“Perhaps, we should love ourselves so fiercely, that when others see us they know exactly how it should be done” – Rudy Francisco
As women, we are taught from a young age that our beauty is our power, but we’re reminded often, that we aren’t enough. In addition to that very real conflict, we develop and internalize our self-worth about that same time (If I’m this… then i’ll be this….).
My self-worth was shattered immediately. Statistically, it’s pretty obvious why… My parents divorced before I was two; I spent every other week with the opposite parent, my biological sister is only my “half” sister (because for some reason this matters to people). My mom has been married and divorced, and married and divorced, and married and divorced, and again married — all just in my short lifetime. My dad graduated from the university, but couldn’t ever find a “real” job, and constantly struggled. I was consistently “overweight” and although smart, was always the worst person on whatever sports team I was on. As a teenager, especially after my grandfather’s death, I pretty much did whatever I wanted (I think my parents were afraid to punish me for fear of more trauma).
If you looked at the majority of my childhood and adolescent years, the helicopter parents of today would say I grew up without a solid foundation – without a “home” (we’ll talk about this in another post; even in the chaos, I did have some pretty rad times.)
I grew up being the funny, nerdy, “fat”, smart but really awkward girl. I had a solid core group of friends, but was truly friends with everyone. I was everyone else’s stability – the go-to girl. I was the girl everyone came to for advice or a hug. The girl who was always there, waiting, trusting, loving without condition – a trait I carried well into adulthood, and with the true belief that this was the appropriate way to love. The belief that if I gave my all, eventually, I would reciprocate. The problem is, that isn’t how it works. This horrible belief, with underlying selfish intentions, turned me into an insecure, anxiety-ridden, deprived adult.
This belief wrecked my self-esteem on a daily basis, primarily because I could only find my happiness in others stability. It impacted my mothering, my careers, my marriage, and most of my friendships. Nothing I ever did was good enough. In my mind, because I wasn’t receiving the same “love” back, it must have been me and my lack of worth.
I repeat, for the people in the back: Nothing was good enough – my body was wrecked because I had stretch marks, my child wasn’t good enough if she wasn’t in the perfect clothing or if we didn’t buy the pottery barn crib, my marriage was an embarrassment because we’re both full of our own baggage, and even when I was incredibly successful at school and in my career, I needed more. I was a constant earthquake – shaking, cracking my foundation three times deeper with every mediocre repair.
It’s probably funny to some of you, the above described version of Sarah, because that was never what I portrayed. For my entire adulthood, I’ve heard “You are *insert positive physical comment here*,” and “I wish I was as confident as you,” or “You are so put together!” and even my personal favorite “I don’t know how do you do it all!” So, what was my turning point? How did I go from woman A to woman B? It’s simple (no, it’s not THAT easy). The moment I stopped blaming my circumstance, and started focusing internally, my entire perspective changed. When I began to evaluate my own spirit and stopped blaming all of the external influences I found stability, and I took ownership of my foundation.
You want to build a home? Start evaluating your circumstance. Stop beating yourself up and quit playing the victim. Quit making excuses. Start being kind to your body, your spirit and to those around you. Own YOUR struggles, YOUR mistakes and YOUR faults and quit focusing on everyone else. Don’t be afraid of who you are, and don’t be afraid to set boundaries. Find peace in your alone, think positively about EVERYTHING (even negative things) and stop seeking happiness through others. Acknowledge your own dreams, wishes and desires without fear of rejection.
Give yourself permission to rise.
When you become your own stability, you can be others’ home, without giving all of yourself away. You can love fiercely, trust without bounds, praise without competition and most importantly, you can find piece in your spirit.
I was able to find my home – it was in myself. How is your foundation?