In my former life, that is, my life before
my breakdown, I used to look outside myself for just about every feeling of validation. I looked to everyone around me to tell me that I was ok. I never believed it for myself, not for a moment. I felt disjointed from others in my life. As if I were ‘different’ from everybody else. I never had a sense of belonging anywhere.
As long as I had the validation of others, I was able to live…and I was ok. Just like the next person. As long as those around me loved and accepted me for who I was, I was good. But when those people disappeared from my life, for whatever reason, then I was empty. E.M.P.T.Y.
Everything in my life, it seemed, existed because of others. Everything I believed, I believed because others told me to believe. I had no opinions, no thoughts of my own. I had no self.
A number of years ago, I could no longer cope with my own life. My marriage was over, and it was like a knife to my heart. The only man that had ever loved me for just me, had stopped loving me. And I had no love for myself. Who would love me, now? And because I was empty, I had nothing to draw on from inside myself to obtain strength. I was so dependent on how others saw me, whether others liked me or accepted me, that I had never learned one of the most important truths of all time. That truth is…we do not need to look outside ourselves to be loved and accepted. In fact, we cannot expect the world to give us what we need! Everything we need is inside us! Everything we need to be happy and loved, and accepted just as we are, is right there inside us.
So, I began to learn about self. I began to learn by being introduced to my inner kids, and learning to love and honor them. Yes, I did say honor! And by learning how to honor them, get to know them, interact with them, love and accept them….I began to learn who my ‘self’ was…and I began to grow in strength and began to heal. I began to love and accept my self..just as I was…just as I am. Without judgement.
It has taken a long time, and there have been many stumbles along the way. It has not been an easy journey, not at all. But, the journey was so worth it that I would do it all over again! Because of this journey to find my ‘self’, my life has completely changed for the better. In a multitude of ways. My inner confidence has grown. I now have a sense of self that did not exist in me before. I am no longer empty. In fact, I am full.
I no longer need a man to love and validate me. (If that happens someday, great, but I don’t wait around pining for it!). I am not such a people pleaser as I was. I have learned to set boundaries in my life. I’ve learned that not everyone will like me, and that’s ok! And I’ve learned to speak up more often and stay silent less. I no longer have a need to be invisible in this world.
So, remember, the path to self love can only be found within you. If we seek it only from without us, if we expect those around us to keep us filled up, we will come up empty – every single time. And empty is not a happy place to be.