Work/Life

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It’s no secret that our lives have changed drastically in the last few years.  Between how we work, how we feel about work, fulfilling our purpose, and finding a way to navigate a current paradigm with what is coming.  Sometimes it feels like I’m in an abusive relationship with my job.  I’ve had a lot to navigate in my life the last few weeks with my mother, my child, my husband, my job, and my side gigs and I discussed it with my boss.  Initially she was incredibly supportive of the personal situation and she even offered flexibility with my schedule as before.  I felt instant relief because of the craziness that has been going on.  A few days later she told me that she had some concerns about the teams and the hours we’ve been working.  This isn’t the first time I’ve been caught in this situation and it’s always the same: the support is there…and then it is not.

There was one particular conversation that stood out for me and it was when my boss told me, “We work in a 24/7 industry and we may just need to demonstrate more flexibility with our time.  People have been working in very set hours and they think that is enough.  We may need to look at alternatives like weekends and longer hours.”  Keep in mind this was followed up with her requesting the new attendance policy. And side note, this is why people are leaving the work force en masse–we are told we have freedom but need to live how someone else tells us.  So please explain to me how we can have this shift in a few days?  Again, this isn’t the first time it has happened, and as painful as it is to be bounced back and forth, I wasn’t entirely surprised.  And I know that this conversation is highlighting something for me in my personal life, the circle coming around again: I need to prioritize what I need to be doing in MY life and not living my life for someone else’s gain.

I had an epiphany as I was struggling to find care for my child: I’m working to prioritize a job that would replace me in two seconds (and if I’m honest, is probably actively trying to do that now) in order to give up more time with my kid.  When I know I’ve worked sick, I’ve worked with broken bones, when my kid has been sick, when I’ve been so mentally exhausted I couldn’t remember where I needed to be.  I had been hoping this job would take care of me because that is what I was told would happen.  The reality is they want me to bleed for them when they won’t lift a finger for me.  I’m trying to move my life around to support this place.  The reality is my job needs me and I’ve forgotten that.  I’m working to support my life therefore my job supports my lifestyle- it doesn’t need to be my life supporting my job.

We need to remember why we work.  I bought into what I was told would happen by getting a “secure” job in the medical field.  Depending on what side you’re on, you are replaceable.  That is a shitty feeling for anyone.  I’m not even talking about looking for validation, I’m talking about the fact that if someone doesn’t like you, they will actively try to kick you out like some high school clique.  The goal in life is to become who we are and celebrate that and to fulfill our purpose, it isn’t to work ourselves to death for someone else’s goal.  We need to learn to believe in ourselves more than we believe in what we are sold.  Remember where your power is—it’s in your hands.  It’s in your soul and you know it.  Don’t let some place dictate your worth or manipulate your emotions.  We are all worth more than that.  We deserve more than that—you work to support your LIFE, not to ask permission to live.  Support your life and your dreams—you don’t need permission to like what you do, you don’t need permission to go for what works for you, and you don’t need permission to set the boundary to stop something if it is toxic to you.  Throw that crap out! Do what calls to you and remember: you call the shots.

It’s Not That Serious

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We’ve been working on a huge project at work for new legislation that went into effect this year.  I was the initial lead on this project and I dove in wholeheartedly.  It was interesting and I took the time to understand what we were going for.  After some time, it became apparent that I understood the work, but I didn’t understand how to implement it.  I will fully admit that.  I wasn’t prepared to implement new legislation in spite of knowing what needed to be done.  My boss gave the project over to a couple of other leaders and at first it hurt, but I realized there were simply things I didn’t know.

As the project continued, something else became apparent: not one person knew how to implement this shit either.  A flash of anger came in as I saw this new group struggling with the exact same thing I did and I momentarily asked why it would be taken from me if we were in the exact same spot…and then it hit me: This is NOT the thing I want to be doing.  Making decisions about people’s health care based on a physician’s decision, taking responsibility for informing patients of what a physician is doing—it felt wrong.  Making decisions about healthcare that clearly profit a physician started making me sick.  And here we were sitting at this table trying to figure it out with no real guidance and something came over me: this isn’t it.  There are more important things in this world. 

