Normally Sundays are about gratitude (they still are) but seeing as today is July 4th, I wanted to do a special post combining gratitude with power and the freedom that comes from that—I know it’s cheesy, but bear with me. I’ve spent most of my life people pleasing, insecure, running to catch up, morphing who I am depending on present company, stewing and brewing my own anxiety, living in fear of missing out, trying to do it all on my own, and somewhere between anger and resentment—all the time. It took me until my early 30s to admit that these were all fear responses. Every action I took was either to squelch or avoid fear and to prove my worth. When you live with that kind of fear, your life is not your own. You’re acting, putting on a show and calling it yours when really you’re just the performer giving people what you think they want—it’s a cage.
I never felt like I was allowed to break out. Quite honestly, I was raised to believe everyone lived like that. I started resenting the people I saw who lived wide open, with no fear, no questions, just doing what they wanted. I often asked myself how they were allowed to do that when I was living like a doormat. I developed some really nasty habits and took out a lot of anger on the wrong people. The ones who were actually there for me dealt with the brunt of my misplaced emotions. I started hating my life. I can’t place the exact moment, but I remember the little flame inside of me saying that it was time to start paying attention and to start putting these observations in a different context. At a minimum, I remember waking up and not wanting to hate my life anymore. I started looking around and I recognized that in spite of giving away much of my autonomy in favor of trying to be liked, I still managed to build a really nice life. I still had privilege. So I started thinking if other people were “allowed” to live according to their rules, maybe there was something I could do as well.
I started and stopped on that journey dozens of times. I tried some things that didn’t work for me. I tried things that started off well and got scared so I regressed to people pleasing. I started things without clear direction and failed. The stubbornness in me kept me moving forward. Any time I started feeling like a victim or feeling like I was meant to be a doormat, I started telling myself that I still have a say in this and that I am fortunate enough to be alive so I am able to create what I want. There were many moments I had to remind myself that not everything shows up at once and that patience is a skill. I’m still reminding myself about that one.
The key to flipping the script came in noticing patterns in others first and then looking at how I did the same thing and taking personal accountability for it. If I saw that someone pointed the finger a lot, I looked at how I did the same thing. Next I started looking at the habits I really wanted to break. Once I saw the things I was doing that kept me from the things I wanted, I started looking at what I had already done. My confidence and self-esteem always veered on the low side, so it took a lot to honor what I had already done with my life—but acknowledging those accomplishments changed the way I looked at myself. I started to get a little glimpse of what was possible.
After that I started looking at what I wanted to build—and this is where I still am. The possibilities are infinite when it comes to what we can create and I LOVE that potential. I also love the idea of creating enough to give back and to generate more flow between people. I love the idea of consciously changing the course of this world and making it a healthier, better place. I’m not 100% where I want to be yet, but I am well on my way. Today I woke up in my new house, watched the sun rise, cuddled with my animals, pulled some cards, and started working. I’m glimpsing pieces of the life I’ve been trying to create—that is freedom.