My journey : Self-loathing to celebration

 

Self loathing.

I wasn’t born hating myself and honestly, I don’t remember the exact moment that it started.  My best guess is that it happened slowly.  An unfolding over the course of many many years, events, and small, seemingly insignificant, moments and conversations.

All leading up to the day where I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror.

 

I felt unworthy.  I felt hard to love.  I was stuck and I couldn’t see it.  What I could see was my behavior.  I could see my acting out.  I could see my trying too hard.  I could see my drug use.  I could see my drinking.  I could see that I didn’t know how to relax.  I could see how tense and angry I was.  I could see when I sat still how my legs, feet, hands, and/or arms would shake.  I could see my skin scratched red and bleeding from me clawing at myself while I rocked in place.  I could see my tears.  A lot of tears.  I could see my poor health and how sick I was all the time.  And, I could see myself shift from seemingly “fine” to hysterical anger in no time flat.

What I was not yet aware of, what I couldn’t yet see, was that I was medicating my emotions to keep up the facade I believed that the world wanted to see.

 

I remember looking in the mirror and hating who I saw in the reflection.

I was burnt out and exhausted.

I was negative.

I hated my job.

I complained a lot.

I was afraid of failure.

I was afraid of being exposed.

I was afraid of what success would look like.

I was unclear.

I was insecure.

I was stressed out.

And, my head talk was out of control.

 

Shortly after that moment in the mirror, I started a home-based business and got introduced to the world of personal development and mindset.  For the very first time, I became aware of how I was sabotaging myself.  For me, the problem was, WTF was I supposed to DO with that awareness?!  The generic affirmations I was being given weren’t enough.  They weren’t working.  I didn’t have this awareness at the time, but it was almost as if they were making things WORSE because they magnified the distance between where I really was and what I was affirming.

What I really wanted was an “Easy 1,2,3 :  Steps to Fix Yourself”.  If I could have found anyone selling that anywhere, I’d have snatched it up immediately.

But, they weren’t.  No one was.  What I’ve come to know as truth is that the healing journey is individual and we must be willing to walk it ourselves.

 

Simply starting my new business didn’t “fix” anything because the work had to be done internally.  I had success, but I was still unhappy.  I felt like a loser and a fake.

Pretending to be perfect.

Pretending everything was okay.

Pretending I was happy.

Pretending I wasn’t struggling.

Pretending I wasn’t scared.

 

The first significant step in my healing was to put my hand up for help.  To stop pretending that I had it all figured out and that I could handle everything on my own.  How I was living wasn’t working and I needed to come clean.

What I’ve learned is that we cannot solve our “problems” while sitting in the same situation, with the same people, and with the same mind that created the “problems”.  We need outside perspective.

 

Thus began my in depth journey back home to me.  I’m not there yet.  But, I have come a looooooooooonnnnnng way and I am obsessed with guiding others while I continue to walk out my path.

 

What follows are a few of the things I’ve learned in my travels…..

 

 

1.  Be willing to answer the tough questions.

 

This is a “come to Jesus” moment.  Be willing to ask and HONESTLY answer the tough questions.

What’s NOT working?  Your career?  Your relationship?  Your health?

Where in your life are you not playing full out?

Where/when do you shrink back so that others won’t be uncomfortable?

Where in your life are you out of integrity?

How do you speak to yourself?  Do you frequently use words like stupid, idiot, klutz, dumb, fat, or ugly?

How much time do you spend on self care?

How negative are you?  (Think scale of 1-10)

How often do you experience anger and how quick are you to go there?

How often do you feel sad?

Do you like being alone?

How frequently are you using substances to mask your feelings?  (Drugs, alcohol, sex, exercise, food…)

 

 

2.  Stop pretending and own up to your reality.

 

Just stop it.

Stop pretending that you’re okay when you’re not.  Stop pretending that you have it all together.   Stop pretending that you’re always happy.  Take off the mask of perfection and take full ownership of what’s REALLY happening in your life.  Look at your previous answers and accept that this is your reality.  This is what’s real for now.  It CAN change, but the first step to change is acknowledgement of what IS.

The next step is taking responsibility for what IS.

 

WITHOUT JUDGMENT.  WITHOUT JUDGMENT.  WITHOUT JUDGEMENT.  WITHOUT JUDGMENT.  WITHOUT JUDGMENT.

