Recently someone posted a comment on a post I made back in 2005 "I stayed for me" which made me want to read it again...even though I remembered exactly what it said. As I sat there reading the words about the struggle I went through to find myself after a bad break-up I realized how much I've changed because of those struggles. It seems like a million years back to that person I was before; the person who let a man define her. But even though it seems so long ago I still question how I became that person opposed to this one that I am now? Do we learn it from someone or do we just happen upon it like the lottery except you don't win anything wonderful? I remember watching my mom as a strong career woman where she was respected and even feared yet in her personal life she let men convince her that her worth would only be determined by them. My mom lived as two people, the strong single mom who provided for two kids, became the first woman vice president in her company, and the woman who never believed she controlled her own destiny. Do we consciously teach our kids that they alone determine their fate or do we teach them that everything else except them is responsible for where they end up? Money, education, status....these are what we place so much importance on and we're idiots. Money can't make you a good person, education can teach you how to add two plus two but it can't teach you to have morals. Status can make you appear important - on the outside, but it can't actually make you important to yourself.
Now that I'm a mother I pray my daughter will not have the same heartaches, the same struggles, or the same anguish I had over trying to convince myself my self worth was only determined by me. I know she'll feel the pain of a broken heart but I want to teach her to let it hurt and then let it go...something it took me years to master. I don't want to have to teach her that she's in charge of her own destiny, I want her to know it instinctively.
To that young woman who reminded me why I am who I am right here right now, thank you. Sometimes we forget how hard we struggled to get to the place we are now which also makes us ungrateful for the circumstances that surround us. Circumstances change but what we are worth no matter what moment we are in - does not.
Self Actualization - the process of establishing oneself as a whole person; the ability to develop one's abilities or to understand one's self.
Have you done it? Have you even tried or did you give up long ago when you realized what an uphill battle it was? Call me an optimist, call me stupid, but I have been trying to get there, to get 'self actualized' for a very long time. There have been moments when I thought I was close, the birth of my children, success in my career, and then just as I felt the moment was near - 'Plop' down I slid right onto my ass. So what do you do when all those self admiring thoughts you had of yourself become MIA? You kick yourself in the hind end, hold your head up high and begin the climb again. Recently my backside has taken quite a beating as I try desperately to convince myself I'm worth the effort. I'm there...self actualized that is, at least I think the end is near. So how did I finally manage to grab the gold? I stopped listening to myself and went back to the beginning - the place where I began my journey and low and behold there I was, the parts of me I thought were lost or buried or burned beyond recognition. We get lost in our expectations so much so that expectations become the reminders of the failures that have filled our lives. We let them define us, shape us, envelope us until there isn't much left for anyone to recognize.
I woke up yesterday and realized that the very things that cause me to keep waking up, to keep climbing the hill - are the reason I am self actualized or whole or able to understand myself. I am whole despite the bruises, despite the pieces I've left behind because they were too painful to carry; I am what I am Sam I am. Acceptance....it is one of the hardest things you will ever achieve and the most rewarding. Now go look in the mirror and learn to love that reflection staring back at you.