When going through a difficult time or a big change in your life (ahem separation) it can make you reevaluate everything in your life. Case in point: me.
After Eric told me that he wanted a separation my world crumbled. Everything in the past, present, and future seemed to have question marks surrounding it. Everything I had been living and thinking and understanding in the past seemed like it could be a lie, a dream, unreality. Everything in the present was all pain and fuzziness. My future had disintegrated before my eyes.
That’s enough to make a person question everything they thought they knew about themselves. I began to question everything in my life, even firmly rooted beliefs I had. Because when your life is completely uprooted you get to decide what you plant again. You get to reorganize, choose again, throw stuff out, think more critically before replanting.
So that’s what I did. Here’s where I get honest.
I don’t drink. Never have (except that egg nog Dad – I won’t forget that). 😉
I have very conservative morals.
I am very quirky with an oddball sense of humor.
I don’t do surface level things. I like to dive deep.
These are all things I identified strongly with. I loved these things about myself. They made me me, and I was proud of that.
Then I wasn’t. I thought, “Maybe I can just try being normal. Make mistakes. Have a drink. Have looser morals. Make decisions that will make me fit in easier. Maybe even try to be someone I’m not a little bit to make men like me more.”
Yes, it may sound dumb to you. You may not understand where I’m coming from. But when you are thrown into a pit of self-doubt and the person who you thought loved you unconditionally, because and for your quirks, says that he can’t do that anymore, it makes you doubt who you really are. If you’re good enough. If you’re attractive enough. If people even like you. If you even like you. It makes you think, “Maybe I can change to be more likable. Because apparently I wasn’t enough before. Then I will feel better about myself.”
It’s so darn tempting at this stage.
I want to be liked. But even further than that, I want to be loved.
Yes, friends and family, you are rocking my world in a million and one ways. But everyone wants to have someone special. No one wants to feel lonely. Everyone wants to be loved (and that’s important to remember).
But then that comes full circle. Because to be loved, truly loved in the way that is most beneficial, rewarding, and healthy is to first love yourself. To love yourself so hard that you don’t need someone else to validate your being. That you are 100% you, for you and only you. To remember to embrace all those things that make you you. To love your quirks, yours morals, what makes you different.
Because face it, those are the best parts of you. Trying to be someone who everyone likes or who you think everyone likes is living a lie. It’s being fake. It’s being dishonest. People see through it. It’s also not fun, rewarding, or helpful to the world at large.
I think we’ve all heard it before, but there is only one you. What makes you special is YOU.
So this is my little moment of clarity. My lightbulb and a-ha moment. A late twenties reminder that I believe I realized in my early twenties and probably at times in my teens as well (funny how we have to keep relearning the same lessons sometimes, huh?).
Don’t shy away from what makes you special, unique, and you.
Yes, everyone may not appreciate you just like you are, but the important ones will. It’s so much more rewarding and fulfilling. Plus, learning this now will save lots of pain, digression, and cleaning up your mistakes in the future.
It’s also okay, and kind of awesome, to have such a drastic life change that makes you examine your life down to every last detail. It’s okay to change. It’s actually good to change and reevaluate. But what I’ve learned is that change because you want to change. Change because it is what’s best for you. Change for you and for no one else. Embrace yourself more, not less. Because it’s these big, crazy, hard life circumstances that make us even better, stronger people. Ready to embrace this world with a bigger heart. Ready to turn outward into the world and take it on. Because no one is better to take on this world than you are. Just the way you are.