“What would your life look like if you stopped trying to fix yourself and you started creating yourself instead?” Tonya Leigh. This past week saw a turbulent time in the family. Balancing caring for aging parents, a five year old, a full time job, two side gigs, and what I can of my sanity took it’s toll. I had a challenging conversation with my sister about my child care situation as well as some personal things in my marriage—finances and decisions my husband and I have made together. Basically all of my personal fears came up and it really triggered a nerve. Not that I felt attacked or anything like that, but more that the fears I had about being judged and perceived a certain way were confirmed—and it hurt coming from family. Emotions from not so long ago surfaced as I’ve been focused on letting go of other people’s opinions of me and this made me face their opinions head on. A nice little test from the universe.
I found myself emotional and spiralling as I thought over and over again about what my sister said, knowing there were facets that were true, but also knowing that I’ve done everything I could to work on those things. There are reasons why I’ve taken the approaches I have to my life—I’m working the path that I have for me. Not that I don’t feel guilt as these things are new and I’m breaking generational stuff, but I know I can’t fall into the pattern of hating myself again. I knew I was trying to make her see my life my way, trying to make her understand why I did what I’ve done. And I felt helpless because at the end of the day, she is still going to think what she wants. I felt helpless because I couldn’t fix myself or make myself appear acceptable to her.
The truth is I am human. I have many flaws and faults but I know with absolute certainty that fixating on those faults got me nowhere. It hurt and it kept me stuck. Spending all of that time and energy hating myself didn’t do a damn thing for me either. I wasted enough years thinking I needed fixing, finding every flaw, remembering the things I screwed up even if I moved past them, trying to be what others wanted me to be. I didn’t feel any sense of certainty in my life until I stopped prioritizing other people’s anything over my needs. And this conversation brought all of those habits right to the surface again.
It took a good 24 hours of sitting with that and feeling like crap, I started to look at it differently. I’ve built a life for me—not for my sister or anyone else. They don’t need to understand it and it isn’t my job to make them understand. It’s my job to live my life and fulfill my purpose, and I can attest to what it feels like creating something rather than living up to other people’s expectations. The truth is it doesn’t matter if other people can see what you’re building—it’s up to you to see the vision and execute. So to answer the question at the opening of this piece, what would life look like if we stopped fixing and starting creating? What if we lived with acceptance of who we are? It would look like whatever the hell we needed it to. It would look like what it is meant to by our own definition. It would look like we’ve lived, failed, tried, and lived again. Simply put: it would look like happiness.