Have you ever just known there was something “off”, you’re happy, you have a great career, a great relationship, great friends and family, but inside you still know something is slightly off – you’re not happy?
I’ve done a lot of self discovery work and I’d feel better for a short while, but would find myself spiralling, feeling sluggish, low energy, feelings of depression coming and going. I’d put all of my skills to work, changing my language, reviewing my goals, setting intentions but it would only last for a short while.
I felt like there was a black hole, something I couldn’t quite touch, couldn’t quite see, but something I could feel. There was a profound sadness that stayed with me. I began to learn that I wasn’t expressing my emotions, that I was locking myself away – fear of not being loved, fear of not being accepted, fear of failure, fear of being hurt. As I started the process of “feeling”, which seems a ridiculous concept for a 30 something year old female, I thought I would be engulfed with emotions. It hurt and I had spent so many years building walls to prevent myself from feeling, I wasn’t sure if I could do it, if I could allow myself to be that vulnerable. I didn’t think I could allow anyone to truly get inside.
The walls I had built were high and thick, impenetrable. On the surface, everything looked great, but underneath, I was experiencing constant feelings of sadness and loneliness. On the outside I was a strong, tough warrior, no one and nothing would get me down, but on the inside I was scared, too scared to love, too scared to let people see the real me – fear of rejection.
Last year I began the process of taking down the wall. I didn’t think I would survive it. There were days I thought I would never stop crying. I’d get some progress and let people in, but then I’d get scared and retreat. One step forward, two steps back. Looking back now, I realize it was a process. I could only let go as much as I could, tearing down 34 years of walls, digging into 34 years of hurt wasn’t an easy task and I’m thankful now that I never gave up. I could feel something was off and I was determined to find a solution. This is an area where my stubbornness and refusal to quit payed off nicely 😉
A few months ago, I hit rock bottom. You know it when you’re there. And there’s one great thing about rock bottom, there’s no where to go but up. As I began to feel better, taking care of myself again, one step at a time, one day at a time, I had finally shirked all belief that I had to do this on a set timeframe, based on what someone else thought I should be doing. One of the most challenging things for me was when people I had opened up to about what I was going through, didn’t understand what I was feeling and their comments about me “still feeling that way” hurt even more. But it was a beautiful place for growth. I might have looked like I retreated again, but I had not. In fact, I had begun to dig deeper, but I talked less about it to those I felt would judge me or wouldn’t understand. I began to understand what discernment meant – who to trust.
Not everyone understands your journey, even if they’ve been on their own journey. Expectation is source of all suffering – Tony Robbins. I expected them to understand and when they didn’t or made comments I made that mean that my journey, my experience was wrong “why can’t I get it together” I’d often think. “Why is it so easy for them but so hard for me“. These thoughts were not helping me and I realized were playing even more deeply into preventing me from doing the work I needed to do to heal my life. I made a decision to do the work and share only with my coaches. I needed a space to be myself, to be on the journey as I was, with no expectations of myself or the need to show other people “look, I’m doing it, please accept me“.
I wasn’t walking around thinking this consciously, but my subconscious mind was looking for that approval, love and acceptance by being “good enough” and sharing my journey with those I wanted to connect with. It was only when I stepped back did I begin to gain the clarity that I had believed I wasn’t good enough and that I couldn’t do anything right my entire life. As this was truly how I felt about myself, I attracted people over and over again who were willing to show me, tell me that I couldn’t do anything right and even when they didn’t, I made their comments, words mean that… because my subconscious was always searching for ways to prove that I wasn’t good enough.
When we believe something at our core, we’ll seek out all ways to prove ourselves right. And that keeps us from doing, saying, being the things we desperately want to be. We are held prisoner by these thoughts; typically they go something like this: “I want to be a writer, but because I don’t feel I am good enough or that’s not possible, because _____ told me I wasn’t good enough and the career counsellor at university told me it was a pipe dream and I’d never make money at it. I believed them, because I already believed I wasn’t good enough”.
My belief in myself, despite all outward appearances, was low. “Thou doust thinks she protests too much”- Shakespeare. The louder I was, the more fun I was, the crazier I was, might have fooled some and I fooled myself for a very long time, but the jig was up and it was time to face what I had been missing my entire life… myself.
I became what the world expected me to become – people pleasing, giving up my dreams out of fear of failure and “I told you so”, building others up while secretly I tore myself down, doing and giving constantly and ignoring the girl inside of me who so desperately wanted freedom to be herself, to love and accept herself, to love love and to love life, to see herself as enough, exactly as she was – fun, wild, free.
As I stepped a little more out each day, I found myself having unabashed fun, laughing more from my soul, loving deeper from my heart, renewing and deepening friendships, connecting deeper with family and my husband. It was scary, but at the same time beautiful. I showed up and they loved me harder and deeper than I could have ever dreamed.
And it was then I realized it was never them, it was always me. It was always me that was missing from my life, the real me, kept chained up in a box somewhere inside of that black hole, terrified of loving and being rejected, terrified of not being enough, terrified of being hurt and so I was only there on the surface, it was never them who didn’t accept me, it was me that wasn’t accepting me and trying to be someone I wasn’t to get love, connection, approval and acceptance.
As soon as I showed up, I got that instantly with those who truly loved and cared for me, because they saw the real me in glimpses, they knew who I really was, inside. Those who don’t know me, those who judge me, those who don’t understand my journey, it’s all perfectly ok… because I am me and how could that not be good enough?
I AM Courage.
I AM Love.
I AM Faith.
The most valuable lesson I have learned through all of this is that it really does take a lot of courage to love blindly, to put your trust and faith in others, to allow yourself to feel hurt, to allow yourself to feel love when you’ve been hurt in the past. I always viewed this as a weakness so I tried to change myself to be someone I wasn’t… to pretend that I didn’t care about those things, but at my core, that’s who I am.
This past week at Tony Robbins Date With Destiny, I took the final step in accepting and loving myself as I am… I unlocked the box I was hiding in, I removed the chains, I stepped outside. I wasn’t rejected, I was embraced. And that could only happen when I was brave enough to step out and be rejected. No one could reject me more than I had rejected myself. And when I had courage to take that step, I accepted and it didn’t matter if I was rejected by others because never again, would I reject myself.
“The privilege of a lifetime is to be who you are”. (Thank you to my dear friend and business coach, Jennifer Trask for sending me this a long time ago, it struck a cord in me and I’m excited to say, I’m finally ready to be myself xoxo)
Tonya, lover of love and life.
I love you, Thank you.
PS. I have a Facebook Group for Wild Souled Women – if you are one, or a man or woman who loves a wild souled woman, this is an amazing place to hang out 🙂 I’d love for you to join us 🙂 https://www.facebook.com/groups/1436702273327184/