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For a long time, I had given my power away to other people. The off-the-cuff critical word from a friend, a bad date, or a fight with a family member would send my emotional well-being into a tailspin. The natural vicissitudes that occur in even the most positive of relationships were difficult to tolerate. My thought patterns would circle back to an obsessive concern with other people’s point of view—about me. And, it had been suffocating me, slowly.
There were the frequent flyer questions. How will that look to everyone? What will they think of me? Will people be upset? Without consciously recognizing it, I was living according to the creed that as long as I didn’t ruffle any feathers or make anyone unhappy then I was doing okay in life. There was only one issue with that: I was miserable.
This familiar feeling is aptly captured in Katy Perry’s song, Roar: “I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath scared to rock the boat and make a mess. So I sat quietly, agreed politely. I guess that I forgot I had a choice. I let you push me past the breaking point. I stood for nothing, so I fell for everything.”
By being silent, I had become a watered-down version of myself. But as I began to spend more and more time alone in lockdown during periods of quarantine, I began nurturing myself more. Whether it be hobbies, interests, journaling, meditation, there was so much more time to go inward. Because there was less time being spent around others, much of the external chatter was muted. Abandoned parts of myself had come back to me. Life has gone from black and white to color.
The below declaration entails the lessons that I have learned during this time. It is the line drawn in the sand, the insistence that I am the definitive validating presence in my own life, that it is within me to call upon the determination and willingness needed to refuse anything that is diminishing of me, that I can create an empowering perspective in any situation.
I refuse to live in shame and unworthiness.
I insist on unabashedly receiving and giving love to others.
I refuse to silence my voice and dull my personality.
I insist on owning all parts of myself and personal experiences.
I refuse to live with worry.
I insist on meeting the present moment with calm readiness.
I refuse to betray myself for your comfort.
I insist on belonging to myself.
I refuse to live in a state of scarcity and lack.
I insist on being grateful for the abundance in my life.
I refuse to live in a state of social comparison.
I insist on running my own race.
I refuse to let my past define me.
I insist on welcoming the person I am today.
These declarations speak of the freedoms and empowerment accessible within all of us. What are the things that you refuse to allow into your life?