As I thought about writing this blog, I asked God, “What do you want me to write about?” Then I prayed that it would flow with peace, ease and grace. It’s been an uneventful and peaceful week (yea) living in paradise, with no big lessons and nothing coming up to be healed or let go of (that I was aware of, anyway). My intention for today was to hear God more clearly and to heal and transform whatever blocks me from receiving more good in my life (which is more of God.)
As I lay on my bed to rest and listen to God, I heard the words of my father resounding in my head. He always used to say to me, “FIND YOURSELF!” As a young girl, I had no idea what that meant, but it stuck with me for all of these years. I am not sure that he even knew what it meant, but he somehow knew it was important to impart to me. Over the years I have added the words: FIND YOURSELF, KNOW YOURSELF, AND BE YOURSELF! As I began to think about those words my father used to say to me, I realized that as a child, I was lost – to myself. I had no sense of self and had no idea how to love myself. I was not taught how to love myself or that it was even important to do so.
In Anita Moorjani’s book Dying to Be Me, she writes, “I was taught to put others first and myself last. I wasn’t taught to love myself or to value who and what I am. Therefore, I had very little to offer others. Only when we love ourselves unconditionally accepting ourselves as the magnificent creatures we are can we offer the same to anyone else. Cherishing the self comes first, and caring for others comes naturally. Selfishness comes from too little self-love, not too much, as we compensate for our lack. Our world suffers from too little self-love and too much judgment, insecurity, fear and mistrust”
One of the painful messages that I received as a child from my parents was that I was conceited. I don’t even know if I understood what the word meant, but it didn’t sound good because it sounded like I was selfish. Now I can see that all I wanted was to have my parent’s attention, to know that I was loved unconditionally, and to be valued no matter what. Unfortunately, I didn’t experience any of that due to generations of family alcoholism and abuse, so my emotional and spiritual needs were not meant.
There are 3 unspoken rules in an alcoholic home (or any dysfunctional system where your needs are not met.) They are: Don’t Talk, Don’t Feel and Don’t Trust. Because of these rules and the pain that was inside of me, I learned to be a “people pleaser” and became really good at it! Pleasing others and achieving seemed to be my mission in life because I didn’t know any better on how to get what I needed. My life was driven by fear; fear of displeasing others, of failure and not being good enough. I had no idea of what I wanted or what I was feeling, but I thought I knew what everybody else needed. I desperately needed to be loved and looked outside of myself to get the love that was inside of me all of the time. If I made YOU happy and pleased you, you would love me. I was clearly love-starved and “beat up on myself” because I never felt good enough no matter what I did. I pushed myself hard to do better and be better and became exhausted in the process. I had no idea how to listen to my father’s words and FIND MYSELF.
When I listen to the words of Amazing Grace – “I was lost, but now am found,” I recognize that it was through the grace of God that I was found and, developing my relationship with God was how I found myself. Today I know that I was never lost to God because God and I are ONE. Even in the darkest moments, God was always there for me loving me into wholeness. My father’s advice was right because FINDING MYSELF has been the greatest joy and gift, although it was sometimes painful and I kicked and screamed along the way.
It has been a life long journey to get to know myself (which will continue for the rest of my life) and then learn how to love, honor and trust myself. I have learned how to give myself what I need rather than always looking outside for others to do that for me. I have also learned how to ask for what I need when I need it. Most importantly, I have learned to go within and find the Love, which is God. Without the grace of God in my life, I wouldn’t be who I am today. As I look back over my life, I am amazed how I have changed and grown and have asked myself, “Who is this woman I have become?”
To think that I traveled over 5,000 miles across the ocean by myself, to follow my heart and live in Hawaii blows me away! I have to laugh because there was a time when I wouldn’t go out to lunch by myself because I was afraid that people would think I didn’t have any friends. I even dropped out of college in my junior year for a year because I didn’t think I could write a twenty-page paper! A few years later, after facing my fear, I finished college and wrote a successful book called, Simply a Woman of Faith.
