A Seat At The Table
Finding The Courage To Be Yourself In Any Space!
I've had many encounters where I felt the need to act differently around certain groups or individuals. Hiding aspects of my personality, faking to be accepted and withholding thoughts I would normally share.
I think in society we are told too frequently what we should do, how to talk and what to wear.
I'm 22 and can proudly say I've realized who I am.
This is a milestone for me because I grew up having to pretend that I was perfect, with no personal challenges in my life, to impress my caregivers and make them believe that I was worth keeping around.
I am a witty person, with lots of needs. I portray myself as having it all together, which I do...sometimes. But other times I am completely lost in the world.
I've created versions of myself that I would use as a defense mechanism. Many times I would meet someone and in the beginning I would portray myself as quiet, shy, timid and a pushover.
Now these qualities aren't completely made up..going through many trials lead me to become extremely depressed.
During this depressive state I became shy, timid and unconfident.
I was at my lowest point, I had to let go of everything that was no longer serving me. This was the hardest part as old habits die hard and the struggle of letting them go was real. But, I found that I continued to experience the same lessons over and over. I had to come to terms with myself and realize that not only were my bad habits self sabotage, but they were also hindering my growth.
The change came in waves over a period of 3 months. First was the denial, I couldn't believe how far I'd fallen and how much I had changed.
It was hard to accept that I didn't quite know who I was or what I wanted.
Second came the separation. As you know If you've read my other post,
I was dealing with needing to feel validated which stemmed from being on social media excessively. I believe that Instagram is an amazing marketing tool and when used the right way you can reach a lot of people but it can also become a cesspool for feelings of inadequacy if you're not in the right state of mind.
At the time I was learning about Instagram marketing and growth through engagement.
Laser focused on growing my page, I had a lot of creativity with little to no direction. This made me feel like I was always asking for validation. It was sorta like "hey look at me, I'm so creative" but my message wasn't focused and my heart wasn't there.
Third came the acceptance.
A summer away from social media to be more aware of my thoughts, my actions and the way I perceive things.
Thats when everything changed...
I no longer felt sorry for myself. I started making small changes in line with becoming the woman I wanted to be and let go of things that were no longer working in my favour.
I began to feel empowered in seeing the changes.
It became second nature for me.
I saw what I wanted to have and worked backwards from the end goal. I actually started with deleting my instagram account that I had been successfully growing for close to 4 months.
I had a new perspective and I was going to do it my way. This stopped the need for validation over time.
I had to grow apart from some relationships, that came with its own challenges and healing. It was hard to let go of people I knew for so long but a part of my growth was learning about boundaries and what that meant for me in my relationships. I'm still learning how to set boundaries that make me feel comfortable and allow me to be a strong, supportive person to the people in my life.
I grew stronger in my spirituality, I began to see how amazing I was.
During the depression I felt worthless. I had to see life for what it was and it was miserable at the time. Even though that's not a great feeling I had to make a choice, did I want to continue being sad engulfed in depression or did I want to work towards stability and clarity? I chose the latter. I focused on being grateful saying at least 5 things I was happy for a day. I began working out and being active, watching what was going into my body. I quit smoking weed and drinking alcohol. I didn't go out as much as I wanted to. I became transparent and realized that everything I was letting go of was making space for the new.
After lots of hard self help and healing, connecting with God through religion/spirituality, learning to push past mental road blocks and learning what true confidence is I let those negative character traits take a back seat to the things I realized were so much better about me.
Things like my sense of humour, beauty, pure heart and strong character. I'm still finding my seat at the table in rooms with others. I know now that I belong and I'm bringing all of my amazing character traits with me!