Taking life seriously especially in this climate of EVERYTHING IS UNKNOWN is simply a waste of time.  There are a few things I know.  1. You can’t know something without learning it.  Simply put, if you aren’t taught how to do something, it will not magically come to you.  That isn’t to say innate talent doesn’t exist, but the world doesn’t work that way for all things.  A boss having an expectation for execution without direction is a recipe for failure.  2. Anyone who has that expectation is unrealistic and you don’t want to be there—at least I don’t.  3. Looking like you know something is given more creedence than ACTUALLY knowing something.  And that is when I had my break down.  I could laugh.  We were fighting for an appearance, not actual knowing.  In that context, you will never be enough for anyone and your worth can pivot in a second.

The most important thing is knowing ourselves.  Knowing when to cut through the bullshit ourselves and simply be who we are.  There is more worth in being ourselves rather than pretending you are something else.  And when we work so hard to project an image, we forget that everyone is projecting an image as well.  We take the image so seriously—we take the pretend more seriously than the reality.  And it feels so wrong. We start seeing the new reality.  Things that were true at one time are no longer true today.  It’s a game and then something happens where we don’t want to play anymore.  We have to play our own game—or no game at all.  The reality of it all is that no one knows what the hell they’re doing.  We are all just trying to figure it out.  Life is too short and too precious to be taken so seriously.  Take it while you can and love it while you have it.  You will never be this young again—just take it.

Let Yourself Be Taught–A Train Exchange

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I had a little side story that came up the other day.  I’m proud to take action on the things I want to do this year and one of those things is letting go of who I told myself I was.  The perfectionist, the one who is right, the one who cleans up all the messes.  None of that is really me—even though that is how I have been living.  That was so externally focused for me and it took all my attention away from what I really knew I wanted to do.  I know now I was using those external things as a distraction because I didn’t really believe that I was capable of achieving what I wanted to do.  I also used to think if I didn’t know everything I was an idiot so I felt I constantly had to prove myself over and over again.

My husband and I live near some train tracks and I woke up the other day to the train stopped outside.  I could see it through our backyard as I worked in my office and I was curious.  We’ve only been here a few months and I’ve never seen that happen so I didn’t know if something was wrong or not.  I even started telling myself stories about a sort of apocalypse with like a military take over—I mean, cool story, but I have a super over-active imagination.  Regardless, I told my husband and he told me that the exchange isn’t that far down so sometimes they will stop to switch out the cars.  I’ve seen the interchange he was talking about a million times and didn’t realize it was still a functioning exchange.  And the simplest explanation wins.     

When we live thinking we know it all we cut ourselves off from the opportunity to gain some real wisdom. I literally used to think it meant I was stupid if I didn’t know something, especially because I always felt like I needed to prove how much I knew because of how I looked. As time has gone on, I know it isn’t a matter of our intelligence or our worth or our ability—it is simply a matter of taking in more information.  And that is what living is about—learning from each other as we live.  I mean, at the end of the day we can’t know it all.  The human brain isn’t designed that way, we are meant to help each other.  When we allow, we create space to find something else and that is where the magic is. 

Who We Used To Be

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“So many people tell me their old story. I want to know where you’re going. I don’t want you to tell me about your old character, I want to hear about your new character.  Your former script is not your current one,” Ed Mylett.  What a beautiful continuation of our conversation from Saturday.  Like living in the before/after world, when we constantly rehash what we used to be or what we used to do, we negate what is happening.  We confuse the energy of where we’re going because we are only focused on where we’ve been.  Does that person even exist anymore?  We have the ability to change the story at any time so why do we continue to live in a world that quite literally doesn’t exist anymore?

I can speak from personal experience that most of it is comfort.  Living in nostalgia is familiar and it reminds us of times that were either perceived as better or where we felt safer.  Venturing out in the world whether it is in the prescribed fashion or on a trail of our own is terrifying.  We are responsible for our own existence and the results that come with it are entirely our own.  It makes sense that we try to find our way through what we’ve known and where we’ve been before.  But the past isn’t where we are going.  That person isn’t who we are now.

