My whole life, I’ve been told that I need to look to someone outside of me for the “right” thing to do. I’ve been threatened into silence, blackmailed, forced to keep secrets that I had no business knowing about. I’ve been coerced with gifts, affection, and promises of happy ever afters…. and I’ve watched as the smoke fades and people’s true colors have shown – sometimes when it’s too late and I’m already in the thick of entanglement.
My journey in trusting my own authority has been arduous and painful. It’s been filled with me getting caught in the trap, being lulled to sleep by the snake, only to wake up abruptly as I realize I’m about to get eaten!
These were times where my intuition was telling me what the right thing to do was, but I was too afraid to forsake the bond, leave the relationship, or speak about my concern because I didn’t want to alienate or hurt anyone. I was a professional egg-shell walker. My discernment hadn’t grown strong enough for me to see the truth yet. My heart wanted to see the good in everyone, yet hadn’t grown the proper boundaries to protect myself in the process.
When I wanted to grow, I was shamed into shrinking back. When I wanted to speak, I was scolded into silence. When I wanted unity, kindness, tolerance, and compassion, I was told to pound sand.
The question is, how do I allow myself to listen to my own heart in the face of others who think they know what is best for me and like to tell me what to do?
In many situations as a young adult, I got to face many shades of family crazy, and my dear friend Dave encouraged me to not feel dominated by them. He reminded me that I do have my own intuitive connection to God, and I don’t need to feel lambasted by people who are having a power trip. He helped me see the ways that I was allowing them to control me, and how to get out of the traps. He showed me how to be diplomatic, and how to speak what’s real for me in a way that doesn’t accuse or belittle anyone. He showed me that I can respect other’s rights to feel how they feel without taking their feelings on as my own. He taught me how to recognize psychological projections for what they are – a reflection of what is happening inside the other person. He showed me how to make the choice for self-esteem and expansive growth instead of cycling in victimhood patterns that steal my joy and make me feel small. I grew a lot from our conversations together. My ability to navigate conflict while staying connected to myself grew tremendously.
Today, Christmas, I reflect on 3 pretty major relationships that have been stripped from my life in the past 2 months. A mentor friend of 2 years, my sister, and my older brother. My heart is heavy with the recognition of the amount of strength it took to deal with these situations, and how badly I wish I didn’t even find myself in them. All of them felt like there was nothing I could have done to save the relationship… because all of them wanted to leave. It’s no longer fun for them because I’m not giving them what they want – me being under their thumb, willing to abandon myself and my feelings in order to get in line with theirs so I can be “loved”.
In the past, I WOULD have tried to shrink back, put myself back in a box trying to appease them… When really, the whole reason they didn’t want to be in my life anymore is because I stopped trying to cater to them – stopped trying to give them what they want from me. People pleasing damn near killed all my desire to create (and I realized, that the art I made from the energy of “people pleasing” was not very good because it was so constricted. I didn’t feel like I could really express myself in my work while knowing they might see it! The thoughts raced through my mind: “WHAT IF THEY ARE OFFENDED? Oh no!! Can’t have that. I need to be a good little girl with no deeper insights or opinions of my own! I can’t say what I really mean because that is not allowed.”
And the funny thing is that 2/3 of the relationships ended because they didn’t like something I posted on Facebook. Whether it was too triggering, too reflective, too whatever…. I’m learning that it’s okay that I am too much for some people. I just feel like I’ve lived my whole life battling for the right to be who I am and to be able to share my truth… and that I’m not going to let these people who unconsciously seek to control me to stop me.
Because seriously, I’m getting messages from people who are telling me how much of a difference it makes to see the stuff I share so openly. It’s message like that that strengthen my resolve to keep creating, to keep expressing… for myself, but also for the people who are inspired to greater levels of freedom by my journey. I REFUSE to go back into my closet of shame and feel like nothing I say matters. I refuse to let others step on my neck to make themselves more comfortable. I refuse to be that person who doesn’t say what needs to be said in her life and art. I know there will be people who don’t like what I have to say, and that’s okay! We can agree to disagree. I am 100% positive that I don’t agree with everything that is posted on my newsfeed. It’s time now for me to rely 100% on God, and my own knowing of what to say and when… and I know that certainly isn’t the popular thing to do!
I feel that we as a species need to learn how to maintain our own sense of integrity with ourselves while being able to respect others opinions and feelings that differ from ours – learning our own sense of authority over ourselves, and not feeling so awash in the opinions and motives of other people.
There really is no need to try to exercise control and dominion over others when compassion, tolerance, empathy, and understanding are human capabilities that we all have within us. And I would argue that they are 100% more effective at getting harmonious, cooperative results than any form of manipulative games ever could.