So, here’s an interesting confession I want to make…
I have not overcome my past…yet.
I have simply adapted and compensated for over 20 years, and extremely well, I might add. Oscar-worthy, really. I think 99% of us have done this, and most of us still are to this day.
I’ve always been fascinated by psychology and people, but I think most of that is due to the fact that I have struggled internally with a lot of my own demons for so many years, and since I couldn’t figure out myself, I decided to try and figure out everyone else.
Maybe if I could figure out others, then I’d be able to figure out myself?!
Unfortunately, that is the WORST way to try to figure yourself out. Not to be cheesy and cliche, but all of us really are unique and individual.
All of our stories are completely different. Our own realities are played on different channels. Our reactions are colorful. We can all look at the same exact piece of artwork, and have drastically opposing interpretations and emotions. A flower in a vase can mean many, many things to many diverse people!
It all depends on our own experiences, the way in which we’ve reacted to those experiences, and then how we interpret and move forward with them.
20 years ago…
Yesterday, I just realized that it has been that long since “it happened.” And for all these years, I honestly believed that I had worked through it, got passed it, overcame it, and was this big, bad ass.
I have, indeed, overcome a lot. But…I have not overcome “that.” And, it’s finally time that I do…
I believe I have sabotaged a lot of opportunities and abilities throughout my life BECAUSE I have not yet overcome “that.”
Heartbreaking to realize that. But, also empowering, as I can now get to the root of myself and find my inner strength…
So…20 years ago…
Like so many of us, someone I trusted and respected took advantage of our relationship and his position in my life, and I learned to shut everyone out and hate myself.
I coped with the situation the best way I knew how as a 16 year old.
As an adult and mother now, I am furious that instead of having to worry about which prom dress to buy and how to get rid of a pimple on my nose, I was worrying about THAT. And, I had NO ONE to help me. But, that was by choice.
I was far more afraid of telling and getting in trouble, than I was of him. That’s the beauty of his position, though…It is why it happens so often to so many good people.
Silence is a deadly and powerful thing.
Since I didn’t tell anyone, and I had no one to help me through it, I processed that pain like an “out of body” experience, so I then started living my life that way.
I lived vicariously through others on the sidelines.
And, I got really, really good at being a person I THOUGHT others wanted me to be. Who I was “supposed” to be.
I became a chameleon. An actress. I compartmentalized everything almost flawlessly. I had everyone fooled.
And, that’s the thing… At the end of the day, you have to go home to yourself. You have to live with yourself 24-7.
So, I became a swim coach, and then a teacher, and I am now a CrossFit coach, and I started these professions with the intentions of not only helping others and making a difference, but on a more selfish level, to also try to cover up my own broken pieces.
You see, being around athletes and students, people who are working on getting better daily at something, it’s a great distraction, and it made me feel like I was getting better personally.
Being the coach/teacher, I was in the lead this time. I was in control. I could make people see me however I wanted them to. So, I created this persona – My “ideal” coach/teacher.
I pretended to be the person I genuinely wished I was, but deep down believed I never could be, nor was I worthy of truly being that person, anyway.
I also acted the way I thought others expected me to. Like I said earlier, I was a chameleon, and I was very good at being the person I thought I needed to be for everyone else in every situation.
With each athlete and student that I watched succeed and grow, I vicariously watched myself doing the same thing.
Problem is…Vicariously is NOT the same as actually DOING!
So, for 20 years, I’ve given myself to others in the hopes that they would fix me, when in reality, I need to fix myself!
I’ve been tense for 20 years.
Which is probably why I have issues with grinding my teeth at night, falling asleep, and not being able to relax my muscles during a massage or yoga class.
There are less than a handful of people in my life that I have felt truly relaxed with, and fortunately I got to be with one of them yesterday. I realized in that moment how easy it was to be around my friend, and my body was actually in a state of relaxation and safety. I wasn’t thinking about how to carefully word my story, and I wasn’t worried about how I’d be perceived or accepted.
For once in a very long while, I got to genuinely be myself and speak for myself.
I was with a friend.
And, I was me.
I hold grudges. A lot. And, it’s very stressful. I know I do it, and I hate it, and I want to stop it.
For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out why I was so adamant about keeping them, though. Why couldn’t I just let go and move on?!
Yes, people have done shitty things to me. And, yes, I have done shitty things to people.
For the longest time, though, I always saw forgiveness as a way of saying, “What you did is okay.” And, of course, the things people have done to me, and what I have done to them, were NOT okay!
I am slowly starting to learn, though, that forgiveness is NOT about making a shitty situation acceptable.
Forgiveness does NOT mean that what happened was okay. It does NOT mean that the person was in the right, or justified, or anything like that.
Forgiveness is NOT for the others.
It is for yourself.
I am just now realizing this, because for 20 years, I’ve held that grudge not only against him, but against myself. Of course, I’ve blamed myself for most of that experience. What did I do wrong? What did I do to deserve this? I should have… I could have… I wasn’t enough… I shouldn’t have… I was too weak…
And so, because I never learned to forgive myself…How in the world could I forgive anyone else?!
The grudges that I’ve piled on throughout my life are really just my own.
Now, after 20 years, I am finally on the path to forgiveness for myself. Once I learn to forgive myself, it will be like a domino effect.
So often we treat the symptoms, and NOT the cause.
I am the cause of my own poison and problems, and I am my own solution.
So, here’s my takeaway from all of this.
I need to fix myself.
Not my mom…Not a therapist…Not my coach…Not my teammates…Not my friends…Not my daughters…Not even him…
But, I also need people who love me. We all do. So often, we mistakenly try to fix each other’s problems. Obviously, because we love each other, and want to help.
However, the truth of the matter is, the only way to truly fix yourself is to do it yourself.
And while it certainly never feels like enough from the other end, simply LISTENING and BEING THERE are all it takes to help someone through a rough time. Really. That IS enough.
In today’s world, we’ve learned to listen to respond, and many of us just wait our turns to speak. We’ve all become experts in everything, and our opinions have become way too important.
I can tell you from personal and professional experiences, both from being a listener and the talker, one of the greatest gifts you can give someone you love is your ear, your heart, and your shoulder. That’s it.
NOT your humble opinions…NOT your insightful advice…NOT your words of wisdom…And definitely NOT your well-intended, but cliche sayings and feel-good phrases.
More times than not, we don’t need you to say anything at all. Seriously.
We just want to be heard.
We want someone to listen to what we are actually saying and validate it. And then say, “I still love you.”❤ I can’t even describe to you in words how powerful and impactful that is to receive!!!
So, I am thankful today to be able to say to you that I am currently in a place in my life where I am ready to fix myself, AND, I have a select few who will love me the right way through this journey.
They aren’t going to do any of it for me. But, they are going to stick around and cheer me on while I do it, and that’s all I really need.
That’s all any of us really need.
Listen. Love. Repeat.