My journey toward self-discovery started about 6 years ago, when I didn’t even know what “self-discovery” was, or that there was even a name for it. All I knew was that something within me didn’t feel right. I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know what. I also didn’t know how to begin fixing it or if I could get help. I’m not so sure I would have even had the courage to ask for help at the time. Besides, how could I ask for help with something that I couldn’t describe or make sense of?
Back then, I was 41 years old. A wife of 14 years and a mom of 13 years with a great life. I had everything that I was “supposed” to have…a loving husband, a house, 2 vehicles, 2 great kids, a sweet dog, and money coming in. Isn’t that what makes people happy? Aren’t those the “rules of a happy life?” Isn’t that what everyone else is doing? Isn’t everyone else happy? That’s what I thought happiness, fulfillment and success were supposed to look like. That’s where I thought it came from. I thought if I followed the rules, and did all the things, everything would be great, and I would be happy, too.
So why wasn’t I feeling great about my life? That was the first question I asked myself that began my journey of self-discovery over the past 6 years. I began questioning everything. I questioned “the rules of life” as I knew them. I questioned myself, my husband, my parents and society. The paradigm of how I thought life needed to be lived was becoming unraveled, and I was desperate to try to put it back together, although I had no idea how or even if that could happen.
The years that followed brought days of endless crying, health struggles, loneliness, confusion, despair, stress, and anxiety. I was not the person I had believed I was, and I didn’t like who I was becoming. The idea of moving forward from that point was confusing and excruciatingly intimidating. I didn’t know how I was going to get to a place of feeling “ok” again. I did what I knew (what I always did) and looked outward. I blamed everything externally for my disillusion. Maybe my marriage wasn’t right. Maybe I need to cut out gluten, dairy, or sugar. Maybe I’ve been spending too much time with my parents. Perhaps I need to get a real job out of the house. I should probably just exercise more often or drink more herbal tea. Maybe I’m just messed up and broken.
I was desperate for answers. I began spending most days reading, listening to podcasts and researching all I could about what I was experiencing. Up until this time, I avoided things that had anything to do with self-reflection, self-discovery, personal growth or spirituality. I grew up believing that all that introspection stuff was just fluffy, woo-woo, useless crap that only “weirdos” or “hippies” were into. Thankfully, I was miserable enough to try anything. And I also had the support of my amazing husband who knew me more than I knew myself at times. His love and understanding helped me muster the courage to go to places within myself that I didn’t know were there or that I was afraid to see. I was then able to try new practices, hear different ideas and be curious about my own spiritual beliefs. I was starting to get to know ME. What I liked, wanted, needed, desired or didn’t want…and to understand that what I want is the most important thing. It is a vital piece to loving myself and being able to make important choices for myself and my life.
While I was busy going through life distracted by trying to keep up with societal pressures, opinions, and external judgments, I was completely blind to the fact that I even had opportunities to make choices. I didn’t believe that certain choices were available to me, or that I was allowed to make those kinds of choices. And when I say, “those kinds of choices,” I mean the ones that made ME happy. Ones that were for me and no one else. WHAT? I could actually do that?! This was some scary territory I was walking toward. But as I found out, it was so worth it!
After years of obsessive digging and seeking, it turns out that what I was looking for was my SELF. My true, authentic, intuitive, creative, beautiful, worthy self that had been silenced and ignored all these years. I was allowing the noise, needs/wants, and desires of everyone else to become more important than my own. My true self had been silenced by years of conditioning, learned behaviors and limiting subconscious beliefs that eroded my voice and self-worth – MY TRUTH.
I am now at a place in my life where I can understand who my old self was, and I am envisioning and beginning to allow my new, true self to emerge. I am still learning, growing, expanding and evolving, and I am excited for my future and the next steps in my amazing journey.
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