Learning to Love Myself…
A few years ago the essence of my being was haphazardly thrown into a tailspin…a fundamental shift, if you will…
With the untimely, tragic illness and death of my mother-in-law came what can only be described as a systematic “shutting down” of the role I held as a people pleaser, problem fixer, unifier….
Her death was so sudden, and such a painfully brutal experience to witness that I spent the next subsequent years feeling numbly in denial, more than semidetached from that inner part of myself that has always been my guide and given me comfort….
I sincerely believe this apathy led me to navigate through some of the most trying and eye opening periods of my life. So much heartache occurred within a relatively short span, I honestly began to feel as though life would never fully give me a break again…and were it not for my own Mother’s sudden illness that had my focused attention, I may well have crashed and burned in all my own glory of not knowing how to cope with so much stress, anger, hurt and bewilderment.
But as I mentioned, a fundamental shift also began occurring…
I have always considered myself to be an adaptable, capable and rock solid person. Someone whom everyone else leans on in times of crises. From an early age, I had readily embraced my role as the family mountain, never wanting to intentionally show my own weaknesses. Having been comfortably situated in this magnanimous role for as long as I could recall, I slowly began to feel as though layers were being forcefully stripped away by situations, circumstances and people beyond my control….and suddenly the self-sacrificing made me feel uneasy, uncomfortable and very unhappy.
I found it difficult to be empathetic to those in my circle whom cried victim and “woes is me” when they themselves were to blame for their own unhappiness. I backed away from anyone or anything that felt insurmountable…I could not and would not be a party to anyone else’s problems. My cup felt more than half empty…it felt depleted.
This too made me very unhappy, in fact at times I felt completely miserable, because I now found myself in uncharted waters. Was I not always the one with the solutions, the gentle but firm words of advice, the trouble shooter and dare I say it, “pack mule” for all who needed to feel that they were unable to help themselves….but now instead I found myself unable to be any of that for anyone, least of all for myself. So yes, deep and utter misery would set in…pity party galore with banners, confetti and glitter would ensue on my own behalf.
This was my journey…
my journey of learning to love myself…
I would often ask myself…why? Why was I the one that had the weight of the world thrust upon my shoulders with so much sorrow? Why was I the one who had continually made apologies for the way I allowed other people to treat me…and more importantly, why had I spent so many years, even caring about their happiness when they not only gave little thought to mine, but even their own happiness was rooted in seeing my struggles… My feelings of frustration and sorrow became such that I found it difficult to discern exactly what or whom was to blame for my spiral into such a fickle abyss.
I could either grab myself up by my proverbial bootstraps, dust off the crumbs left behind from the forced peelings of my layers, or I could stay the stagnant course, and continue to exist in a place between a wallowing in my own withered, self-inflicted anguish intermingled with moments of wondrous yet fleeting happiness. It hasn’t been easy, and there have been startling moments of backsliding, but even more astonishing have been the moments of pure grit and determination…a grab life by the horns and hang on for the ride mentality that at times has left me breathless and stunned.
As my 50th birthday looms faintly in the distance, it doesn’t escape me that my fundamental shift has served a higher purpose…that though my faith has been resolutely tested, and I have had to look deeper and longer into my own mirror than I ever thought possible, I am finally making peace with myself. I have decided that it is ok for me to be the mountain, but that it is also ok for me to be the one whom seeks shelter…that if I choose to go out of my way to please any given person, I will do so, knowing that I do it because if brings me happiness….and that in the end, there really is no blame. No blame for those who were allowed to hurt me, and no blame for my allowing them….
I, just as you, are here for the journey. We have been given this incredible gift of life, to learn how to love unconditionally….to not only allow the fundamental shifts to take place, but to realize that the unconditional love begins with loving ourselves first….
And once we are on our way to mastering our self-love we are then able to spread that gift of happiness to those around us. <3
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