Welcome to Story #4! This story is about truly accepting ourselves and being who we really are without shame. Society tells us women to shrink, to hide our quirks, and to hate our flaws. If we grow up feeling like we are not enough or worthy, this will cause great distress and may result in eating disorders, constant dieting and perfectionism. This is not the abundant life we were meant to live! We are “perfectly imperfect” and that is okay. We will never measure up to society’s ideals, because it’s totally unrealistic. Once we can find freedom to be ourselves and to accept who we are, we will find peace within.
Thank you, Debbie for sharing your story!! I’m sure it will inspire others as it had for me. Miss the other stories? Read Story #1, Story #2 and Story #3. And please leave a comment below for these beautiful ladies to express how their story resonated with you!
Our stories connect us. I’ve been traveling about sharing my story with others. What I have learned from this is just how connected we all are. My story is another’s story. My story is also the WHY of my business. It’s why I became a health and life coach.
For most of my life I lived in a turtle shell of low self-esteem, terrible body image, and truly hated who I was. Ironically, I had no idea who I was because I had lived my life by every one else’s definition of me. I grew up with a mommy dearest. I was deathly afraid of my mother and lived my whole life in fear. Every single thing about me was picked apart, every physical feature, every emotional aspect, everything. I grew up feeling completely and totally flawed. At 17 I left home and went to college. It was the most exciting time in my life because I felt that once I was away from her I could live my own life. It was great, however, all of those messages I had heard throughout my entire life came along for the ride. The tapes played continuously in my head, “YOU ARE NOT ENOUGH.” I took over the role my mother played in my life and began to not only believe the messages but to speak them to myself. I picked myself apart. Criticized every thing about me just as she had done. At 19 I married my high school sweetheart who basically was another version of my mother (funny how we do this). I was never enough.
By all outward appearances we looked like the perfect couple and family. We had a beautiful home, three amazing and wonderful children, nice cars, the whole package. But the truth is, I was slowly dying a very painful emotional death. After 20 years of marriage, I left and started my life over. Once again, I thought I could live my own life outside of this emotional abuse and once again the messages followed. I soon realized that I had no clue who I was. Everyone else in my life had defined me and I had let them. I started a journal, something I have each of my clients do. The journal was only about me. I wrote down my favorite everything, day of the week, ice cream, song, poem, food, etc. Anything that I could think of that was only about me, I put it in my journal. I cut out pictures and words that resonated with me. I wrote down song lyrics and poems that spoke to me. Little by little my true authentic self started to emerge but in truth, I didn’t know how to love myself. I still critiqued myself. I still compared myself to others. I still felt like I was not enough.
I am a true believer in the power of the Universe and how we are put in front of the lesson we need at just the right time. The turning point lesson for me happened early one morning as I sat browsing the internet. I stumbled across a Louise Hay video. She was sitting on the floor with a group of people talking to them about the importance of self-love and self-acceptance. I was so touched by her words. She asked them to do an exercise. She asked them to stand in front of a mirror and to truly look at themselves. She asked them to look in their eyes, to look at their bodies, all of the parts, and to really see them. Then she asked them to repeat this affirmation daily, “I love and accept myself just as I am.” She asked them to do this exercise daily until they truly believed it and felt it in their deepest being.
After the video ended, I knew it was what I had to do for myself. I paced my house, crying in a near panic because I actually did not think I could look in the mirror. I didn’t think I could truly see myself. I had stood in front of the mirror for years and never seen myself. I had looked passed myself to do what needed to be done. I thought that if I ever truly looked at myself, all of those messages and definitions I had heard and spoke to myself might actually be true. I was afraid the true view would only validate that worst fear. After many tearful minutes, I made my way to the bathroom. I stripped off all of my clothes and with my eyes shut I stood in front of the mirror. With tears streaming down my face, I slowly opened my eyes and stood looking at myself. I stood looking until I truly came in to focus, until I truly saw myself. What happened was not at all what I had expected would. I saw myself for the very first time. It was like welcoming a long lost friend who had been missing for years. I looked deep into my eyes and saw the pain that resided behind the smiles that I had always used to cover it. I looked at my face, and through the tears saw a young girl who desperately just wanted to be loved. I looked at my arms and small hands and thought of all the ways that I had used them. I thought of how I had been able to hold and nurture my children, to hug my family, my friends, even strangers. I looked at my short legs and realized that I never have to ask them to take me where I need to go. I looked at my belly, round and fleshy and praised it for carrying, nourishing and nurturing my three babies. For the first time, I saw all of me. I began to find great comfort in seeing myself. Then I said,
“I love and accept myself just as I am.”
I repeated this exercise daily. Ever time a negative thought popped into my head, I repeated this mantra. It was a daily journey to fight my way out of the self- loathing and destructive mess I had created but I continued because for the first time in my life I felt worthy. I felt that I was enough. Recently I discovered this quote by Brene Brown, “You either walk inside your own story and you own it, or you stand outside of it and hustle for your worthiness.” This quote hit me so deep in my soul. After years of standing outside of myself and hustling for my worthiness, I walked inside my story and I owned it. I share my story in an effort to help others own theirs.
I do this work because I never want another person to spend another day disowning, dishonoring and disallowing any part of who they are. I do this work because self-love and self-acceptance are the foundation to a world of peace. As we learn to love and accept ourselves totally and completely, we also learn to love and accept others just as they are. This is the world I want to live in and the one I want to leave behind.
Holistic Health & Life Coach
Encompassing Life, LLC.
LOVE WHO YOU ARE NOW!