Baring My Soul
Self-love and acceptance is a Universal problem. It is the underscore of the challenges and struggles we have in our lives. It is what causes us to be so hard on ourselves.
I recently came face to face with having to acknowledge that there were still parts of myself I did not love and accept, and these parts were causing me to continue the cycle of self-doubt, and self-criticism. It wasn’t that I was consciously suppressing these feelings, because the truth is that I truly was feeling great about myself and my life. I’ve done a lot of work on becoming the person I know and want to be, and I felt good about that.
BUT now there was no denying that I was coming to a whole new level and layer of loving and accepting myself at a deeper level. Upon this realization it didn’t take long to recognize where I was still over-analyzing and questioning myself. As frustrating as it was to admit this to myself (and now to you), it was equalling as liberating. I was finally giving myself permission to feel the emotions that I was keeping at bay.
For some reason my perfectionism was continuing to seep through and make me believe that I should be better. This took on a whole new meaning for me with what I now do for a living. I recognized the shame, guilt, and disappointment I had in myself for even having some of the thoughts and feelings I had. Because of that, I never really allowed myself to feel them.
BUT the time for that finally came…and I’m going to share with you the roller coaster of emotion that I went through as I began to accept these feelings and thoughts. As I was going through it, I began to document what was going through my mind.
If you’ve ever taken one of my courses, or read any of my articles you may have come across me talking about seeing the “Bigger Picture.” To me the bigger picture is about seeing things from a broader perspective so that we can understand ourselves and others, as well as become self-aware enough so that when things arise we can see that they are happening for a reason.
Well, I’m good at seeing the “Bigger Picture”…great at it in fact. This is a blessing…BUT what I was also beginning to see was that it was causing me to not allow myself to feel certain emotions in the moment. Because I could always see where another person was coming from or why something crappy was happening, I was really good at reframing the situation so that I could come from a place of understanding and compassion.
In most cases, I truly did feel good about seeing the bigger picture, and it really helped me to process things. However, what started happening for me was that past pains were starting to surface. Once again, I knew why it was happening…it was time to deal with them and release them, BUT I was using my reframing to skim over what was really needed.
I needed to feel it. I needed to be okay with being “less than perfect” in my words, my thoughts, my feelings, and even my actions. I needed to show my cracks and flaws so that I could begin to accept those parts of myself as well.
I’ve decided to copy excerpts of what I wrote from my journal, because although it’s not articulate and concise, I really did let out all my frustrations, doubts and questions…and in doing so I truly felt a lifting of the heaviness:
Many times when I was around authority figures or “experts’ I would value what they told me over what my own intuition was telling me. I often allowed myself to feel like a little girl who was lost and didn’t know right from wrong; that I was somehow bad, and needed to be told the “right way”; that I needed to be told what I “should” be doing, or “shouldn’t” be saying. This led me to over-think and over-analyze the things I said and did. It was exhausting…it still can be exhausting. My fear of not being liked was so strong and I questioned and doubted things after the fact…even though they were said or done with good intentions. What if they took it the wrong way? Maybe I should be more clear? What if my reactions weren’t “spiritual” and inline with the new me that I have grown into? I’ll be judged and doubted in my work.
Where’s the balance of feeling what I’m feeling and seeing the bigger picture? My feelings are wrong. I shouldn’t judge; I shouldn’t have anger; I shouldn’t be frustrated with someone else’s actions…or lack thereof. I know better. I see the bigger picture. They come from a place of pain and unknowing and lack of self-love. Where’s my compassion?
Ok, the real question is, where is the compassion for myself? Yes, we are human. We have many less than “ideal” thoughts and moments. It happens. It’s unintentional. What matters is what you do next with those thoughts and moments; how you handle it after you become aware of it.
Those “weak” moments made me feel I didn’t do enough work on myself. How broken am I? What am I missing? I felt shame for not having risen above the ego-mind; shame for not fully loving myself; shame and embarrassment for people possibly having seen through that and judging my lack of awareness.
Oh trust me…I knew. I knew my heart and head were in battle…and that sometimes my head was winning. I knew these were all symptoms of not feeding my soul needs. I even knew what I needed to do in order to feed my soul…but I wasn’t doing it. For some reason I was letting my mind win, and I felt bad for letting it win. I felt unevolved and unaware and unenlightened for even viewing it as a battle.
I was afraid others would think I’d taken “steps back” in my journey; that I wasn’t progressing. I was afraid they wouldn’t see all the changes and progress that I made; for the many ways I do now love myself more than ever before. This was just a nudge in the direction of embracing more of myself. Will others see that or judge me?
The layers of self-doubt, self-criticism, and self-deprecation seemed endless. Where does it stop? How deep are these wounds? Where the hell did I get these wounds? I had (and have) a great life…what’s the deal? Why am I still disowning parts of myself? Better question yet, what are all the parts?
I know better than to place blame. We are all creators of our own lives. But I’m angry damn it! Who is responsible? Why do I now have to pick up the pieces of my seemingly shattered soul?
I thought I completely released all facades of myself…and yet I find another. This one feels scarier to let go of. I mean, I’m “spiritual” now, so how bad would it look to admit that not all my thoughts are “spiritual”? That in fact I’ve even given myself permission to have non-spiritual thoughts and words so that I could let someone else feel that I understand what they are going through. Because I do understand…but at the same time I also see the bigger picture. Well, that’s just annoying to others. I don’t want to be annoying; I want to be liked.
I know I need to speak my truth, but not everyone likes what they hear. That scares me. I want people to like what they hear. Not only for my own validation, but because I have such a strong desire to bring awareness. If I’m silent, nothing can change. But am I the one to say it? Is it my place?
I finally now trust my intuition and the messages I receive, both for myself and others… I feel strong in that. But a new layer of self-trust is rising. Trusting myself to speak my truth in integrity…and being okay when not all others agree.
Even in writing this, I feel myself loving and accepting myself more and more. A shift is happening.
I was so attached to the worry of others judging me, but the real problem lie in the fact that I so harshly judged myself. We often feel like we are the only ones who may think and feel this way, but as I already mentioned, this is a Universal problem…and I would like to shed light on it, so that we can all begin to be a lot gentler with ourselves.
Self-love and acceptance isn’t all or nothing. Over time I’ve come to love and embrace myself more and more. With each step I take toward accepting parts of myself and discovering who I really am, I grow more confident, content, and fulfilled. But it is an on-going process. For many of us we’ve disowned and disconnected from many parts of ourselves, so the journey back to wholeness will take commitment, awareness, and time.
Whatever form your lack of self-love takes, you can begin to change it through understanding and awareness of how you came to be so hard on yourself in the first place. This is the key to heal.
I finally came to the realization I had it wrong…self-love and acceptance and being my true self wasn’t about changing myself so that I could love myself; being my true self was about accepting my imperfections and not having to overhaul everything I am to feel good about myself. It’s about loving myself, faults and all, as I learn to grow to become more of who I am.
So my secret’s out of the bag…I’m not perfect; I’m still flawed. Gasp! And I’m okay with that (most of the time…it’s still an evolution). Are you?
My story isn’t unique, and the reason I am willing to bare my soul is because I know my biggest ah-ah moments have been when others were willing to share theirs.
Trisha Savoia is founder/owner of Absolute Awareness, and creator of the The Integrity Code, and The Soulful Parent Programs. Through her programs, writing, and speaking she uses her skills, experience, and intuition as a mother, teacher, Clinical Hypnotherapist, and Entrepreneur to help guide moms to recover their true selves and their intuition, while at the same time learn how to parent so their children can do the same.