I Refused to Abandon Myself

Have you ever had the experience of feeling deeply misunderstood by someone you truly love and care about?

And been tempted to abandon yourself and your own needs, in order to belong?

If so, my heart goes out to you.

Because you know first hand how utterly shite it feels!

It happened to me recently…

I spoke up and told the truth about a situation I was not happy with, and no longer willing to tolerate.

I knew I was taking a big risk when I decided to speak out.

But still.

The Cost of Truth-Telling

It did not go well.

My biggest fears and doubts about raising the issue were confirmed.

My honesty and transparency were not welcomed.

The other person felt angry, disappointed, betrayed, let down, and more, by me.

Just writing this makes me want to explain the whole story to you, and why this is so far from the truth.

Because I’m afraid you’ll judge me too.

But I’ll resist.

As women, we feel the need to justify ourselves way too often, to receive approval and validation.

Suffice to say, staying silent was no longer an option for me.

It was costing me my integrity with myself, and was a price I was no longer willing to pay.

A health scare in the midst of the pandemic compelled me to reassess my life, and recommit to my own wellbeing.

My certainty about addressing the issue did not make it any easier to actually follow through.

It was one of the hardest conversations I’ve ever had in my life.

It took all the courage I could muster.

The Shame

And then the fall-out.

The judgement. The contempt. The disgust.

That I would dare, and have the sheer audacity, to voice that my needs were important too.

Despite being crystal clear on my ‘why’, the extreme negative reaction provoked a deep sense of shame.

A part of my brain believed I was bad, and wrong. Cruel. Heartless. A selfish bitch.

I wanted to take it all back. Or find a half-arsed solution to appease everyone.

I desperately wanted to make the pain, and the shame, go away.

But it wasn’t the answer. The only way out was through.

The intensity of my emotions told me this was not really about the messy, difficult situation, or the other person.

I’d recently heard a quote by Peter Crone: ‘Life will present you with people and circumstances to reveal where you’re not free.’

It rung true.

Where was I not free?

Unhealed Wounds

I looked inside me.

And uncovered an old, old wound around not belonging, not being loved and accepted for who I am, rejection and abandonment.

The belief that, somehow, who I am is not enough.

Intellectually I know these fears are common, we all carry a version of them within us, to some degree.

We’re hard-wired to seek love and belonging. Our very survival once depended on it.

So it’s unsurprising that when these primal fears are triggered, our brains literally believe we’re going to die!

But when life presents us with challenges that re-trigger these ancient wounds, a clusterfuck of shame-filled emotions can erupt.

They can reawaken conscious and subconscious stories of how these fears are truths about us.

Especially when we’re presented with ‘evidence’ that what we most deeply feared, is in fact, true.

The hard truth is, I am not loved and accepted for who I really am, by this person.

The love and belonging I’d experienced, had been conditional all along.

Conditional on me being the version of myself that fitted the other’s needs and expectations.

The authentic, truth-telling version of me, the one who refuses to stay quiet to her own detriment, is not welcome.

This was/is the harsh reality of my experience.

Brutal. Heartbreaking. Grief-filled. Gut-wrenching. Raw.

The Lesson

Where was I not free – what was really going on here?

On deep reflection, I realised this was about my relationship with myself.

It was revealing a deep unhealed wound, going back to my childhood.

And an opportunity.

An opportunity to face myself. To navigate and transcend my deepest fears and self-doubt.

An opportunity to grow through the pain of this experience, to love myself through it, and to heal.

To not shrink back to fit someone else’s expectations of who I should be.

To know I am enough, exactly as I am.

I wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone.

Personal growth can be really fucking hard.

And I will choose it every time, over false belonging.

I refuse to abandon myself, ever again.

It may sound dramatic, but I’ve come to believe my life depends on it.

The Practice

I don’t want to leave you with the impression this is all wrapped up in a pretty bow, and I’m through it.

It isn’t and I’m not.

This kind of growth is never ‘one and done.’

It’s a practice, a continual recommitment to our own truth and integrity. It is not a linear process.

It is deep ‘self’ work.

Self-belief. Self-trust. Self-esteem. Self-confidence.

Self-love.

It’s the work I do with my clients.

We uncover where you’re not free and what’s holding you back.

So you can heal and release what is no longer serving you, and claim and step into your true potential.

If you’d like to explore 1:1 coaching with me, contact me to arrange a free consult.

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