How we speak to ourselves determines everything.  I used to talk about what I would do when I was good enough or when I knew enough or when people took me seriously enough.  My entire existence depended on the opinions and acceptance of other people.  That kept me firmly rooted where I was.  I never learned to set the bar for my own identity.  I never even learned to write my own identity because it was seen as something I needed permission to do in my house growing up.  I lived with a deep feeling of needing to be worthy to do anything and that worth was always unachievable for the things I wanted so I held myself back.  I remember going out for cheerleading and making it and then quitting the day of the performance because I didn’t feel like I knew what I was doing.  That’s an old story and I have hundreds more just like that.  But I don’t want to live from that place any longer.

Who I am now is someone who knows the value in learning and who wants to share the beautifully terrifying process of finding who we are.  Not all of us are blessed with an environment that supports who we are so it takes us a little longer to get comfortable navigating our worth and the things we want to do.  It takes a while to accept the now and understand that we don’t need to prove anything to exist.  The fact we are here is enough and has value.  Perhaps we take life too seriously.  I mean, there was a time when playing ball meant security for you and yours for all time.  But those days are long gone.  We need to find a way to create security in ourselves and that means telling a new story.  That means being a version of ourselves that makes sense and feels right for who we are.

Forgiving the Past

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I’ve recently started reading “The High 5 Habit” by Mel Robbins.  The premise of the book is to acknowledge and accept ourselves and to learn to be our own cheerleaders.  She talks about rewiring the brain through this small habit every day, of high fiving ourselves in the mirror.  Now, I will admit I haven’t started doing that yet (and to be fair I’m not done with the book yet) but after my experience the other day of seeing the value in sharing an authentic side of myself where I normally wouldn’t, I feel there is value in this type of self-validation as well. 

So, while I didn’t high five myself yet, I did take some time to really sit (well stand) with my reflection in the mirror.  I noticed that I don’t often look at myself in the mirror unless I’m correcting something like brushing my teeth, fixing my hair, or putting on makeup.  I’m not using the mirror to see myself, I’m using the mirror to put on a façade.  Then something interesting happened: I felt a spark of when I was a child and feeling afraid looking at myself, feeling sad for saying something to my mom that my four year old mind didn’t understand.  I remember as a teen feeling embarrassed over some nonsense and feeling shame watching myself in the mirror.  And I realized that even if I wasn’t ready to high five myself, not ready to celebrate myself, maybe I could see myself differently.  I could acknowledge what was THERE.  For me, that was facing the fear. 

I have felt fear about accepting myself for a long time because of what I mentioned the other day: we are trained that we are worthy when someone tells us we are worthy and I bought into that nearly my whole life.  So when I stood in front of the mirror and felt those things from my past, reliving the mistakes, I faced my fear.  And it didn’t happen right away, but I slowly started feeling like facing that fear is what I am meant to do.  A different emotion popped up as well: acceptance of what happened and forgiveness.  Standing in the face of fear and saying I forgive myself for not knowing better, I forgive us all for not knowing better—I do now and it is time to move forward knowing better today.

So the celebration is important.  But I feel the foundation is more important and that foundation means seeing yourself for the first time.  Like, really seeing yourself and taking the moment to just be there.  I mentioned above that I never really looked in the mirror, and I know I never used to be able to look myself in the eyes—it felt too personal or like I was hiding something.  The truth is, I really was hiding something.  Every time I saw myself, I saw every horrible thing I’ve done, I saw every negative thing about myself.  And to Mel’s point: what good was that doing?  Learning to forgive is what got me to see myself.  THAT is something worth celebrating.  The more I see and accept who I am, the more I forgive, the more strength I put in my own wings, the easier it becomes.  So, celebration is necessary, yes, but take the time to accept first.  That’s where we start.

Sunday Gratitude

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Today I am grateful for a break in the darkness.  I’ve been so dark the last few weeks that I didn’t think light existed anymore.  I had a conversation with my sister that threw me for a loop as we are in the midst of dealing with my parent’s health issues and it made me think a lot about my life.  Some of what she said was judgmental as she doesn’t know the full story but other parts of it resonated and made me feel sick.  Sick because I’ve known those parts are true but I haven’t been able to do anything about it.  It isn’t my job to do anything about it to some degree. And that is when I felt better.  My sister wasn’t even part of the concerns she brought up, so why was I letting her get to me? I woke up yesterday and that is the first time I didn’t feel the crushing weight of, “I don’t even know what steps I need to take today.”  Nothing is actually resolved, but I see we are heading in the right direction.

