We’ve made it halfway through our series, and this is one of the hardest things for me to approach. We’ve touched base on writing mission statements, defining our values, and speaking truth, but this one- well it seems to be a heart wrencher.
You see, I’ve screwed up. Like a hundred times over again. And I still continue to mess up on a regular basis.
There are days when I act like my values don’t exist, and days when I completely let myself down. I don’t like those days, but you know, they’re going to happen and that’s okay. As long as I learn.
When I was young I was taught that “good little girls” not only followed all of the rules, but they also went out of their way to make sure everyone else was happy with what they were doing. If I was making someone unhappy in my actions, then I was being bad. Putting my thoughts or feelings aside, because they may hurt or inconvenience someone else, was an expected characteristic and I took that trait and made it my heart and soul. It was the core of my existence. I was here to make other people happy. Because that’s what good girls do.
So when I was with my dad, I was quiet and kind, and maybe a little silly sometimes, but I didn’t speak up about my feelings on a matter. In fact I questioned my feelings, because if my dad thought something else then that must be the right way. When I was with my sisters I often played the games they wanted to play. I had inner battles on the daily about which sister I would have to let down by saying I was playing with the other (middle child struggles.) And even in letting one down I would often compromise my time and what I wanted to be doing in order to make promises for later play dates in order to appease the “rejected” one. When I was in school I struggled to be friends with the cool kids- which, thankfully, never worked btw. I would question my outfit choices every day, and would mold them based on what others were wearing. Raising my hand in class was never an option, incase one of the popular girls didn’t like the answer I gave, or possibly thought I was smarter than her. But heres the kicker- when they would stand me up at the movie theatre, or mock me in front of my face, or even push their bags over so I couldn’t sit at the lunch table I wouldn’t accept that I don’t want to be friends with girls like that. Instead I tried harder. I questioned what I was doing wrong, why they didn’t like me, and what I needed to change to make them happy. Because, if everyone didn’t like me then I must not be a good person, right? I had to become whatever they wanted me to be, so that they could like who I was. **I’d like to add this for those that need to hear it, so I’m gonna take a detour for a second. The funny part is- it never worked. No one ever really liked me. They tolerated me, and enjoyed having me as their acquaintance, but never really truly liked me. Sure, I picked up the few good friends along the way. But how is anyone supposed to have heart talks with a robot? When I was spending my life appeasing others, I was never a person of my own. I made it impossible for others to relate with me, because I had none of my own passionate interests. I wasn’t able to connect on an emotional level, because I didn’t allow myself to feel. I rarely shared stories about my heartaches and hurts, because no one wanted to listen to that crap anyway (my 8th grade self would be dying from embarrassment of my vulnerability right now.) I never gave myself a chance to be chosen. To be loved. Because I was never actually a person. I was just whatever version of myself others pulled out of me at that moment in time. I could morph and mold into any situation, which sounds slightly ideal, but it never allowed me freedom to discover who I really am. And I’m finding out now that I’m actually pretty cool (I think so anyway) and those that think I’m pretty cool too will come alongside me. And those that don’t, well that’s okay, because they probably aren’t really going to hate me or anything, and at least I’m being me. Okay, back to the real topic now.**
In the midst of these things, I never allowed myself to have an opinion. An idea. A pure motive. A passion. Every thought I had was filtered through “What will they think?”
I’m 27 years old.
I have just recently learned that people like my writing.
I always wrote before, but never wanted to share it.
I have more empathy and compassion than I can hardly contain, and it brings me to tears nearly every day.
I never allowed myself to feel, because I didn’t want to draw the attention to myself.
I have simplified my style and allowed it to be comfortable.
I always went for boldness, because others had to like the way I dressed.
I am capable of having a passion and sticking to it.
I didn’t want to fail, so I had never even tried.
I am worthy of real love. And am learning what that looks like.
The only worth I received was on my looks, so physical love was the only kind I looked for.
There are a lot of ways that I have done myself wrong. A lot of times when I should have stood up for myself and didn’t. Times I deserved to take a chance and wouldn’t allow it. But I can’t change those things in my past.
So, I have to let go. I have to see grace and allow myself the freedom to move forward.
I have to forgive myself, for not being who I deserve to be.
Making a bold move is hard. Realizing your faults is hard. But I deserve more. I really do. So I have to forgive my past self in order to allow my present self to move forward, to grow and learn from those mistakes. And I owe it to her to be better than that. I deserve to be me. And I forgive myself for all of the ways I have allowed mistreatment.
That’s all we can do really. Is to take grace, move forward, and be free.
And, really, what more can we ask for than that.
I hope you’ll forgive yourself today. For one of your past mistakes. And I hope you really mean it, because you deserve to be free of that weight. Truly.