My LOVES - we are halfway through week 2 of our dry January journaling series! I am so proud of you and I'm going to say that at least 10 more times.
Here is today's prompt:
"When in your life have you made a change that was uncomfortable at first but ended up paying off later?"
Change is uncomfortable. Because it's new. It's an adjustment. It's a guarantee that no matter how you decide to change your life, that change is going to be uncomfortable. For you it will change not only how you feel about yourself but about the people around you as well.
Humans cannot help but define ourselves through others eyes. It's how we understand the world. People tell us things about ourselves and we believe them. We are taught to stand out, but not too much. We are taught to be like everyone else but also be just a little bit better than everyone else.
It's not just that we are meant to grow up, we are meant to grow up better than everyone else (or at least this was what was in my head as a kid). Our mistakes should be understandable, our successes should be huge. When we make an unmakeable mistake like leaving a toxic faith or walking away from an unhealthy relationship though, those mistakes are not understandable to others in our circles. Because to us, they do not seem like mistakes at all.
They are choices. They are choices that are different than what our friends or our parents or our peers would do because it's what's best for us. It's not a mistake, it's not accidental, and it's definitely not a bad thing - choosing what's best for you. But it might make people you know and love uncomfortable if you two started going down different directions.
For the first time in my adult life, I am starting to realize how much agency and choice I have in my life. For most of my years, I believed that the people I loved had to approve of me and what I did. I was to make my parents and circle proud - above all else.
But what about me?
What about my pride and my happiness? What if everything I was doing for other people was actually killing my nervous system? Making me exhausted, unhappy, depressed, and anxious?
What if the person I was meant to be looks like nothing like the one I've been?
And that my friends, is fucking uncomfortable.
I have always had a lot of friends. It was always a very prized possession in my life. Until I quit church and my circle got instantly smaller. My cheering section dwindled down to a size I had never known before. But something magical happened in that process - the quantity decreased but the quality vastly increased.
This is not a knock to any of my former friends, this is an ode to me and who I actually am. The reason I didn't feel as close to my old friends is because I wasn't. I wasn't being authentic and honest about who I really was and therefore couldn't ever trust them with my friendship.
Anyways, it's just uncomfortable sometimes. This work that healing involves because it means saying goodbye to parts of yourself that you've carried for a long time. The need to impress, the need to be the best, the need to always look amazing and the need to always be doing well.
Those are burdens that I inherited from many people - my mom, my friends, fucking society (lol) but they are not actually my burdens.
They are other people's ideas of belonging and other people's ideas of healing and wholeness.
Only I can define what makes me whole and free. And now that I'm doing that, I realized how much of my life I built with other people's expectations. And letting those go is so scary but it's necessary. My people are the ones who love me as I am, not because they want me to change back to someone I used to be.
Growth is essential in this life and we cannot allow other people's lack of growth inhibit our own healing.
This means things will be weird sometimes. And I've learned that weird isn't bad, it is my relationship to the weirdness that throws me off sometimes. The idea that I "should" or "shouldn't be" certain things - that's the issue. We can and should be whoever the hell we want to be.
Being different is not a negative sign - being different is a sign that you are choosing yourself over other people's perception of you and that is fucking powerful.
Sometimes lonely, sometimes uncomfortable, but always powerful.