Today I am grateful to realize where my worth is.  I went to visit my mother at her facility and met one of the CNAs for the first time.  Within 5 seconds, the first thing he brought up was my height.  I felt the anger as I always do and I choked it down like I always do.  I mean, I get it, it’s a noticeable feature, but I’m so tired of my entire existence being diminished to my height.  I had to remind myself that we are all going through a hard time.  It’s so hard to not take those things personally because they are about my person.  But I know I am more than what I look like. 

Today I am grateful to remember who I am.  Following up on the previous point, I know when someone is feeling weak or down in some aspect of their lives they will focus on the easy target.  I am short but that is not who I am.  I have accomplished a lot in my life and none of that has to do with how I look.  Just because it is your focus, that is not mine.  It hurts being the one to take it and have to choke back my anger about it but if I want to move forward, I have to remember their initial reaction says more about who they are than who I am. Their shallowness and inability to see through external appearance is their deficit, not mine.  I am strong, I am smart, I have a message to share and your opinion doesn’t matter on that topic.

Today I am grateful to incorporate the lesson that we can have the same experience differently.  We can be together and take away two different experiences at the same time.  No matter how much effort I put into making the person see it my way, they won’t.  Their experience is based on their interpretation which is the culmination of their other experiences.  I don’t need to accept negative behavior toward me as a result and I don’t need to pretend it’s ok.  I don’t need to accept someone else’s agreement with it either.  I am allowed my experience the same as they are and it doesn’t make me crazy if they don’t see it my way—and it doesn’t make their interpretation correct either.  And that is FINE.  Letting the world move forward regardless is letting the ego go and stepping into my own identity.

Today I am grateful to know it is ok to do what I need to do.  I’ve seen a lot of cardinals lately so I finally looked up their spiritual meaning.  I’ve knew they were messages from our loved ones who have passed, but they also mean connecting with our purpose, our home, setting boundaries, and manifesting.  I didn’t know those latter points and it floored me.  I’ve been questioning my worth and how to move forward and asking why I’ve been faced with the same challenges repeatedly, and I see now that it has been up to me to make the decision.  We can face the same situation over and over again but until we do it differently, we will get the same result.  We have to decide differently.  So, the universe has been telling me to decide and now it wants me to know that not only is it time, it is necessary to do so.  My gut is right and I can trust.  It is time to make the decision that best benefits my sanity and my home instead of anyone else.  And that decision will manifest what I need.    

Today I am grateful to understand an aspect of the universe in a new way.  The last few weeks have been challenging and I found myself emotionally drained and compromised.  Even communicating with my husband has been difficult and it culminated in an absolute screaming breakdown from me.  A few days have since passed and I see things a little differently.  Sometimes we have to hit our lowest to eliminate all the distraction and possibility and to work with what is.  Sometimes it’s a reminder that things have a way of working out.  “This too shall pass” rings in a new way for me.  Two days ago I was in a heap on the floor unable to breathe I was crying so hard and suddenly things are heading toward ok again.  Time changes things—good or bad is irrelevant—but things will not look the same.  Give it time.

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead!

Feeling Like Myself

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So much of our daily life revolves around the image we project to the world.  And I understand that.  We are all trying to survive and we are doing it in ways that we were taught.  We are looking for safety and we have all been trained from birth that the only way to be safe is to be what is expected.  We have also been trained that the only way to find safety is with people and in order to be with people we feel like we need to be like them.  That last part is also biology so, I mean, we can’t totally blame training.  Regardless, we go through life feeling like we have to be a certain way in order to be accepted but our inner knowing tells us that there is something more.  We spend a majority of our time feeling off, doing something to either numb ourselves to fit in or simply ignoring the warning signs to be accepted all while we know something doesn’t feel right.  We hide facets of who we are.

