After I left my husband who was also my best friend I really had to question who I was, not in a trendy 2017 I need to find myself way, but in a reality-check –what the hell just happened – way.
Through the process of self-discovery I realized I had spent my whole life living the way I wanted others to see me. Especially the past 9 years of my life. For example, despite being in a very abusive relationship I wanted others to see us as as a happy, successful and beautiful couple. I can’t tell you how many Facebook posts I looked back at (and deleted) after our separation and just thought wow, that was a lie. I kept so many things from my friends that when things with him became unbearable I felt so isolated and alone because I had put out such a different picture, how could I tell everyone that our life was a lie…I couldn’t.
One of the best things (after leaving my husband) that I did was remove myself from Facebook. That is one of my number one requests for my coaching clients that want to let go of toxic relationships or work on their self-esteem. GET OFF SOCIAL MEDIA!
Once you remove yourself from social media or at least Facebook, you can start to learn who you are and get to know yourself. You won’t be posting something in hopes of validation that someone “liked” it…instead that validation will come from within and not one of your 250 friends that you probably wouldn’t even talk to if you saw them at a bar or coffee shop. Newsflash – those are not your “friends” they are your cyber friends.
In any event, I don’t want to turn this into a Facebook rant, because I could talk about the damaging effects of Facebook all day long. I want to go back to encouraging you to get to know yourself.
It took me a good solid painful year of solitude after my separation to figure out who I was, good and bad. To be honest, I started with the bad because that was the most obvious and as I mentioned in previous posts, the goal was to fix what was broken so I didn’t keep repeating negative patterns and behaviors. If you are open to it, the answers will come.
I learned very quickly that I was a complete control freak which derived from a severe fear of abandonment. I literally tried to control every single aspect of my life. Being a child abuse survivor it was no surprise that I chose abusive relationships as an adult. I knew this needed to change. So I started working with a therapist to heal those childhood wounds. Because of my need for control, I wasn’t even remotely enjoying life I was steering and driving it to go the way I thought it needed to go and missing the beauty of surprise along the way. The truth is, you cannot control every aspect of your life as you ultimately have no control over other people’s decisions, hard lesson for sure.
I learned many other things about myself which were depressing, interesting, eye opening and confusing all at the same time but I have to say, this Journey of self discovery has been truly amazing.
So after I worked through the “bad” stuff, the positive parts of me surfaced. I have learned I am more of an introvert than an extrovert, which was highly surprising. In the past I always centered myself around people and truly felt I needed people to survive. However I did learn that it was my fear of being alone that drove a more extroverted behavior and not that I was an actual extrovert.
I also learned that I am very creative, intuitive and philosophical.
As a result of all this work, I really appreciate my alone/down time so much, I process information differently, I look forward to every moment I spend on my yoga mat and I am actually able to meditate on my own now. I used to think with meditation you had to shut down your brain to the point that no thoughts entered which is impossible and not what is required. Once I got the concept of simply “resting your body and mind” even for 5 minutes, I saw the benefits immediately.
Because of this transition I am a better person. My relationships are stronger and deeper. I have lower tolerance for toxic people and dysfunction and because of this I made a conscious choice to only surround myself with people who I feel good around. Sounds a little selfish, but that is ok. Life is short and spending it with people who emotionally drain you or continuously take from you is not healthy, for either person.
The old me used to be busy constantly, planning my weekends in advance and making sure I always had a social function to attend or in the very least, people to spend time with. Now, I value my time so much, that I refuse to plan my life away. Some things are avoidable and there are times you need to plan things in advance. But my weekends are my time and most of the time I don’t know what I want to do until that day and I want that flexibility to decide. This is ok!
Through this painfully necessary Journey I learned who I am as a person, mother, friend, co-worker, employee and person of society and I truly like who I am. There are things I am working on and things that will not change that I have to accept about myself, but overall I am the healthiest I have ever been. I am grateful to have had this time to find me.
So, I encourage you to ask yourself…who are you?
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