Outsourcing my self-worth led to a dead end.


We’re on day 13 of the New Year and 3rd lockdown and it’s rubbish weather. So I thought I’d write an uplifting/funny/happy blog this week. I wanted to share a happy, fun moment; when I had a genuinely happy time. I wanted to use the phrase ‘and we laughed and laughed’.


Blank. Nothing. Nada. I could not come up with one single happy, fun time memory.

What’s wrong with me? I must have had happy times? Why can’t I remember them.

Since I’m sure it’s not a physical reason (like losing my mind), then it must be an emotional one.


I talked it over with a friend who understands these things. After talking, I did some thinking and perhaps, did a wee bit of over thinking. I realised that, maybe, I am supressing any good, happy memories because I FEEL GUILTY.


I needed to understand why?

Why I could not allow myself to relax, to have fun, to enjoy life.

Looking back, I was always in a state of near panic. Why did I stop myself from having fun, being happy, enjoying myself?


I am not a patient person and so I just went for it. I needed to find out why. The next 72 hours were excruciating. It was painful to be me. I had to come face to face with the ugly bits of myself, face my demons head on and slay that dragon.


While I am not a religious person I really believe that there is something/someone huger than us.

I like to think of ‘the universe’ as this massive, exciting, bubbling, magical ball of energy; inside this magical universe, angels, souls and people, pets and animals who have passed, all live happily together.

And every single being on the planet is connected to this amazing ball of energy.

Now I wanted ‘the universe’ to magically line up and connect the dots and show me why I felt guilty. It didn’t happen that way.

There was no spiritual awakening.

But I did eventually connect the dots.

I think that the guilt is ingrained in my subconscious.



It is the result of years of conditioning, of a compulsive heteronormative existence and a passive ‘going along’ with what people wanted of me.


1. Childhood: Cultural expectations directed how I would live my life. Mine was a predictable traditional journey, with very specific, clearly defined gender roles. My gender determined my academic path, ambitions, my personal interactions and society’s expectation of me. It was a no brainer. It was expected that I would get married (to a man of course) and have children.

I understood, early on that if I did not follow that heteronormative existence, I would not be ‘good”. I would not be accepted.

So I conformed.


2. Adulthood: I became a first class people pleaser. I never wanted to rock the boat or upset anyone. I went along with everything that was decided for me. Most times I did not agree with what was being decided or what I was told to do, but I did not resist. That ingrained conditioning of ‘do this because it’s what everyone expects you to do ’ was the soundtrack to my life.



I outsourced my self-worth and ended up with no sense of self.


For years I hid me. Because I became who they wanted me to be,

I lost me.

I had no idea who the hell I was.

I lived in a flight or fright mode.




I did not protect my children. Years later, I feel guilty that I put them in situations (not in physical harmful situations but emotionally charged ones) that could have been avoided if I walked away.


Even when I came out, I led a dual life for a while.

I didn’t feel I deserved the love I received from my partner.

I avoided success.

I kept waiting for the next catastrophe to hit.

.

Slowly, I am finding the courage to speak up; I am letting go of self-imposed restrictions and limitations;

Slowly I am exploring beyond the boundaries that were set down for me by others.

Slowly I am undoing the harm caused by internalising a belief system that is dictated by others.


It’s a tough ride.

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