i have always been someone on the path to bettering myself. i have journaled since about the 7th grade. i started reading "self-help" books in 9th grade. i saw a therapist during my first year of college. i was on the path to learning more about myself and why i tick the way i do, because i always knew there was more inside of me. i knew that with a little help i could figure out how to become a person i could really love and be proud of.
now some of you may be thinking, "you should just love yourself the way you are!". but i didn't know how to do that. it was always about who i could be. a constant striving towards that person i almost was. "if only i could control my anger better." "if only i could be more confident." and so on... and all of those thoughts were actually geared toward how to get people to like me more than for me to like myself.
i've spent years on the path to finding that person. slowly trudging along making baby steps along the way. now don't get me wrong, baby steps are better than no steps at all, but for all the work i was putting in ~ it didn't seem like enough.
and then i had one of those moments in life that was extrememly dark and heavy. i didn't have the tools to deal with it and i felt like i was swimming. more accurately, i was barely keeping my head above water. a "truth" in my little black and white world was shattered and my whole foundation was busted wide open. it was one of the hardest moments of my life and i am forever grateful for it every day, because through rebuilding my foundation i began to figure out who i am. it is the periods of hardship that allow us to grow the most. some people (myself often included) choose to use the "woe is me" tactic and then cite it as the reason they are worse off ~ i learned that if you belly-up, face it head on, and go through the uncomfortablness that comes along with it, you come out on the other side with a clearer sense of who you are.
the other thing i learned through it is that i need to let go ~ A LOT!!!!! i kept trying to force things to happen, working so hard at it. and even though i know darn well what happens when you try to force a teenager to do something (rebellion) or what happens when you try to force a square peg in a round hole (you're still sitting with a square peg in your hand that's worse for wear :-), i couldn't see that for myself. i needed to let go of my exceptional high standards both for myself and for others. i needed to let go of comparing myself to others my age on their own life path. i needed to let go of my need to be perfect. there were so many things i learned i needed to let go of. and the silly thing is that letting go has been my biggest challenge and the hardest work i've had to do. you can give me a list of to do's and i am content and plugging away; i am comfortable with the quest. but as soon as you tell me to not do anything, step aside, and just 'be'......... oh boy does my stomach turn and i get incredibly uncomfortable and immediately thing "i am not enough".
but withing the past couple of months i am starting to understand it. not just the concept, but the practice. and although it is not completely there and i have a ways to go ~ i have an awareness to that path.
i'd like to share a portion of my journal entry from january 1st (the ultimate day of reflection and goal setting it seems!):
".... i still have moments, but more and more the 'i am enough' is taking over. it really is quite beautiful to see. i finally feel like a grown up in the sense that i still have childlike qualities, but mixed and balanced with maturity. and although i'm still responsible, i am letting go of my grip a bit. it's okay to make mistakes. it's okay to not be in control all the time. okay, this one i need to work on A LOT more, but i'm moving towards the goal of letting go and that my friend is huge for me. i squeeze things so tightly. i always have and now i'm finding how to hold things in the palm of my hand, fingers open so it can rest there. and i can still feel it and see it without forcing anything. my muscles relax and as they do i can begin to find the joy. you can't force that or happiness. so often i have tried to force it and it got further away. now i try to be open and allow it to come to me. for it to float down in a snowflake that falls on my eyelashes. to float across my skin on a breeze. to race into my lungs and disperse like oxygen through a deep breath in the crisp mountain air. i am growing up and growing old. but not the defeated, tired, giving up kind of old ~ but rather the i am wiser, i am more secure, i need less & give more, and above all ~ i let be and find contentment with where i am & who i am kind of old."
"you can't become all you might be unless you're willing to let go of who you are now."
- michael josephson