To be transparent, I have been going through therapy since April of 2021. I have had a lifetime of experiencing difficulty with my family members, parents, children, friends and especially myself. I was not given any tools or guidance about how to love, when patience is needed, staying connected with people that were important to me, or even how to love myself.
I really did believe that if you aren't arguing, you are doing ok. If you aren't unhappy, then you must be happy. I have been my family caretaker ever since I realized my mom didn't like my dad very much at all and somehow I felt it was my duty since the age of 9, to help fill those voids of emptiness or friendship my parents went without. My siblings were a whole slew of different personalities and even though my brothers didn't like my dad too much, they all ended up just like him. My mom shared nothing wonderful about being a woman or what that might be like as I got older, and I do mean nothing. When would I learn to love myself?
Honestly, loving yourself was for people without much to do who read a lot of self-help books and never get to use their newly read skills because no one around them cared if they were trying to feel better or live better. But at least the reader got to feel inspired temporarily as the pages were turned by their fingers giving them small visuals of that new idea and how they would use it.
Without learning how to love yourself, you really don't have much to offer others around you. I was sure I had a lot to offer...I work hard, I'm good at many things, I support the journey my children and husband go on throughout their daily life, I'm honest and completely invested in all of them and I keep this 3 ring circus running, whatever it takes. That has been my job, my whole life, that has been my job. I have been "of service" this is what I knew.
My therapy has brought me through emotional breakthroughs - I didn't even know I was struggling with. I journal daily and find mysteries of my life answered as I work through timelines and memories and put pieces together that I didn't even know were pieces. I have realized my anxiety, my sleeplessness, my disappointing built-in verbal responses to many interactions, my fails in my marriage and my relationships with my children have all been hanging by a thread for many many years.
Sitting in this chair, now, today...I have awakened. I have learned so much about myself. I have done the work and I have intently decided to change. I want and desire, the best, rest of my life. This in itself takes truckloads of dumping the old me, forgiving me, seeing me and loving me. I have had to give up relationships that I thought I was obligated to keep and nurse along but have found them to be toxic and don't permit me to be my authentic self. I am changing my narrative. I just don't hold space for the negativity that was an everyday part of my life that I apparently was comfortable to live in.
I don't have many people in my life these days. But I do have space for positive, reciprocating, contributing, authentic humans that see what I am doing here and respect the journey. I have never felt worthy and deserving of the love people have wanted to give me. I sat on my regret, my shame, my negative life experiences and my empty soul.