I had a conversation the other day about conspiracy theories.  I don’t subscribe to all conspiracy theories, but there are a few that have always piqued my interest and it just so happened that this conversation was about one of those things.  This was an unusual moment because it was with one of the last people in the world I would have thought believed this way on the matter but I felt myself lighting up.  Any stigma I had in my mind either about sharing my beliefs on the matter or about this person’s ability to believe those things as well went away.  The words flowed and I exposed a side of myself that I don’t normally share.  We all compartmentalize our behavior, but I will tell you that unleashing the whole me was the most invigorating feeling I’ve had in a while. 

So, the topic of the conversation honestly isn’t important, but what I got from it was.  The moment I shared this side of myself in an arena I normally NEVER would, I felt real.  I’m normally very careful about what I project to that side of my world but I felt bold enough to let my guard down and it hit me: I need more.  I need more output of who I am.  I need more joy.  I need more movement.  I need more of THAT energy, the energy that aligns with me, not the idea of me.  It felt like finding a well after wandering through a desert for years.  Suddenly I was genuinely animated and not putting on a show.  And holy crap, aside from when I’m writing, I don’t feel that in person very often.  I can forgive myself because that is something we all do.  But that feeling of being seen for who I am was like a drug. 

I felt more alive in those moments than I have in 20 years in my career.  I felt more alive than I have at the completion of any project I’ve done and it was all because I shared a component of myself.  If all it takes to feel alive is acknowledging who we are and letting that person flow, then count me in.  Now, I will not discredit the absolute joy I’ve gotten from sharing my story here—in fact, the feeling is very similar—but there is something different when it’s in person, when you’re feeling your energy flow face to face with someone.  It’s an exchange you don’t always get behind a computer screen.  So I highly recommend it.  Even if it isn’t someone you think would accept you that way, they may be putting on a show as well—because we ALL do it. 

As fate would have it, I drew a card after that and it was “Behind the Mask.”  Naturally I believe in signs from the universe and that to me was absolute validation for what I was feeling.  The card talks about being more authentic at all times in order to let your light shine through.  But the interesting part of the interpretation was the part about letting go of the false condemnation and hatred of self. That’s when the other light went off.  The only reason I’ve never tapped into that type of in person energy before is because of the hiding and I have been hiding (we all do) because we are trained that showing our real selves isn’t safe.  I’ve been the recipient of that before, ridiculed and mocked for being who I am.  But I never considered that I internalized it to the degree of condemning and hating myself. 

We don’t like to admit who we are because deep down we feel like we aren’t worthy of being accepted as we are.  We feel like we are worthy when someone tells us we are worthy.  The secret is, we ALL feel that way.  Some of us are lucky enough to have a moment like I’ve described where the feeling of letting ourselves be seen is validated.  The truth is it took 37 years for me to have that moment.  The other truth is it took that long because I’ve held back that side of me for over 20 years.  So the most important lesson aside from needing more of that output, more of that connection, and more of that self-acceptance is to do it sooner.  Do it now.  Don’t hesitate.  There will always be the risk that you make a “fool” of yourself, but you may be surprised.  Your ability to share may awaken that in someone else too.  THAT is what we are here to do: wake up!  

We Know It’s a Lie

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At work the other day we had the official welcome announcement about the merger with another hospital in our area.  I listened to hear what they had to say about this newest venture, roughly a year after we joined the same group, and I felt a serious sense of déjà vu.  As the new CEO discussed this latest acquisition with the CEO, the exact same story played out.  I mean, the same goals, the same plan, the same everything came out.  It felt completely practiced—and honestly, maybe that’s a good thing in situations like this because it’s consistent.  The goal is clear and it would be the same blah blah blah.  But what got to me is the messaging is about serving the community even though we cover a huge area and the words were exactly the same.  It felt fake.

How much of what we take in on a day to day basis is real?  Honestly, do we even know how to be real anymore?  I’m not so sure.  Every message is curated and refined and practiced and serves a purpose.  I don’t know if we can handle reality.  I was raised by entrepreneurs from a generation where someone’s word meant something.  Where people believed and when they spoke they stood behind their message.  Here I was listening to a beautiful message—but it was the same one.  How is it possible to take such vastly different organizations and treat them exactly the same?  We’re starting from different points so our actions HAVE to be different.  The same can be said for what we sell to each other.  We don’t want to tell the truth because we are afraid people won’t accept us as we are. 

