In life, there are many times that we may feel in conflict with ourselves. Sometimes this conflict comes from uncertainty and other times, it is formed by the thought that we have to choose one characteristic or the other. That we can only exist as one thing or the other. That we are not supposed to have traits, values or opinions that coexist on opposite plains of who we are. I am here to tell you that's a lie.
Human beings are some of the most complex, multifaceted, ever evolving creatures on the face of this planet. If we are such intriguing beings, why would we ever limit ourselves to being one dimensional? Why would we limit ourselves to the box that defines us in such limited ways? Along the healing journey, I realized something so important. I am allowed to be all the things that I am and desire to be all at once. Here are a few beliefs that I had to unlearn in order to promote further healing in my own life.
1. I must remain the same to be my authentic self
I am unlearning the thought that if I change things about myself, it means that I am fake or no longer valid in who I present to be. Reality is that people do not like change. So, for a person to choose to change makes those around them uncomfortable. Tough!! Change is the only constant in this world and it is the only way that we grow. Change! Change often...change drastically...change intentionally.
Relearning Affirmation: I am allowed to change, just as the seasons do. I am allowed to redefine myself over and over again until I figure out who I am. I am allowed to release old versions of myself that I created in former seasons of my life. I can be my current authentic self, based on what season of life I am currently in.
2. I can only carry one trait or another
"Oh, what is the self-care sunflower doing out in these streets partying?" I cannot tell you how many times I have gotten that question since I have found the love of self-care and become an advocate. For clarity, going out with friends and letting my hair down is a major part of my self-care regimen. Yes, sometimes I am all about meditation and mindfulness. And other times, I am all about dancing and a ratchet good time. Both help me to feel like Angela in a world that tries its best to consume me daily.
Relearning Affirmation: I am allowed to be multifaceted. I can be the self-care sunflower and go out to dance the night away. I can be a kind person and assert myself. I can love people deeply and set boundaries to protect my wants and needs. I can be a professional and spend time working on my own passions.
3. My emotions are mutually exclusive
Emotional intelligence is not an innate trait and it is a topic that very few people learn about....until they have a meltdown and end up in therapy. I am here to tell you that your emotions are neither good nor bad...they just are. You are allowed to feel a full range of emotions and they are allowed to overlap. I can be in a joyous moment and still feel grief. I can love someone and still feel angry with them. I can be depressed and still laugh at something that tickles my funny bone. Emotions do not exist in a vacuum from one another. Feel them all!
Relearning Affirmation: I am allowed to feel all emotions. I can choose to be a positive person and still have negative experiences. I can be filled with joy and have bad moments or bad days. I can be a humble person and take full pride in who I have become. I can be fulfilled and feel a longing for more.
4. An independent woman cannot live a soft life
Whew! I could go ON! But, I will digress to say that whether it is in a dating context or in a friendly context, people have the terrible assumption that a woman who is independent does not have the capability or desire to be soft. That she doesn't want or need anything from anyone else. This false narrative is so damaging, and I wish that we could move past it. Listen! Most independent women are that way because they have to be in order to survive. It does not erase her innate feminine need or desire to be cared for. Stop penalizing women for having no choice but to do it all or fall apart.
Relearning Affirmation: I am allowed to be both soft and strong. I am able to stand in both my feminine and my masculine energy. The decision or requirement to thrive in independence does not erase my desire to be cared for and to live a soft life. I deserve ease, comfort and delicacy in my life. I can be a provider for myself and my children, but also stand beside a man who will take the lead as the provider when it is time.
5. I cannot be a healer if I am still healing
When I became a social worker, I realized that a big part of the journey would be learning to help others to heal while I was still on my own healing journey. I had to give myself the space and grace to know that just because I wasn't fully healed, did not mean that I could not add value as a helping professional. Then, I realized that healing really never ends. There will always be more to unpack and to face. Even in this blogging journey, my validity as a healer has been questioned by people outside of myself. I say to that "It's your loss if you cannot see the benefits of the message because you are focused on the journey of the messenger".
Relearning Affirmation: I am allowed to offer the gift of healing and guiding, even as I continue my own healing journey. I am well able to offer wisdom, hope, encouragement, and correction to others because I am outside of the box that they are held captive in. I am aware that the journey of healing is non-linear and I choose to give to others as I continue along my journey. The transparency and vulnerability to share my own journey is of great value.
6. My mistakes make me unworthy
I have made mistakes. I am making mistakes. I will continue to make mistakes. Those mistakes, I have decided, do not define me and they will not be given the power to hold me hostage. I expect others to let it go, as well. So many times, people want to hold mistakes over others' heads. I have had friends to share with me the things that others have said to them about associating themselves with me. It hurts and has made me question why I even try to pour into others. But, I am not my mistakes. My mistakes do not make me unworthy of love, friendship, or a future.
Relearning Affirmations: I am allowed to move on from my mistakes. I own my truth out loud and I take full accountability. I am worthy of good things, in spite of my mistakes. I deserve to forgive myself for versions of myself that I created to survive before I gained deeper understanding of myself. I expect others to move on from my mistakes or move on from my life.
I hope that each person who has functioned in the boxed in expectations of being one thing or the other gives themselves permission to be multifaceted and to be all the things that make you YOU! Don't box yourself in! Don't let others box you in! Do like Donkey and Shrek....be an onion. Embrace those layers of who you are as a person. Each layer has value, and you deserve to be fully, authentically, wonderfully you!
Light and Love....