 

Just acknowledge.  “This is my reality and I take responsibility for the choices I’ve made that have lead to this moment.”

Maya Angelou said, “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” 

There’s no blame in this space.  Just acceptance.  Beautiful, loving acceptance.

 

What you must know is that from THIS space, you can take ACTION.

 

 

3.  Embrace your process and love your exquisite journey.

 

You didn’t get here overnight.  You’re not going to heal overnight either.  I have to make a daily effort to stay showing up as the REAL ME.  Please give yourself time and trust me when I say you’ll save yourself a lot of energy if you’d simply be willing to drop the story that “you should have it all figured out by now” or “you shouldn’t still be struggling with this”, or whatever other BS lie you’re telling yourself.

 

I’ve learned exercises where I look at myself in the mirror, celebrate my wins, and tell the little girl I see in the reflection how much I love her and how very proud I am of who she is.  NOT what she’s accomplishing or how much money she’s making or how many likes or comments she’s getting on her posts or how many followers she has on IG or subscribers to her blog or emails.  None of those things have anything to do with who she is.

My value is innate.  It doesn’t increase when I “do good” or decrease when I “do bad”.  It’s completely detached from what I am accomplishing or producing.

I am worthy because I am.

I am valuable because I am.

I am enough because I am.

 

I’ve learned to label my identities as seperate from ME and as I’ve shared in previous articles, I’ve named them and communicate with them as the individuals they are.

 

I’ve learned to look backwards at how far I’ve come instead of constantly looking ahead to some undetermined place I’ll never reach because even if I get close, I’ll just keep moving the finish line to validate my “not enough” story.

 

I’ve learned to celebrate progress instead of exhaustively pushing for unattainable perfection.

 

I’ve learned to recognize that the identities that pop up aren’t ME, they’re simply a PART of me that is feeling unloved.

I’ve learned to love them.

 

I’ve reframed my fears from something to be avoided at all costs, to signs that I must be growing and confirmation that I’m moving in the right direction.

 

I’ve learned that I need a support system to help me.  I need a coach.  I need an accountability partner.  I need live events.  I need mentors.  I cannot do it alone.  (I’ve also learned that you can’t either.) 

 

Truth be told, I still battle my dark side.  But now, I bring it out to the open.  I don’t pretend it’s not there.  I don’t shame myself for having a dark side.  I’m not embarrassed of that part of me anymore.  I actually think she’s beautiful.  When I recognize that she’s in control, I reach out to my accountability partners, I post in my support groups, and I receive love, support, and acknowledgement that I am not alone.

 

I share this so you know you are not alone.  I share this to give you hope for what’s possible.  I share this to offer a first step or a next step depending on where you’re at in your journey.  I share this so that you know I recognize “stuck” as a real place.  I share this in the hope to breathe belief in you as you walk out your own healing journey.  I share this to offer support and a safe space.

 

Me?  I’m perfectly imperfect.  And, more often than not, I am pretty damn proud of that.

 

xo,

Michelle

 

 

Image via Princess-Hanners on DeviantArt

What’s up for me right now…

 

It began early Saturday morning.  I noticed that it hurt a little when I swallowed.  Now, 6 days later, when I open my mouth no words come out.

I am unable to recall the last time I was physically unable to speak.  Even if I try, there are no words and it sucks.  It sucks big time.  It’s scary and a bit demoralizing.

But, as find myself forced into this silence, I notice there is a lot bubbling up emotionally.  So, I made a choice.  A choice to shift from being angry at my situation into lovingly accepting what is.  And, wow.  From that place much has been discovered.

Allow me to share….

 

My emotions have manifested physically.

This is something I’ve thought to be true in the past, but I’m really getting it in my body (literally) right now.  I am a believer that our emotions manifest themselves physically and therefore, when I experience any sort of physical symptom, I am prompted to dig into what’s going on emotionally.  Louise Hay is one of my favorite authors on this subject and her book, “You Can Heal Your Life” sits on my desk.  There’s a list toward the back of the book that references probable mental causes for dis-eases.  She invites her readers to “Look up the mental cause.  See if this could be true for you.  If not, sit quietly and ask yourself, “What could be the thoughts in me that created this?”  

What became present for me was a fear of using my voice.  A fear of speaking up and speaking out.  I became aware that I’ve spent a great deal of my life living in silence.  Not silence like I never said anything, I mean, I can talk a lot, but silent about the things that were and are deeply important to me.

