When it comes to supporting others, the act of doing so feels so second-nature to me–so satisfying and so humbling. A sincere, genuine passion of mine is helping others, as I value the human connection and healing that it fosters. A well of insight and wisdom resides within my being, but more often than not that insight and wisdom are a currency that I feel I can only pay forward to others–not a currency that I can exchange with myself. It’s as if this insight and wisdom are spoken in different language that I can’t seem to comprehend, despite my efforts to translate it.
Over the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to take more time to be at one with myself and my soul; to veritably devote time to rekindling acts of self-care, practicing greater self-compassion, and investing authentic effort into deeper self-exploration. With all of this time spent soul-searching, I would be dishonest to say that it was a comfortable, settling experience. For the first time in a very long time, I was giving my soul the time that it needed to explore my insight-wisdom currency and its seemingly indecipherable language. Once I took that first step, I then offered myself room to practice the act of exchanging this currency with myself.
The truth is, the entire experience was difficult. And today–months later– it’s still difficult. Self-exploration and deep, inner-soul work doesn’t happen over the course of a few months–it can take years. It requires us to be vulnerable with ourselves and how we feel, which can be a very fragile, awkward, cumbersome state to be in. While I’m only at the beginning of my personal journey of self-discovery and self-exploration, I do feel capable of accepting where I’m currently at in my process. I know that this is something that will demand a great deal of time, effort, persistence. At this particular time in my life, accepting that I may not yet know exactly who, where, what, or how I want to be has been a daunting, uncomfortable, anxiety-provoking experience. However, this willingness to embrace that acceptance has also been incredibly empowering, enlightening, and explorative.
I’ve learned so much about myself in the past few months, such as my true core values, what purpose I feel I serve in this life, and how to advocate for myself and my needs as an emotionally sensitive human being. With these discoveries, I came to some unsettling realizations regarding current relationships, environments, and habits that I was deeply immersed in. I realized that there were some people I needed to distance myself from, environments that needed boundary-setting, and habits that needed to be broken and replaced with healthier, more wellness-driven practices. In order to execute the actions necessary to support these changes, I faced a plethora of difficult decisions. Some of my decisions weren’t supported by those whose opinions and beliefs I hold highly; some of my decisions were questioned and judged; some of my decisions were reassured and encouraged by others. One commonality I noticed among all of the decisions I faced in the past few months was that they were all made with increasing amounts of confidence in myself. I–the once very dependent, scattered, indecisive, I-desperately-need-your-approval type of person–had become more confident, independent, and firm in her beliefs, choices, and decisions. This was an incredibly empowering self-discovery, and its presence has helped me continue forward in my personal journey. This growing feeling of independence and self-confidence electrified my once tired, timid soul, and I knew right then and there that I wanted more of it. I wanted to continue cultivating that energy that my awaked my soul–that energy that made me feel alive again.
At first, the confidence I felt was analogous to that of a quiet whisper–something I couldn’t notice unless I gave it my full, undivided attention. As I started making more independent, values-based decisions for myself, that whisper grew into a steady hum. When I began validating myself and simultaneously prioritizing my own personal opinions and beliefs above other’s judgements of me, that hum matured into a firm, reassuring voice–my voice.
As I continue to face life’s unavoidable, difficult decisions, I know that I will inevitably experience feelings of judgment, doubt, disapproval, and misunderstanding from those whose opinions and beliefs that I value highly. The fact of the matter is that I can’t possibly expect myself to please and accommodate everyone–especially at the expense of taking care of my own self. For someone who has devoted such a great deal of mental energy into beginning to accept her own insight-wisdom currency, I’m not as willing to give it so frivolously as I had in the past. That’s not to say that I don’t want to continue helping others, because that certainly isn’t the case! Being empathetic and compassionate toward others is still something I hold of high importance when I consider my personal values. In being more intentional with my currency and aware of its value, I am able to see that my own stances, opinions, and beliefs matter just as much as those of others. It wasn’t until this realization that I was able to accept that I could be my own cheerleader–my own source of reassurance, confidence, and stability.
To this day, I still struggle when it comes to my innate drive to people-please. I often did this at the expensive of sacrificing my true values and opinions. We all want to feel accepted and encouraged by others, especially those we care deeply about, such as our families and friends. But the truth is, not everyone is going to be onboard with every decision we make, every opinion we hold, or every stance we take. It’s just not realistic to place that expectation upon ourselves or upon others. As hard as that fact is to swallow, I am learning that each opportunity where I choose to continue exercising my own self-confidence and independence in making decisions, I exude a light from within that wasn’t there before–a light that accentuates my core, soul-nourishing values. And it’s the shining of that very light that helps me remain focused on continuing taking steps forward in my life’s journey.