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I spent the last 37 years constantly apologizing for how I lived my life.
I thought the world expected that of me. It never occurred to me that I allowed it, because I refused to stand up for myself and declare otherwise. Our society is so quick to judge and place requirements upon us, especially on women, and I capitulated to those unreasonable standards every single time. Having grown up without any real sense of worth or trust in myself, I did not believe it was okay to take up space. It made me uncomfortable when I saw others standing proud in their truths, unwilling to make themselves small. I did not recognize the fact that my discomfort came not from their behavior but from my inability to inhabit my own skin.
For years, I was so disconnected from my body and my intuition that I had no idea it wasn’t the way everyone lived. I thought that was a normal existence. Of course, it is for many people – this world does not encourage us to understand and embody ourselves. Dissatisfied, unhappy, uncomfortable, unfulfilled—I just thought that’s how it was, and that it would never change. Living in constant victimhood but unaware of it, I felt prey to the universe’s every whim. It’s terrifying to believe that you have no control over anything, and that’s what my brain has told me as long as I can remember.
Because I believed I had no control whatsoever, I grasped desperately at anything and everything to try to wrangle myself some power. Ironically, I felt helpless in the areas where I did have freedom of choice and bitter when I couldn’t force that which was out of my control into submission. Not sure what I was doing or where I was going, I preemptively made excuses for myself to everyone. I saw my own uncertainty mirrored back by the skepticism in their eyes.
I don’t do that any longer. The truth – a truth I’ve realized at long last – is that this is my life and I’m not here to live it privy to anyone else’s opinions or expectations. There is no need for me to apologize to anyone. The only person that I extend an apology to these days is my past self for not supporting and trusting her this entire time. I’m no longer ashamed of who I am and the space I inhabit. I am worthy of it, just because I exist. Every soul on this earth is here for a reason, including me. It took me a long while to see that, but I’m so grateful that I finally do.
I still don’t know exactly what’s next, or where I’m headed. The difference is that I’m okay with it now. Because I’m okay with it, I no longer worry about what anyone else thinks of it. It’s my life and it’s really no one else’s business. I’ve found that when I stand securely in my own uncertainty, trusting myself and the universe, others back off. I do not accept unwarranted opinions or feedback anymore. I don’t bow to the least hint of criticism. My life is far too precious to waste it, pulling myself in every direction attempting to please people. It’s a thankless, impossible task, and I’ll never be enough for all of them. Best to be happy with myself and allow the rest to follow once I’m in flow with my own truth.
I refuse to let anyone else dull my view of myself or undermine my worth. How I move through my life is my responsibility, no one else’s. I now choose to do so with grace, kindness, compassion, and curiosity – for myself, for others, and for my past. As I make the choices that determine my journey in a way that affects no one else, I have no need to answer to anyone for them. It feels good to stand in my own power. This sense of liberation was 30 years in the making.
Now when I’m asked questions, I simply answer with the truth. There is no shame in that. If I don’t know, I don’t know. If I make a choice and end up moving in a different direction, that’s absolutely fine. My reality is as valid as anyone else’s, and it is valid no matter what’s going on. Society is what’s backwards. The sooner we can all begin to embrace the entirety of who we are and speak from our hearts with vulnerability and courage, the better off this world will be.
We waste so much time worried about the opinions of others when we have no time to waste. Life is short. Our time is the most valuable commodity we have. I now choose to spend it in mindfulness, presence, and living every day in my reality and my truth.