Before my divorce, I would have described myself as a wife, mother, college graduate and runner with an insatiable desire to make all things, especially if it involves yarn or fabric. I would have told you how I once kept yarn in my kitchen cabinets instead of pots and pans and how I couldn’t tell a joke to save my life.
And while these words are a good description of the things I’ve been, done and accomplished, I see now that they really don’t paint an accurate portrait of the person I am today or the person I strive to be.
We all come into this world as blank slates. We are shaped and molded by our genes, our environment and our experiences. We adopt our beliefs, which influence our behavior, so we can fit in, be accepted and loved. It’s what we all ultimately want, isn’t it – to be loved? I spent a good portion of my life letting my beliefs go unquestioned, thinking my unhappiness was due to some lack in myself. If only I was thinner, prettier, smarter, funnier, dressed better, knew more about sports or didn’t laugh so loud. I was constantly twisting myself up like a pretzel trying to fit in so others would approve of me.
It’s not a comfortable or pleasant way to live, never believing you are enough, always trying to prove yourself and looking to others for validation of your worth.
I was constantly searching for THE FIX that would make my life better, make Me better. And one day, in a moment of great clarity, I realized that I didn’t need to be “fixed”. There was nothing wrong with me. I was just different. It was a simple revelation that took decades of introspection to bubble up to my conscious, that put me on a new path.
I spent the first half of my life living in fear, fear of failure, fear of not measuring up, fear of rejection, fear of making mistakes, fear of looking foolish, fear of being invisible. I decided to spent the second half of my life living in love. To be open to different perspectives, to see the joy and beauty around me, to let things go, laugh more and most importantly, to quit worrying about what others thought of me and focus on how I could be of service to others.
Changing a lifetime of negative beliefs doesn’t happen in a day, a week or even a year. It’s a lifelong journey. It takes awareness, patience, a sense of humor, compassion and a commitment in a two-steps-forward-one-step-back kind of progression. It’s a balancing act of looking inward to love, accept and forgive myself, warts and all, and know that wherever I am, I am enough. And looking outward with kindness, compassion and gratitude at the wild, messy sea of humanity that we share this planet with and not make assumptions, jump to conclusions, judge others or take things personally because every one of us is acting out from our own fears and desire to be accepted and loved.
As I see it, there are really only two paths in life – love and fear. Fear keeps us small but love lets us shine. This is my journey of stepping into my light.