I do not regret anything that has happened to me over the years because it has made me the woman I am today. Growing up in an alcoholic home prepared me for my life’s work as an alcohol and drug therapist. Learning to forgive everyone and every experience from my childhood is how I can help my clients to do the same. Everything I have experienced has been a gift that has helped me to FIND MYSELF.
Today, I strive to be aware of what I want, think and feel and to love myself unconditionally. I have learned to do that by trusting that I am a child of God and experiencing God’s unconditional love. Every day, I practice gratitude and choose to live in love instead of fear, as I offer my authentic self to the world. I am learning not to push to “make things happen” anymore, but to allow what is mine to come to me. My desire is to be the woman God created me to be, to be the star that leads others to the God within. I want to be who I am, and follow my heart in every action I take. I believe that is how you FIND YOURSELF, and then, when you allow your true self to come forth, your life will transform from the inside out.
Do you wish your relationships were more fulfilling?
Do you find yourself resenting all you do for others?
Finding myself and what I wanted has been a journey. Learning to love, trust and value myself has brought me to places I never imagined. I went back to college at age 40, asked my husband for a divorce at ago 50, wrote my book, Simply a Woman of Faith at age 60 and left my full time job as an Alcohol and Drug therapist of 20 years to step out in faith and start my own business as an author, inspirational speaker, spiritual coach and radio talk show host.
Being the oldest in my family, I took on the role of being overly responsible and a people pleaser. I had no idea of who I was or what I felt. As I took the inward journey through therapy, prayer and meditation, I uncovered layers of low self esteem, unworthiness, inadequacy, fear and not feeling good enough.
Many women lose themselves in their various roles and have no idea who they are or what they want. They are someone’s wife, mother, friend, daughter or employee, but don’t have their own identity. They often give their power away by focusing on what others want at the expense of themselves. They can feel resentful because their needs aren’t met. They are not in touch with their feelings because they have medicated them through eating, alcohol, drugs, workaholism, staying busy, rushing, shopping and approval addiction.
Shore up your courage and slow down. It’s time to go within to find yourself and explore what‘s important—what makes you happy and fulfilled. It can feel scary at first: you don’t know what you’ll find or what will be asked of you. You may choose to take a stand and leave an unhealthy relationship or job that is no longer working and hindering your progress. When you take a risk and follow your heart, you live your authentic life with unlimited potential and possibilities.
Developing my Spirituality and finding a Power greater than myself to heal and transform me was crucial to becoming authentic. Spirituality means “connectedness.” I connect with myself, with a Power greater than myself and I connect with others. I needed to learn to trust that Power (whom I call God, but you may call nature, love, source, universe, goddess or something else) before I could trust myself and others with my true self. I needed to know that I was loved unconditionally and I didn’t have to do anything to earn that love. I was loved just because of who I was.
Prayer helped me feel safe enough to take off the mask and be myself. Facing and moving through my fear is a constant in my life. Whenever we are called to a higher level of consciousness and living our potential, our fears rise to the surface. We must do vengeance with our fears to live the authentic life. Fear is the thief of dreams.
I invite you to find a spiritual practice to “plug in” to this higher consciousness daily. It will help you feel loved and connected to Spirit and the core of who you are. It will help you joyfully discover your authentic self.
Ten Tips to Becoming Your Authentic Self
- Show up everyday for yourself, for Spirit, and the world by sharing your gifts and talents for the good of all. Embrace that you are a child of God, one with Spirit and are loved unconditionally.
- Stay focused on what you want to create in your life by staying in the moment , letting go of the past and concerns for the future.
- Speak up, say no and set a boundary, when necessary.
- Stay grateful and focus on what’s working, rather than what’s missing in your life.
- Ask for what you want and believe that you have already received it.
- Believe in yourself, love yourself, trust yourself, cherish yourself and forgive yourself.
- Face your fears and take a risk to follow your heart’s desires and intuition.
- Have courage and be honest about what you feel and think.
- Step into your greatness and magnificence knowing you are worthy of abundance and prosperity.
- Surrender: let go of control and the outcome.
Written for Aspire Magazine
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Author, Inspirational Speaker, Spiritual Coach, Retreat Leader & Radio Talk Show Host
Simply A Woman of Faith
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