When it comes to our day to day, finding what is real has to come from inside.  Learning to connect with people has to be genuine.  I’m guilty of not knowing how people will receive me and trying to put on a façade I think will gain acceptance.  We all want to be accepted.  But I see how the world we created isn’t real.  It’s an image.  If we want it to be real, we need to get to the roots again and learn to celebrate what blooms.  I feel like the world IS starting to wake up and we no longer want to see the pretty picture.  We want the truth.  There is something stirring in all of us that knows deep down we need the truth in order to move forward.  We are so trained to look at the negative aspects of our lives because we are sold ways to make it perfect.  What if we started looking at ways to perfect how we feel in our skin?  What if we are sold ways to see what IS as pefect?

This world as it stands to day is going through massive upheaval and so many people think it’s because of their actions.  That is true—what is happening to day is a direct result of our actions and the actions of generations millenia before us.  But the upheaval is about more than cause and effect.  It’s about awakening and realizing the way we live today isn’t sustainable, it doesn’t work.  There was a time it felt like something good was happening but as we dig through, our global history is bloody, and about dominance and power, and ego.  Our souls know that we are capable of more than that.  So when we start seeing or hearing messaging that sends out a trigger or doesn’t feel quite right, it’s real.  We were just taught to ignore it and accept what we are told.  I’m here to ask you to start listening to that trigger again. 

I know how terrifying it is to be vulnerable.  I know the shame it brings about and the stigma’s that arise but I will tell you that there is a tipping point where none of that matters.  You realize the outside doesn’t get to see nearly as much of you as you do and it is far more important to open up to what is inside of you and to be the person you are meant to be.  Liking yourself becomes more important than someone else liking you.  It’s more important than acquiring another thing, or appearing a certain way.  We can only break through the veil if we lift our own first.  It’s uncomfortable because we are navigating some new territory, but it is worth it.  Spread that message because the world needs it.      

Getting What We Need

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Continuing on the path of healing, I want to share a little epiphany I had.  A key trait of martyrdom is self-sacrifice and the “nobility” in putting your needs last.  I remember always hearing about the struggles and the things my mother gave up throughout her life, some a necessary part of life, some a trauma response, but some completely unnecessary and merely out of habit.  After having that level of sacrifice engrained for so long, it became a habit for me to feel immense guiltitude (guilt and gratitude) over everything my mother did for me whether it was making my lunch as a kid or support in any form.  I felt everything I needed from her was taking away from her somehow.  So I over compensated on the gratitude and went even further to make sure I did as much as I could on my own. 

I’ve realized how twisted much of that behavior was.  I felt guilty for asking for things I needed but my mother would get me things I never asked for.  Believe me, I genuinely appreciated all of it, and I didn’t lack for much.  But what I did get wasn’t always exactly what I needed.  So much of my life was spent getting what she THOUGHT I needed.  I mean, I remember there was a time we made some bad financial choices and we were down on our luck.  We needed a place to stay and my parents opened their doors to us.  And we appreciated it so much and tried to give back as much as we could through paying some rent and buying food and cleaning—normal stuff.  But my mom took it upon herself to start cooking meals for us every night regardless of the hours we worked and then got mad if we didn’t eat what she prepared. 

That type of behavior is a specific kind of martyrdom and gaslighting.  It’s not like we didn’t need help—we just needed a different kind of help.  What happens when you need a pain reliever and someone gives you an antacid? Not a bit of relief.  The same can be said for any scenario like this.  It isn’t like you don’t need help and yes, you need to be grateful for the help you get, but if it isn’t helping fix the need, then what good is it?  It’s wasted energy.  That isn’t to discredit what people can do but that is something to be said about people who want to act in a way that doesn’t fully support the need and demand appreciation for either exacerbating the problem or not fixing it.  This isn’t about ego and proving what you did, it’s about putting that aside and recognizing what someone needs.

When you are trained to accept what someone believes you need, it’s easy to lose sight of what your instincts are telling you.  It’s easy to accept what someone tells you is enough.  It’s easy to believe that there are limits on what you’re capable of.  Do not let someone try running in your shoes because they will never understand what you need and you can never make them understand something they haven’t experienced.  Even if they have experienced what you have, they haven’t experienced it in your way.  Their definition of what will work for you is theirs.  Reclaim what you need and reclaim those instincts.  Do not let anyone believe that asking for what you need makes you selfish and do not let them make you think that they know what you need.      

