If we don’t own our stuff, we will never see our disempowered pattern nor will we grow and experience a better future. As Buddha says, “Enlightenment comes from awareness.” In order for us to grow, we must first become aware.
I remember clearly the day I took radical personal responsibility for my life. It was about 7 years ago. I stopped dead in my tracks at the foot of my bed and looked back over my entire life. I steeled myself for what I was sure was going to be an onslaught of shame and regret. I remember cringing inside afraid of what I might see, but I went for it anyway.
I faced every disempowered behavior I could remember: bending and stretching to fit others’ ideas of who I should be, doing things I hated to please another, failing to hold much needed boundaries and playing small to be liked.
I kept going: one night stands, drinking alcohol or smoking weed to fit in, staying with partners who hit me, drove intoxicated or emotionally abused me and allowing disrespect from friends, family and partners. The list went on and on.
When I was finished, I just stood there unsure what was next. What I did know was the world did not end, I did not lose a limb, my children were still alive and…
I felt… free?
Holy Mother Earth, I felt FREE! I felt as if the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders. Everything that I had kept hidden, all the secrets, all the shame, was out in the open. I was free!
Yes, I did that. All of it. It was me. I am the one who is responsible for my choices and my life.
I understood for the first time how the unworthiness hidden inside of me manifested dangerous, reckless and unkind behaviors to myself.
I gave myself a big hug and said, “I am so sorry I did this to you. You deserve so much better! I will do better by you in the future. I promise.”
And I forgave myself.
Something radically shifted that day for me. I was reborn. My path to worthiness and empowerment had begun. I now always seek to recognize when I am acting out of shame or unworthiness instead of love. I catch myself sooner and I make choices that will lift my heart and life rather than perpetuate a defeating cycle.
And you can do the same.
Pick a date and time to be alone with yourself where you will have no interruptions. Open your mind and heart. Allow yourself to remember and replay all the times you did not love yourself or protect your well-being. Recognize each one with neutrality and non-judgment. Allow the memories to come forward one at a time. No judgment, no condemnation. Just recognition. Own it all.
When you are finished, wrap your arms around yourself and say out loud: These were my behaviors driven by low self-worth. I recognize my old pattern. I did the best I could at the time. I’m sorry for putting you through that. I will do my best to love and protect you in the future.
And so it is. Amen.