth Hill of Hallelujahs!
It was a game-changer. I began to learn how to choose myself instead of shutting myself down or trying to fit the mold I thought someone else wanted. I started practicing providing peace for myself. It’s easy to reject yourself when that’s what you watched your parents, friends, and peers do all your life. But there’s another way to live that will bring answers, peace, and love to your life.
I am not the same person I was just a few months ago. I mean, I am (duh), but I have new lenses on my glasses. I see the world differently and myself in it. I have a place and it’s all mine. I am both occupant and protector of my space. Only I can allow people and things to come in. In my space is everything I need to thrive and succeed in the world: safety, love, comfort, nurturance, wisdom, clarity, peace, passion, purpose. It’s all within ME.
Every one of us, by birthright, has space to live freely in. A lot of us (like me), choose to give that space to others without realizing it or understanding it–leaving us feeling like we’re floating untethered and exposed. But that doesn’t mean it’s not ours to take charge of at any second. When you’re ready, you can begin cleaning up your space/your house/your garden, and make it everything you were born to have within: peace, love, fulfillment, and happiness.
I hope you are ready.