The Pain of Healing

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Healing work is ironically one of the most painful things we do.  I used to think it was this beautiful experience of releasing and allowing.  The reality is it is more about standing up and facing everything, looking that pain in the eye and learning to either accept and release it or learning how to tell it its power over you is over.  It is cutting away at the self-imposed strings we’ve created between ourselves and that shadow and admitting we were the ones tying the cords.  And it is doing that over and over again until you believe it, until you feel it in your bones.  That is the painful part.  Just when you think you’ve mastered it, something comes back again.  That is the path and we are shown the same things until we truly learn.

One of the traumas I’ve been healing is a generational thing, specifically with my mother, where we live in martyrdom.  We have this unhealthy expectation where sacrificing all of our wants precludes us or indebts us to others having to fulfill our wants.  Then we live in misery for not having the life we want and lash out whenever things are inconvenient.  A small example is I used to FLIP out with driving—I still do get mad because people struggle with the basics, but I digress—to the point where it felt like a personal attack every time someone cut me off.  It took me years to understand it was about control and I was focusing my energy outside rather than on what was really bothering me.

Back to the mother stuff.  I learned early on that what I really needed didn’t matter.  I was taught you give all of yourself and if you don’t, you’re selfish.  I was taught the people who got what they needed were either lucky or selfish.  My mother was raised this way and she was reminded over and over again of her mistakes from her mother—specifically how my mother’s mistakes made her mother look bad.  I will give it to my mom, she didn’t pass on that part of her trauma, but she did pass on the confusion about relationships and who serves what purpose.  Put another way, she taught me to ignore what I needed in favor of what other people needed and to expect them to fulfill my needs.  And it makes sense, she never learned to take care of herself because of her mother.  She thought if you were “good” enough you would get what you wanted.  My grandmother went to her grave angry that she didn’t get what she wanted in life and that she sacrificed what she wanted in hopes she would be worthy.  I can no longer repeat that pattern.

I had to learn about inherent worth on my own and that changed everything.  That made me aware of who I am and how to fulfill my own needs and desires.  That cleared the path for me to fulfill my purpose because part of our need is to express who we are.  When we express who we are we create space for the world to do the same. The more I got into the habit of self-expression I understood self-care because that is how I figured out what I actually needed—unconditional love and the chance to be who I am.  I didn’t want to have to appear a certain way anymore.  I didn’t want to have to hope someone would take care of me.  I didn’t want to be a Cinderella hoping my prince would save me.  I wanted to live my life and I wanted to LOVE my life.

For a long time I felt so angry at having to hide who I was, at having to be the quiet kid, the one who never caused any trouble.  I was angry at being told my joy and excitement meant I was out of control and too loud or that it made me a bimbo.  I feel things intensely, both the good and the bad, so when I feel joy, I express it LOUD and with exuberance.  Life is meant to be felt and in feeling it wholly we allow it to move through us.  It took a long time to not give a damn if I was “too much” for some people.  I got angry with my mother for making me curb my childhood in order to appear a certain way.  It took a long time to understand she didn’t know any better when she passed on these patterns.  Part of my healing was learning to not go in guns blazing with her—she didn’t even know what she was doing.  I realized the best healing I could do was to continue to express myself.

So, as I work through this, my mother healing physically, and me healing the generational stuff inside of me, I know I will have moments that will bring me back to that anger and that feeling of unworthiness.  I’ve made a promise to myself to make sure my needs are met by myself and to remember that I am capable.  I made a promise to myself to not give a damn about what things look like.  This is life—who the hell says it has to look any way at all?  Life isn’t for looking it is for living.  And the more I heal the past of shame with self-expression, the more open I feel to experiencing what life has to offer.  That is my wish for all of us—not that we all have generational mother trauma.  I wish us all healing and self-acceptance and that loud, beautiful, joyous life we can’t wait to take a bite out of.  If that means saying, “I will not repeat this again” in the face of fear until I die, so be it.  I will fight for my needs and I hope you will too.