Finding Strength from Within
Lately I’ve been fighting life. Family, friends, community, work …everything and everyone. And it’s time to stop.
The fights haven’t been literal (at least, not often). They’ve been internal struggles and (usually) the problems only exist in my own mind. I’ve been in a place of not being comfortable in my own skin and not being authentically me. You’d think by my age I’d have this whole “ME” thing figured out but I’m just finally scratching the surface of the me I can be.
If you don’t have the internal “Am I worthy?” question, you may not get this post at all. But, for those of you who understand that question, of why we ask ourselves that, you will understand the struggle is real. Sometimes it goes away and we simply “are” – we exist as easily as everyone else seems to. Get that. SEEMS to. No one is perfectly happy and content with themselves all the time. But those of us with self-worth issues, we fight against ourselves. Sometimes daily. Continuously.
Why?? Why do we beat ourselves up? Why do we believe we’re not worthy of love or happiness or anything good? Why do we question the affirmations given to us? Why do we argue when someone gives us a compliment?
For much of my life I’ve looked for and, honestly, depended on external validation. I only thought I could be special or beautiful or smart or generous or [insert positive adjective here] if someone else told me. The notion that I could believe those things – that I really WAS those things – even if no one else believed it or said it was ludicrous to me. If I believed I was this wonderful person and no one else validated those beliefs, I had to be delusional or conceited, right? Because if no one else could say it about me, it must not be true. Right?
Wrong! So very very wrong.
Finding My Inner Strength
Not long ago a very dear friend gave me a simple word, one that has become my mantra and daily meditation. Plain and simple, it is the word:
I won’t go into detail on how I was given this word or his personal story because that all requires a special amount of attention and love. The important part for this post is the impact that little word has made in my life. When I’m stressed, controlling, intensely crazy, or negative to myself, I say over and over until I relax: “Just…BE”.
Simple as it might sound it’s also extremely complex. Enlightening. Load lightening. Fulfilling and emptying. This single word centers and grounds me while also removing the emotional baggage that I don’t need to be carrying around. It reminds me that I don’t have to impress anyone else, I don’t have to look for their approval, I simply need to exist as I was created.
The very nature of BEing is accepting yourself as is. It is not allowing the little disappointments in life to pull you from your internal happiness. It is doing the things that make you happiest, while not hurting others in the process. It is doing what you know to be good and right and positive, regardless of what others might say – or not say in my case.
A Dose of Reality
This past week (while I was quiet online), I had to make a tough personal choice. Or, rather, I didn’t have to make the choice – I simply did what was very natural for me. And I didn’t care what others thought, what they might have said behind my back, whether anyone would be offended or put off by my actions. I did the things I believed needed to be done. For once, I didn’t need anyone verifying my actions. Or telling me I was good or right. Or giving me permission.
And I feel…liberated. I feel like I was truly myself and the world didn’t end. I wasn’t stoned or ostracized or excommunicated. No one called me stupid or ridiculous for following my heart. Even better, post-event, I was told many positive things from several people. I heard words like “sweet”, “caring”, “wonderful”, “a healing hand” and “amazing”. If that’s not affirmation, I don’t know what is!
But, here’s the kicker…I didn’t need the affirmation. I KNEW those words were true – true about me. I knew I was doing the right thing because it was what came naturally and it was for someone else’s betterment. There was nothing self-centered about my actions. I didn’t ask anyone to validate me. I simply was – and me being is a good thing.
Where to Now?
Continuing to move forward, of course! I can’t honestly say this was the definitive turning point for me. But it will have a huge impact on me.
I know that I can follow my heart and my instincts and the world will not implode. I’m not the big a deal in the grand scheme of things. To the people who matter, I realize now that I’m special and that I’m good in their eyes. And to the people who don’t approve…they simply don’t matter.
Not anymore. Not to me.
I haven’t done this in a while but I think this post begs for it. So, here are some images that have spoken to me on this topic. Maybe one will help you – just as a reminder or maybe one will become a new mantra for your life. Go forward in your life. Find joy. Allow happiness. Just…BE.
XO – T.