Have you ever felt the need to justify your life, success, or existence?
I have spent a good chunk of my life doing this. I have worked incredibly hard to prove I am worthy. Not only of success, but of love, respect, even the space I take up.
When I was little I was often heard but not seen (oops, looks like I got the rules backwards). I was told I was precocious, a dreamer, cheeky, and a little imp. All of these seem like great traits to me now. But when I was little I was told to be quieter and play smaller. I learned that if I could be invisible I wouldn’t get punished so much by both adults and peers. I was taught that the world is not safe and that people like us don’t get to be more.
When I was a teen I was ridiculed for wanting to be pretty enough to be a model ( because everyone admired them).
In school I was told I wasn’t smart enough to be a veterinarian and that I should pick something else I was more likely to be able to achieve.
Why we choose dysfunctional relationships and experiences
It is not really surprising that I became more comfortable in relationships that supported this view of the world. That’s what we do, we cultivate a view of the world and then look for experiences that support it, even if they are traumatic or disfunctional.
However, I also had some angels watching over me. I had an aunt that adored me. I had bosses that saw my potential and pushed me to be a better version of myself. I had enough whispers behind me so that at 20-years old an abusive husband wouldn’t be able to completely break my spirit.
At 23 I learned that you don’t need to rant and rave when someone mistreats you, but to simply say no. No, you will not speak to me like that. And through this I learned how to start setting boundaries, and I learned what respect and loyalty can look like.
But through all of this there has remained a silent subconscious belief that I am not worthy. No matter how hard I work I don’t deserve my success. No matter how hard I try to be a good mom, I feel like I am failing. No matter how much I love my hubby, I don’t deserve him (yes, I know he loves me unconditionally as he shows me daily in both words and deeds). No matter how loyal I am, people will always leave. All of this has caused me to work longer hours, try harder, push through pain and illness, and silently beg to be accepted and loved.
Now, here I am at 47 and realizing that although I have come a long way to heal the wounds of the past, there is still more to do. The archetype of the teacher is how I relate to others. I teach as I learn, which is how I learn and embody the knowledge as I go and grow.
Breaking habitual patterns
For the past 5-years I have habitually justified my existence everyday. I emptied all of my reserves within six months of concurrent concussions and was no longer able to work, parent, or partner as I had before. I would become dependent – mentally, emotionally, physically, and financially – and question whether I should continue to live and be a burden to those around me. This is a common feeling for people with brain injuries, they can never be who they were so maybe they should leave. It is why suicide is so high 2-years post concussion, You are never the same and life feels unstable and chaotic.
I am blessed with people who love me and tell me how I have made this world a better place because I exist. I have made friends since my brain injuries that tell me how grateful they are that my path has since crossed with theirs. I am grateful for this. They have saved my life when I might have given up.
Why am I sharing this?
I know I am not alone.
My mother struggles with worthiness issues, as did her mom. Unintentionally, we pass along these beliefs in the words we say and the little actions we do. I know that I have passed some of my unprocessed emotions and beliefs on to my own son. However, because I am aware and continue to intentionally heal I am able to support him and break the cycle. Because I am willing to be courageous through vulnerability, hopefully I can support others to do the same. After all, healed people heal people.
My wish today is to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
My wish for you is to see yourself through the eyes of unconditional love (imagine the eyes of whatever represents the Beloved to you).
We are WORTHY simply because we exist.
The Light in me INTENTIONALLY looks for the Light in you.
Brightest of blessings,