Updated: Jun 28
Like most people I have been through ups and downs in my life, some more extreme than others. In most of those times, there has usually been someone who told me that I was responsible for it. Until just recently, I was always offended by that comment. I have a background in law, family care, and trauma, and am now as you know a Mediator. To me those words sounded like victim shaming, which infuriated me and made me feel small all over again. Total BS!
But then I had a breakthrough. I was responsible! Let me be clear, I was absolutely not responsible for someone else's actions; but I was responsible for how I reacted to them. I was not responsible for someone being abusive; but I was responsible for not removing myself from situations when I could have. I was not responsible for people judging me without knowing much; but I was responsible for holding on to trauma, shame, fear, and anxiety, and allowing it to keep me stuck. In short I was responsible for myself, and even better I had the power to turn those negative things into experiences that would empower me.
One evening, I was sitting quietly recalling how carefree and self-assured I was as a child and how I just knew certain things without a doubt. I absolutely believed in myself. I missed that brave, confident little girl. For several years I had felt far from any of those qualities. Apparently no one really knew how far, so they didn't reach out. Sitting alone in that little quiet room, I remembered that girl, and contemplated how I could get back to that kind of happy.
After some time, the lightbulb went on again! I still was that girl, only more mature and wiser. I had the power to refuse to "buy in" when that little voice was trying to tell me I wasn't good enough, or I didn't deserve good things, or I would fail. It was NOT true! It wasn't true when I was a kid and it wasn't true now. This little negative voice was my worst enemy, and I had the power to change it. I resolved to taking my power back!
First step, I had the power to rewire my inner dialogue. I started changing negative thoughts into empowering thoughts. It was hard at first to become aware when that voice started creeping in, and consciously shift it. Over time and with practice it became easier. I remind myself each day, sometimes each hour, how creative and gifted I am. I remind myself how brave and compassionate I am. Most importantly, I remind myself that I have loved other people deeply, in and through very tough circumstances, even when they didn't love themselves...and that I am worthy of that kind of love too. I remind myself that I have made a positive difference. And that difference may mean something to a lot of people, but it may mean everything to someone. The same is true for you.
I am sharing this brief memory of my journey because I hope it helps my clients, and of course you, because you're reading this blog. It is intended as a reminder of sorts that all is not lost, just because you feel lost at the moment. And that endings really can transition into the most beautiful of beginnings.
If you resonate with this story, I am happy to be part of your tribe. If you are on the journey to loving yourself, my advice is be patient and kind to yourself. This is MIT level stuff, not easy but totally worth it. And one last point to remember; for all the negative things I experienced, I was also responsible for the good things that came out of them.