I had a super cool a-ha today as I reflected on a series of moments I experienced that made me smile… a ladybug (which holds special meaning in my heart) landing on me, watching a happy puppy swim, spending time with amazing individuals and having incredible soul level conversations. Despite the insanity we are living through right now, I realized how very much I love life, this world and all that dwells on it. It wasn’t always that way though.
I remember years ago, life was not too much fun. I don’t recall feeling connected to the world or finding the beauty or magic in it. I truly felt like I was going through the motions day after day. It was sad. I felt depressed and anxious despite having two beautiful little souls who were, and still are, life’s greatest gifts. I couldn’t love the world and I couldn’t love myself.
Fast forward to almost 12 years ago when I decided to make some changes. One by one. Step by step. As I did, I noticed some very cool shifts happening around me. Life was realigning and I slowly started to see the light again.
The city I had recently moved to was a far cry from the small country town I had spent most of my life in. Although distanced from the small town fish bowl effect that I couldn’t stand, being invisible in the city was not always fun and the underlying energy of competition (image, house, job, accomplishments, kids’ accomplishments, etc… you know – the “keeping up with the Jones’” ridiculousness) was something that never resonated with me but I felt like it was a game I was supposed to be playing. I was missing my family, my friends and my community but I also knew that I wasn’t meant to go back. I had to start over. I had to figure out who I was. I had to learn to find joy and wonder in the world again and I had to learn how to love myself. Simple, right?!?!? (Yup! Just not easy!)
I had a big reality check one day when I heard a mind-blowing earth shattering question on whatever podcast or webinar I was listening to at that time. As it turns out, that was a pivotal day for me. I had a reallllly old belief pattern that likely started when I was bullied in elementary school. It followed me throughout my life in a variety of ways and was reaffirmed when I was sexually assaulted at 18 and then was supported again while in a long term abusive relationship. The day I stopped and asked myself the million dollar life changing question, “Who am I, if I am not the victim?” was the day I began to take my power back and to take responsibility for myself and my life.
I had been a victim of many things throughout my life. We all are on some level. But this was the moment I realized that identifying as a victim was a choice. Remaining a victim was a choice. Staying in that victim mindset was a choice. It was a role that no longer served me and one that I was no longer willing to choose for myself. This was probably the most confusing place I have ever been in because if I was no longer a victim, who was I?
As I moved through trying to figure this mystery out, I began to identify old programming. I started recognizing and addressing limiting beliefs and thought patterns and began to regularly ask myself 2 questions.
- “Says whom?” I would ask myself where thoughts or beliefs came from and who it was that said they were true. Often our beliefs come from our parents, our partners, our friends… and sometimes they are self imposed.
- “Is it true for me now?” No matter where old thoughts and beliefs come from, and what purpose they may have served in the past, do they actually serve any purpose in who I am now and who I am choosing to become?
If the answer was, “Yes”, then I now had to take full responsibility for that being my thought or belief… my truth. If the answer was, “No”, I would follow by telling myself, “Then put it the fuck down!” I was no longer willing to hold old patterns that were not helpful to me. When I chose to put down something that was no longer true for me, I would then provide myself the opportunity to determine what was true for me and create a new belief that was in alignment with who I was and who I was growing into.
By using these simple questions to challenge myself, it allowed me to step out of victim mode and into empowerment. It allowed me to put down beliefs like, “I’m not worth it.”, “This is the only way.”, “I’m not lovable.”, “I’m not capable.”, “I am responsible for people’s feelings.”, “It is my job to keep others happy.”, “It’s all their fault.”… It allowed me to move through feelings of depression, anxiety and dis-ease and allowed me to become responsible for myself in ways I had no idea I hadn’t been and with that level of personal responsibility came peace, joy, happiness and freedom. By finding this freedom, it allowed me to fall in love with myself and in turn, with the world around me.
I am the sole author of my story and I choose how I am in this world. Despite the insanity that swirls around me some days, I am at peace knowing I am the only one responsible for my choices, my beliefs and my happiness.
I now look out at the world with awe and wonder, compassion and grace. I am regularly mesmerized by dragonflies, bumblebees and sunsets. My soul aches when I see someone or something struggling and it is nourished each time I plant my bare feet on the ground, hug a fellow human, or see another’s face light up. I see the beauty in everything now, even in the suffering. I understand and offer unconditional love in ways I didn’t know existed. And most magically, my heart is nourished each time I see the two beautiful souls who are my world living authentically as the authors of their own stories being beautifully, unapologetically, perfectly and responsibly themselves. Bearing witness to that alone is the most incredible gift.
Ultimately, we choose what we think and believe and we choose how we identify and present ourselves in the world. For me, taking responsibility for my life and becoming who I am has allowed me to fall in love with myself and in doing so, I fell in love with the world.
Live love always in all ways,
✌🏻💕🙏🏻 – C