“Nothing has transformed my life more than realizing that it’s a waste of time to evaluate my worthiness by weighing the reaction of the people in the stands.” – Brené Brown
When I’m having trouble coming up with a topic to write about, I often turn to quotes like the one above for inspiration. I type in words relative to what I think I want to write about and thrall through the quotes. Eventually, I will get that hit to the heart—that recognition of relatability—and know that that is what I need to write about.
I thought I would write about dealing with shame and guilt from the past. However, once I go down the burrow of quote-reading, it often takes me to unexpected places, as it did today. I often end up having eureka moments regarding where I’m at in my recovery process that I wasn’t aware of.
Today is one of those days. Upon reading the above quote, I realized that my outward search for wellness, approval and validation has almost come to an end.
Never Good Enough
Like practically all people I know, there is a part of us that feels so inept, so empty of meaning that we spend our entire lives living outside of ourselves, observing other peoples’ reactions to us and allowing those reactions to become our truth. We allow approval or disapproval to mold us into a contortionist version of ourselves. We shift ourselves into uncomfortable and unnatural positions, often mentally, emotionally and physically until we cannot recognize ourselves.
We lose the fluidity and joy of who we are. Instead, we fight an eternal battle with who we think we should be. We wake each day with the goal to be the same as everybody else, because someone, or several people, told us that’s a valiant and productive use of our time. And so, we become lost. Self-hatred takes over and we are not quite sure why.
Where The Feeling Comes From
In my healing process, I discovered that this behavior manifested in myself because I so badly wanted to fit in. Don’t we all? Don’t we all want to be part of something, accepted and loved and agreed with, without conflict and chastisement?
Yes, we do because all that is so comfortable. But I also discovered that my biggest desire is not to be in conflict or chastise myself. Going against my true nature is what causes me the most egregious hurt, pain and dis-ease. Regardless of how many contortionist moves I made to become agreeable to society, the worse I felt on the inside.
The voice of my own nature could not be quelled regardless of how thin I got, how attractive I was, how much money I had, what car I drove, how many friends I had, how much readership I was getting…..the list goes on.
Why Should We Love Who We Are?
My fourteen-year-old daughter just put into words what this piece is all about. As she read my essay, she turned to me and said, “Yes, we hear all the time about how we should love who we are unconditionally. But nobody explains to us why that is a good thing to do.”
Why is it better to be ourselves rather than the same as everybody else?
Because it brings peace like you have never known before. You wake up one morning and something will speak to you, like that quote did to me this morning. You realize that you let go of something that was destroying your own nature. You allowed yourself to take another step forward to your authenticity, spirituality, god, to your own essence or whatever you want to call it. You bring peace to yourself.
And if you hold peace in yourself, you bring peace to others.
Surely, that is what recovery is all about!