I've been asking a lot of questions over the last few weeks, mostly directed internally. I'm questioning my reactions, my future, my drive and what really makes me tick. And, I've discovered a few answers.
The biggest question weighing on my mind is "where do I go, what do I do next?" It's a particularly telling question since I've been in transition for the last two months with changes to my employment status and relationship, and it's forced me to turn inwards - far more than I have ever before.
Here's what I've learned so far:
1. I'm a lot stronger than I give myself credit. I've made a lot of changes in the last few months, some forced and some not. At a time when my career life was up in the air, I found myself taking a stand on a personal front and ending a relationship that was toxic to me. Whereas before I would wait for the best time or stick my head in the sand hoping for the other person to change, I chose to say goodbye to my partner and start afresh with no apologies. I had reached my limit and took my stand.
2. The only one I'm responsible for is myself. I can't be responsible for other people's issues. This came from the Ex Man and it was a long time coming. I realized that while I am responsible for myself, I was not put on this earth to "fix" other people. Just as the changes that I'm making must come from me, other people must too make the changes for themselves. It won't stick otherwise.
3. While I do have my issues (don't we all), for the most part I really like the person I've become. My sense of humour is off-colour and may not suit everyone but I can laugh at myself and find the funny in the everyday. I'm smart, pretty and kind to others, sometimes when they don't deserve it. My laugh can sometimes be too loud (yes, I've been told) and not everyone appreciates spotted dick jokes. To them I say "walk away."
4. To truly change, I must take ownership of my part in the conflict that rages in my head. While looking inward can be scary, it's even worse to stick your head in the sand and pretend the problem does not exist at all. And, if it's change you want, embrace it. Don't pay lip service to it and expect change to come to you. Change needs a forward motion and not just hot air.
5. It's okay to say no. It's okay to put yourself first. It's okay to listen to your gut instinct. We have it for a reason and often we ignore it in the name of the common good - of what everyone else wants or expects for us.
Despite these relevations, there are still difficulties - a nagging voice in my head left over from my childhood, of expectations I perceive whether they're based in the actual world or in my own grey matter. The overall goal, however, remains the same: to learn to accept myself, to revel in the supposed flaws that make me human, and to embrace and not avoid the changes I need to make for myself.
That's where the idea for Secure Woman came about - it's a new online forum and yes, I'm hawking it. My very dear friend Anasatan and I had discussed at length the many negative messages we receive on a daily basis telling us to change this, change that, that what we're doing is not right, that we can improve by following countless steps. 10 ways to get your man to notice you, lose 20 pounds in 10 days and get that perfect beach bod booty. You'll be better if you only did this (insert any activity here). What these step-by-step instructions fail to do is to celebrate the things that make you you, and that you as a person, as your authentic self, is a pretty neat package.
Sure, there are things we want to change. We all have our warts, but the underlying message we're trying to get across is that it's okay to love yourself - loud laugh, karaoke singing, off-colour humour and all.
Check us out at securewoman.blogspot.com. We'd love your input.