This quote has been a major motivator for me in 2017. In fact, do yourself a favour and go read anything by Brene Brown – she is amazing. I’m onto my third book of hers at the moment and the growth and acceptance I’ve felt within since doing so, has been colossal. Here’s why.
I am a Jedi-level “Runner from my problems”.
In 2014, I packed up my life and ran away. I ran away to try and remember who I was before I got into a 7-year relationship that seemed to redefine me in some ways. I put all my happiness-eggs into the basket that was my relationship, and when that basket broke, I broke. Without realizing, I had put all my fragile self-worth from a tumultuous childhood onto the success of my relationship and how it looked to the outside world; like that was proof that I was good enough, and worthy of love, if he deemed it so and everyone else thought we were ‘perfect for each other’ (with little thought to whether I even believed that myself). But when it all fell apart, something inside told me that there was a big change coming, and I needed to release the anchor and head out into the storm and find answers. I knew there was more under the surface than just a bad break-up that was affecting my feelings of worthiness, but I wasn’t sure where to find it.
Big lesson of 2016: We are all a culmination of what we tolerate in our life. We attract the energy we give out.
Last year, after getting out of a relationship I wasn’t ready to be in and breaking a good man’s heart (and feeling pretty rubbish about doing so), I came into contact with my first single-gal kryptonite, “The Fuckboy”. I exhausted so much wasted energy into feeling disappointed, frustrated and disrespected by an individual who was only treating me in the manner that I was willing to accept. If I weren’t in such an emotionally damaged state at the time that we met, (feeling like I’m not worthy of a good man’s love), I would never have tolerated the games and excuses; but I did, so he responded by showing me the same low level of respect I was demonstrating that I deserved. I attracted an emotionally detached, “fill-in-the-time-until-you-find-something-real” kind of person, because thats exactly who I felt I was at that time too. And then somehow I felt rejected because this person didn’t see me as the absolute best thing since sliced bread, worthy of prioritizing, when I didn’t feel like I was that person to begin with anyway. It all becomes so clear when you look back on it. But for a while there I kept going back for more, foolishly believing that there was some lesson buried under this shit storm of head-games and I was just missing the point. Really all I needed to do was pull the plug and reclaim my power, which I’m proud to report I finally did. *victory cheer*
After a string of relationships that didn’t work out in 2016, I took a break from my usual routine. I stopped using dating apps for a quick-fix “self confidence boost”, and stayed the fuck home and meditated on the root cause of my fears and doubts when it comes to love. Instead of going out and getting drunk when I was feeling down, I stayed clear headed and read books to understand myself better. I started writing out things I remember from my childhood, moments and situations which made me feel “bad” (in various forms) and practiced compassion with myself for being a young child who didn’t know any better, and put myself back in that moment and comforted the scared little child who was being blamed for problems outside of her control. I tried to unlearn the bad, reinforce the good, and create a new kind of truth for myself. I waded back into the swamplands that is the deep dark shame-filled corners of myself, and forgave myself.
15 countries, over 80 books and coming on 3 years later, I’m only just starting to really dig deep and understand a lot of the foundations of doubt I’ve existed and built a life on. The foundations which for so long have dictated to my brain who I am and what I am worthy of, and now I am learning to question whether they are real or not, instead of blindly agreeing with the big bully of negative self-talk inside my own head. And for the first time in forever, I do truly feel like I’m standing on my own two feet. All the work I’ve been doing by reading, journalling, sitting at home and sometimes crying my eyes out, have gifted me with an understanding and acceptance I’ve never truly experienced before. I don’t need anyone else to validate me, I AM ENOUGH ON MY OWN. And it’s damn powerful to know I’m owning my story yet adapting it for a healthier future, all for myself.
Here’s the flip side.
At the start of this year I was doing my Beyonce-inspired dance of self-love & self-sufficiency inside my big bubble of not needing anyone else for nothing, and was feeling pretty proud of myself for not allowing anyone else’s opinions, judgements or affections affect me. I am healed, I thought, I no longer desire for a relationship to feel satisfied, I feel so wonderful in my own company again, woohoo! I am a goddess, I am awesome right here in this moment all on my own. And this is true. But then this quote came into my life and it won’t leave me alone:
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy – the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
And this is when I realized that healing myself is a two part process (well, it’s more like a 30 part process of ups & downs and merry-go-rounds but for me there are two major stages); I need to learn to love and accept myself wholeheartedly; and THEN learn to allow myself to be vulnerable again. Part one is yucky, sure; but part two is straight up terrifying. Anyone who’s had their trust or heart broken before can definitely relate to that feeling. And it’s easy enough to talk yourself out of it when fear takes hold, run and hide and remove the risk of ever getting hurt again by isolating yourself from love and belonging and joy and all that happy rainbow shit, but then you’re missing out on all the amazing joy that comes with it. I have too hastily given up on every loving relationship I’ve had since that one big relationship, because as soon as it starts to get real, and they start to get too close, I don’t want to gamble with my heart so I bolt. But by numbing myself and removing the risk of being hurt, I also remove the possibility of that truly wondrous feeling of love and belonging, which is a basic human need for us all.
So, in 2017 that’s where I’m at. I’ve stopped searching for distractions and people to fill the hole within me, and I’m filling it myself. I am no longer on a mission to prove that single Belle is equally as awesome as relationship Belle, and I’m just me; open, vulnerable, and often far too honest. I don’t need to be nurturing someone else to feel validated, I am nurturing myself first. I’m not looking for a relationship to make me feel worthy, I’m surrounding myself with wonderfully fun friends who allow me to be me, who listen when I share my story, and teach me the magic in not keeping people at a safe distance. Part one is coming along nicely, part two is still a work in progress but I finally see the allure in allowing myself to go with the light, and be vulnerable. After all, vulnerability is the most accurate measurement of courage, and I’m a fearless warrior woman, yo.
Happy friday 😀
PS: And some food for thought before I go…
All of the answers to all your problems, can be found within. Do you believe that?