I was afraid.

Afraid of offending you.  Afraid of hurting you.  Afraid of pissing you off.  Afraid of upsetting you.  Afraid of making you uncomfortable.  Afraid of rocking boat.  Afraid of making waves.  Afraid of alienating people.  Afraid of losing followers.  Afraid of being judged if I made a new decision and shifted my beliefs.  Afraid of being wrong.  Afraid of messing up.  Afraid of not being liked.

And if I did speak out, I was simultaneously apologizing.  So much apologizing.

I am sorry for hurting you.  I am sorry for making you uncomfortable.  I am sorry for offending you.  I am sorry for who the f*ck even knows what, but I probably did something and I’m sure I should apologize.

I’ve taken down videos or posts that I thought might piss you off or make you uncomfortable.  I’ve edited posts and comments I’ve made.  I’ve not commented or spoken up in conversations.

And I want to be clear, many times when I’ve opted out of getting involved, it has NOT by deliberate choice, but out of fear of judgement.

T H E R E  I S  A  D I F F E R E N C E.

I can CHOOSE to not engage.  I can CHOOSE to step out of a conversation or CHOOSE to not enter one in the first place.

But, being AFRAID to… well, f*ck that shit.

 

I am changing and I’m okay if that scares you.

There’s a lot of growth happening within me right now.  A great deal of shifting.

While this is uncomfortable to say, I realized that part of why I was hiding my voice and avoiding speaking my truth was because I didn’t want to be labeled.  I didn’t want to be “that girl”.  I was so wrapped up in worrying about the possible judgments of others that not only was I not standing in my truth, I actually wasn’t 100% clear on what my truth was.

You want to know what’s up for me right now?  I am learning what’s important to me.  I am discovering what I believe in.  ME.  Not what you think I should believe in or what my mom taught me to believe in or what society says I should believe in based on the countless stamps you could use to label who I am.

There’s the “I was sexually assaulted” stamp, the “I’ve been hit” stamp, the “I’m married to a woman” stamp, the “I am woman” stamp, the “I am an entrepreneur” stamp, the “I am a coach” stamp, the “I am a speaker” stamp, the “I am a teacher” stamp, the “I am a waitress” stamp, the “I am a spiritual seeker” stamp, the “I am an animal lover” stamp, the “I am a vegan” stamp, the “I don’t have kids” stamp and on and on and on….

I have decided that it is okay for me to form my OWN beliefs, opinions, and judgments and I have given myself permission to change my mind any time I learn something new.

AND I decided that my beliefs, opinions, and judgments do not have to fit into my outdated mold of what I used to believe is right and/or have been trained to believe is “proper”.

F*CK my expectations of me.

I am 40 years old and I’m getting to know ME.  The REAL ME.  Not the version of “me” I presented to the world for so many years.

I’m asking myself questions, some of which I don’t have the answer for… yet.

I’m allowing the space between who I was and who I am becoming to excite verses terrify me.

I have given myself permission to try on different identities.  Permission to explore different beliefs and see how they feel in my body.  Permission to have conversations with those who are willing to speak their truth freely.  Permission to stretch my beliefs and challenge what I thought I knew.  Permission to evolve.  Permission to transform.  Permission to do all of this unapologetically.

 

I am committed to speaking as I learn.

I’ll tell ya, there is nothing like having something taken away from you to up your appreciation level.

I am so incredibly grateful for my voice.  Grateful for the power of speech.  Grateful for the reminders that the Universe has lovingly been sending me for the past few days about the power of ONE VOICE.

I was pretending that I didn’t have anything important to say.  I was pretending that people probably didn’t care anyway.  I was pretending that my single voice couldn’t make a difference.

I decided to call bullshit on my story.  I had been using my growth and my learning as an excuse to stay silent.

Until now.

I will never begin if I have to have it all figured out first.  And I need to begin.

The call on my heart is great and while I honestly don’t know what it all looks like and I don’t know what I’ll be doing or how I’ll be showing up in the world tomorrow, let alone 3, 6, or 12 months down the road, there are a few things I do know for sure….

I am committed to using my voice.

I am committed to speaking as I learn.

I am committed to guiding while I travel.

I don’t know the details, but I know in my heart that we can and we will change this planet.  Together.

XO,

Michelle