One of the best and often frustrating lessons that have unfolded from my journey of healing is that I learned I can make choices. Seems like a no-brainer, right? I could talk the talk, especially whenever drama was involved, but to actually understand that I can make choices about my life was a concept that was a little unconscious for me. This is difficult to admit, but I’m thinking this may be a recurring issue in some people’s lives. Especially those of us who are are healing from trauma.
Some of the Best Lessons:
I became aware that I can choose to be around people who are working or living towards self-discovery or I can choose to be around people who are satisfied to live with their eyes shut; unwilling to change, grow, and understand that in our world we need compassion and connectedness, not separateness and silence. I can choose to have the people in my life who aren’t toxic, and who want to walk that transformational self-discovery path that leaves you winded at times.
I can choose to say what I think about a situation or give my opinion about what is happening in our country, our world.
I can choose to add to a conversation knowing that I’m not taking away from that person’s moment, but that instead I may be adding to their moment and a deep and like-minded dialogue can occur.
I can choose to set boundaries with people. I can give my opinion, I can stick up for myself, I can say no, I can say yes, I can ask for what I want and what I think I need, and I can feel okay about asking for those things. I understand that I may not always get my needs met, but I learned I can never get them met if I don’t ask. That lesson took me right out of that “victimy” role, I would sometimes find myself in.
I know the above may seem basic and rudimentary but for me they were new concepts. I learned to make choices before the drama occurs. I don’t have to be afraid of who I am, or what I have to say.
I definitely was not a withering wallflower before, it’s just that now, I’m much more authentic and less afraid to be vulnerable. I found that I’m more likely to attract a group of people who are just as willing to be authentic and vulnerable as I have become, and have been able to let go of the ones who used their narcissism to get their own needs met at the expense of others.
Now the frustrating part of choice:
I knew this all along….I would have told any of my friends, my kids, my husband, or strangers that we all have the ability to makes these choices. I would have said to anyone…be authentic, be vulnerable, take a risk, take a chance. It’s amazing how I can look back and say “Whoa, I used to do that?” I used to be so afraid of what others may think of me, or worse, be someone I wasn’t, because I was afraid people wouldn’t like the real me and run away. In truth, the opposite happened. My friendships, and relationships are much more satisfying now than they were eight years ago.
I will admit, there are times, I still get sucked in and find myself in a situation where I need to change or create a boundary. But that’s okay, it’s all a process and a practice. The practice of living an authentic, connected and compassionate life.
Thank you for reading my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph