We can certainly blame others for our words and actions but at the end of the day we own every decision we make. I remember as a small child using someone else as an excuse for my behavior. My mothers response was always the same, “if someone told you to jump off a bridge, would you do it?” Of course my answer was always no. Why as a society do we have the need to place blame on someone? Why do we feel the need to inflict shame on someone already going through a difficult set on circumstances? What the world needs is a little less shaming and a lot more loving and understanding. Which category do you fit into? Are you a shamer or an understander?
The truth can really hurt sometimes. There have been many times in my life that I have allowed the expectations of others to make me feel inadequate. Inadequate doesn’t even seem like the right word. I have allowed others to make me feel embarrassed about who I am. I cringe as I type the words. I’ve often wondered what it would take for me to feel like I was an important, successful human being. What would I have to do to feel like I had significant value? The answer became apparent over the last two weeks. The truth is, I have always been valuable. I am enough exactly the way I am. My importance and value does not depend on a degree I hold or a job title that sits on my desk just because someone else thinks so. My worth is not determined by how perfect I am as a wife or a mother or even a human being based on someone’s evaluation of who I am. I have allowed my value to be determined by others and that has been my biggest mistake. For years I have let people make me feel horrible about myself because I haven’t fit into the little box they’ve tried to stuff me in.You know what? I am bigger than that. I am bigger than that box. I have been blamed and questioned and allowed myself to fall victim to explaining who I am.
I could never, not even for a second, be good enough for the people who judge me. That is what people do like it or not. They make judgements about who they think we should be, what we should be doing and how we should be doing it. People tell me all the time what I will do or how I should be doing something differently. It amazes me. I am 45 years old and STILL I apologize for who I am.
Today I went for coffee. I didn’t put a stitch of makeup on and I wore my favorite yoga pants. It amazes me that we stoop to the point we even tell people how they should or shouldn’t dress. As if we weren’t capable enough to make the right decision on our own. Today I say buzz the hell off. Go away. I am enough and your opinion no longer holds any value. You will not define who I am or whether I have a purpose in this world.
I listened to someone speak at a graduation ceremony and she said something that really clicked. She explained to the students that they would still be given tests in life but they no longer had to worry about receiving a grade from somebody else. She went on to explain, life is in your hands and only you get to determine what your own grade is and what you’re worth. Amazing that I didn’t realize that twenty years sooner.
My new mantra: I am enough just as I am.
I am beautiful without makeup. I am skinny enough. I don’t need a paying job to hold value. I don’t have to be a perfect mom or perfect wife. It’s okay to make mistakes as I learn and grow. I refuse to live by someone else’s standards and let those ridiculous standards determine who I am. I am unapologetically me and only I get to decide my own worth. I am enough in each and every moment. The opinion of others will no longer weigh me down. I am free to be me. I AM FREE. Today is the first day of the rest of my life. This is who I am and if you have a problem with me it’s okay, just keep it to yourself.
Because I am a control freak, my demeanor often reflects that too. I am not outwardly too much of anything. I am a numbed down version of who I should probably be. I don’t like to surrender myself in any situation. That includes matters of the heart or matters of my own will. We all have triggers I guess and last night schoolwork turned me into a loaded gun. I get to that point where I just snap and I hate myself for it in the minutes that follow. It’s hard for me to shake that side of myself off. I hold myself to a pretty high standard and when I act in a way I don’t approve, I take it pretty hard. Sure, it’s easy to say everyone makes mistakes and it’s important to forgive and do better. There are just some lines that should never be crossed. The first time, we just look at the line and it feels awful. Next time we move a little closer and maybe touch it with the bottom of our foot. Eventually we have the confidence to step right over it and never come back. I see that pattern in people all the time. It’s like taking that first drink that leads to a lifetime of debilitating drinking. That’s how it starts and knowing my own limits and not going outside of them is something I’ve always practiced and admired in myself. So what is one to do when that imaginary line has been broken? Is it possible to imagine it there again and promise not to do it again or is it important to be honest and say what’s broken will always be broken and remember how this day feels because of one bad choice and don’t ever make it again. It’s not even something that would be that big of a deal for the average person, but a step out of my comfort zone in this direction was surely a step in the wrong direction. So today, I will try and convince myself it’s okay to make an occasional mistake and make that important promise to myself that I will grow from it and next time choose better. You can never go back but you can choose to remain stuck in a moment or to move forward. I’m going to keep on moving.
How are you feeling today? If you had to choose one word to describe who you are based on the way you are feeling right now, who are you? Give yourself a name. Are you love, peace, hate, anger? If I didn’t believe that we carry around energy and transmit it wherever we go, I sure do believe it today. I went to yoga this morning and we worked on opening our heart chakra. I spent an hour and a half breaking down protective barriers of my heart and opening myself to love and receive love from others. It took exactly 2 minutes after class ended to receive my first test. That is what yoga teaches us, that everyone who comes into our life is there to teach us a lesson. We are told that it is easy to love people who are lovable but how do you fend when you are trying to love someone who doesn’t seem lovable at all?
I wrote a post a few weeks ago about kindness. It has changed titles several times. A woman sent me a message telling me I had to change the wording of the title of my post because she owned the copyright to particular words. Today, weeks later, I received another threatening reminder even after I changed the title immediately days ago. As I left that class feeling all open, I checked my email and bam! Lesson one was staring me right in the face. I felt like I was under attack. Did this woman not even notice my title had changed because she was so focused on projecting her anger and aggression toward me? I responded by asking her politely to stop contacting me and wished her many blessings. Soon after, I came home and was filled with aggression too. I let that woman fill me up with so much of her anger that I became it. I couldn’t believe it. Her misplaced aggression was passed onto another innocent victim through my misplaced aggression. This energy thing is a tricky concept. It is hard to find the perfect balance of giving and receiving. No one can steal your peace. Peace is a calm that resides in each and everyone of us but anger is triggered by more anger. It’s a chain reaction. Next time I hope I will remember to breathe and that people’s words and behaviors are mostly about them and little about me. I need to calmly remind myself to choose peace and forgiveness and to be more responsible for the energy I carry around. I would never intentionally pass around a sour apple so I must think before I react.
So, let’s hear it. Who are you today? I’m ashamed.