“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” ~Albert Einstein
I woke up one morning and realized that I didn’t know who I was. Over the past 30 years, I have realized that I was someone else.
I was like a chameleon blending in with the people around me. I don’t want to make a fuss, cause trouble for others, or hurt myself.
My goal was to become the person that people wanted me to be.To be recognized, loved, and liked by others. I now realize that I was looking for something external to validate what I needed to give myself. I needed to know who I was. I needed to like myself, love myself, know myself.
When you realize that you don’t like yourself and you don’t know who you are or what you like, change begins. Begin to identify areas where you used people or things to fill voids that only you could fill. Alcohol numbs pain, sex lessens loneliness and makes you feel valued. By helping others and solving external problems, you no longer need to look at yourself.
I had no idea this was what I was doing. To be honest, I wanted to help people. Turns out I was projecting outside what I needed to do inside. We tend to do this subconsciously. If you are constantly nurturing and encouraging others, but inside you feel lonely, sad, or wondering if this is what life is all about, you may be doing this too.
Always pay attention to what you give to others. That’s probably what you need to give yourself. Be careful what you say to others because you will likely need to say it to yourself.
The journey to discovering myself has been a long one. Sometimes it was fun, and sometimes it was hard. I have explored different activities and hobbies. I look back on activities that I enjoyed as a child and bring them back into my life. Challenge yourself with something you’ve always wanted to do, or something you’ve always wanted to try. I kept what brought me joy and peace and eliminated what lowered my energy.
I’ve also done this with people, work, and my own thoughts. The voice in my head was the hardest to let go. But after years of working with them consistently, my inner dialogue ended up being much better.
Yes, the criticism still arrives, but I see what it is and am curious about it. 99% of the time, it doesn’t. I see what it’s trying to tell me.
I often ask myself: Who said that to you and when? Oddly enough, my 30-year-old self’s belief system, constructed as a child, concluded that I wasn’t good enough and was only valuable when I gave something to someone else. It’s really funny when you realize that you’re an adult body that unconsciously cares about the beliefs you nurtured as a child.
I also needed time to reflect on the role my actions and thoughts played in my life. In order to get a different result, I had to make the decision to basically do the opposite.
For example, instead of waiting for people around me to start respecting and prioritizing me, I had to start respecting and prioritizing myself. I needed to identify my wants, respect my needs, and set boundaries in my relationships.
Instead of sleeping at home, I had to start waking up earlier than my son. I had to nurture myself at the start of the day before the world pulled me together.
Instead of hiding the truth, I had to muster up the courage to speak it out. To share my feelings, rock the boat if necessary and trust me I wasn’t “crazy”.
Instead of sneaking around and trying to please everyone, I had to understand that this was impossible.
I had to start loving myself instead of hating myself.
Instead of being closed off, I had to open up to myself, to others, and to the world.
Instead of getting stuck, I had to take small steps to discover who I was and who I wanted to be. Spend time, create art, say positive things to yourself in front of the mirror while brushing your teeth, or just meditate for three minutes a day.
Before I did the opposite, I never thought life would be so much fun. I am here to say that life is really fun and you are not alone. And I am here to tell you that by taking small steps, you can begin to change your life in ways you never even knew were possible.
It takes courage, compassion, consistency, and dedication, but even if you start today, when you look back in a few years, you won’t even notice yourself or your life.
Magic begins to happen when you start believing in something greater than your beliefs about yourself and this world.