Sometimes it takes a big unexpected event to truly wake up. Without it, we may pass through life only partly conscious, only partly alive.
The beginning of this year, I came to discover a truth that turned my world completely upside down. What I had imagined as my future was suddenly taken away without a say and with it my sense of self dissipated away, quickly. I went from what I thought was blissfully happy to suddenly my engagement, to the man I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with, coming to end.
Now six months later, I am in a much better place; somewhere along the initial stages of a path that is bound to a place of healing and self discovery. Along with the emotional ups and downs I still experience almost daily, I have discovered things about myself I never would have if I had not been pushed to such an emotional breaking point. I, for the first time in my life, started to look deeper within and came to realize that I don’t truly know myself in all of its complexity and I have much to learn. There were things I had not reflected on for many years (if ever); my feelings about myself, my fears, my past, my upbringing and my lingering pains.
Of course this realization did not come easy to me. It was not apparent that perhaps I was dealing with a lack of self-love. I was very successful in many aspects of my career and in my accomplishments. I had been told by strangers, coworkers, managers or dates that I was an impressive individual and perhaps even rare among females today, so how could I be someone who did not think highly of myself? It took a lot of reading, self reflecting and digging into my past to realize that the drive and motivation behind my work was to ultimately seek the approval, and therefore the acceptance, of others. This included everyone from parents, lovers, coworkers and myself. Even people from my past, though no longer in my life, were still hiding in the shadows of my mind and pushing for a strong need in me to prove them wrong – subconsciously. I did not think I was good enough as is. I thought I needed to have something external, some accomplishment, to feel loved or accepted. I was hiding behind it all, protecting myself from exposing who I was on the inside – the vulnerable and the hurt little girl.
For so long I had gone through my life never even scrapping the surface of what was hidden away in a mental box never to be opened. It was not until I was suddenly fully exposed, hurt to the core with nothing to hide behind, with an undeniable failure staring straight in my face, that I learned I was not as strong as I once thought I was. I felt lost and alone. Suddenly, anything I thought that made me special, completely melted away in this one moment with this one discovery. I felt completely stripped of any feelings of worth.
With each day, I picked up some of the pieces wherever I could find them. Desperately holding on, wanting to believe I could put myself back together as before. But with time and seeking advice from authors and others with similar experiences, I learned to look deeper. The more I started to understand my own basic needs, my need for self-love and self acceptance, the more my focus started to shift away from the failure I was facing to slowly focusing on comforting myself with awareness and a sense of hope.
This small seed of hope has since slowly grown with each day, bringing with it more awareness and kindness towards myself. Self love and self acceptance are what I strive for now, what I wish and long to accomplish. My world has since opened up and become about a journey for me – to fully love myself with all of my vulnerabilities and perfect imperfections.