The festive season this year is proving to be much more about letting relationships and old unhealthy habits go. I never knew it would be this hard. Never before have I felt this alone as I step back from unhealthy family dynamics, and from dear but now costly aspects of friendships. It’s heart-wrenching, gut-wrenching and I realise how much of my sense of self, of my self-worth has been embroiled in these relationships and for so long. I never knew standing up for myself would be this painful or isolating.
There’s more to this gift….the self-doubt, the wondering if I’m doing the right thing (as if doing the right thing for everyone else has really been any good for me or really for them). But I have made an agreement with myself: to be honest to myself no matter what, and to notice what I’m feeling rather than jump to what everyone else must be thinking / feeling. I’m learning a lot about myself, about how conditional my giving is often, how I’ve been manipulative in the guise of being kind, or trying to help. This is the real gift, this awareness, because, as much as it hurts to start seeing the truth about my shadow side, it’s also a great opportunity to sort this shit out, to drop expectations and to replace this over-attachment to others’ approval with silence, space, with a genuine search for what I really think, feel, believe. At 45, I’m just getting to know myself, and some aspects I really don’t like, some I really revel in, and others are still only a whisper in the darkness.
Behind the uber-helpfulness is this craving to belong (the volume on this one has turned up since I’ve not had children and have been single a while now), and a genuine empathy for others, and a desire to feel useful, needed, to contribute valuably in some way to something / someone outside myself, to connect. And, while I’m being brutally honest here, it’s drowning out things I’d rather not examine (poor habits such as no physical exercise, bad eating habits, and how far I feel from where I’d like to be).
I’ve been through physical n emotional abuse, and only now am I getting to the deep scaring, and it hurts and it sucks, and it’s the only doorway I can see leading to a better future for me and all those I love.