An important aspect of self-love is being true to yourself. Sometimes we can take on the identity of other people and their wants for our lives. It has negative repercussions on how we see ourselves. The way that we see ourselves is often how we treat ourselves. I am learning that if you can be okay with who you are and who you were created to be, there is so much joy and peace. A question that I have had to ask myself repeatedly on my journey is who am I living for? Which leads to the question, who am I?
I am a people pleaser working on boundaries. When I look at my life in regards to the question, who am I living for? I realize that I was living for everyone else in my life except myself. I was living for my mom, birth mom, dad, grandma, friends, family, etc. I spent so much time denying myself that I hated myself. I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror. I didn’t want to take care of myself. I learned that the more I live for other people, the more depression symptoms I experienced. This is a hard truth for me to confront because it left me feeling empty but made me aware that I was miserable. It is still something I am working on, but I believe that awareness is the first step in the right direction.
It wasn’t until recently I saw and experienced the freedom of being who I am and was created to be. I started showing up for myself because the decisions I was making were not based on other people. It allowed me to see myself differently. Which led to taking care of myself and doing the things I am interested in regularly. Learning to be authentic is a work and progress. It has and is helping me love who I am.
Now, ask yourself, who are you living for, and be honest with yourself? The question has helped me, and I hope it helps you.
Recently, I have realized that I struggle with what it means to love myself. I know it is important to love yourself, but it is still something I need and want to work on in my life. I believe that it is essential to my recovery and managing of my depression symptoms I have experienced. I have always heard you have to love yourself before you can love other people, but there isn’t a road map on how to work towards loving yourself. The conclusion I have come up with is it must be based on the individual in the areas they want and need to improve on in their life. I am the type of person who wants to see the start point and the endpoint and then make a decision from there, but the reality is were different. We can take all of the advice from everyone around us, but you have to put your twist or individual flare on it based on what works for you.
I have decided that I want to look into some ways to actual know how to love myself through different practices I have either been told about or research or a combination of both. Then put my Maggie’s way or Maggie’s flare to it because I know that is the only way it will work for me on my journey and my ability to get to the point of loving myself. Some of the practices may work well for me and not have the same impact on another person, and that’s okay. The goal is growth as a person and finding what works best for you. I am sharing my experience so myself and others grow in this area of our lives.
Check back and I hope something on my journey helps you with something on your journey!.
Growing up, I tried to be perfect, and I think it was more out of fear of being abandoned again. That fear I held and still hold with me throughout my life. I learned not to rock the boat, to have a mild manner personality for the sake of enduring. The road of perfection left me with staying quiet. I had to make sure I said the right things. I had to look a certain way. After all those years of oppressing myself, it leads to me experiencing depression to the point I didn’t want to live anymore. As time went on, I realize I wanted to live; I didn’t want to be this version of myself. Still today, I feel like I have to confirm to be deemed acceptable, even though I know being accepted by others doesn’t really mean much. People experience different things that make them change without warning making them like you one day and the next maybe not.
For the past couple of months, I have been thinking about who I am and separating who I am and who others say I am—trying to be everyone’s perfect, Maggie. When I say perfect I mean, everyone’s pleasing, yes person, accommodating Maggie. One way I have done that is by making decisions about my hair. Pretty much my whole life, I have had my hair chemically treated. Every time I get it done, the center of my head would hurt long after it was washed out. I never told anyone that it was hurting me. During the pandemic, it was something that I got a chance to decide on. There are a lot of people who don’t like it, and that is fine. I made a decision, and I am happy with it; besides, my head isn’t hurting as bad anymore. I may change it back and deal with the pain or not. The most important thing is I like looking more like the person I want to be and instead of thinking and wondering.
Often I am a watcher of life and not experiencing life, making it easier for me to conform to other people’s ideas. Right now, I like to illustrate my journey as two roads, and I am sitting on a bench. I love this illustration when describing my life and my journey. I write a lot about hope and working to change as a person. I have realized that I have been writing and living from the perspective of sitting on the bench and comparing and contrasting the difference. I know that if I go down the familiarity path, I can expect to not be heard. I can expect other people to decide who I am. I can expect not to reach my goals. I will most likely never be myself fully.
On the other side, the path of different. I know only the small part of what I can see down the path before it rounds out and can no longer see down. Even though I do not know what to expect that path to hold, I can imagine that it has everything I ever want down it. The reason I say that is because I have already been down the path that I have been on for 15+ years. When I was crying and hoping to die from the abuse I faced, I knew the better things that I wanted. I wanted then and still want a relationship with people. I want more time to be myself. I want more time not being a people pleaser. I am grateful for the old path allowing a break before remaining on the path because I do not have to go down the same horrors I went through before.
On my journey, I decided that I am ready to get up off the bench and continue the journey to new even though I will experience the good, the bad, and ugly experiences of life. Still, I will have more of the awareness to stop and make adjustments. When I say adjustments, I mean stopping to take care of myself and expressing to people I trust when something is not right instead of powering through it. This is my journey update.
At the end of last year, my life started to shift. I had a desire to be apart of life instead of just watching it. What I mean is I wanted to put away my past and everything that has defined me up until now! The biggest thing that I learned is I don’t need other people’s permission to be myself, to exist, or to live. I have been waiting for so long to be accepted by others that I elected to neglect myself for people to like me. What I learned was they still didn’t like me, and I hated myself. I continued to put my life on hold to support the people I cared about because I was trying to fulfill a reputation that I created for myself. The way that I care about people was developed because I know what it is like to not be seen or heard. I try to keep my promise I made to myself to show people that they are heard and seen. The problem is I don’t offer myself that same courtesy. I treat myself the same way people treated me growing up. I didn’t see myself or hear myself. Take it from me; it is a bad feeling to feel isolated from others, but even worst, to feel isolated from yourself.
I decided to mark this year as the year of completion. There are many things that I have put on hold because I was too afraid that I would not be accepted. The truth is my identity is not based on likes or dislikes. No one’s identity is defined that way. My identity is based on me fulfilling my purpose as myself, and not the bits and pieces of who people have told me who I am and should be or need to do. My overall goal is to complete the things I have started, and it is a lot. It is all about the beliefs of what you think that you can accomplish and the action place behind it. I know if I don’t try, I won’t fulfill my purpose and keep wondering what if…
My mom was telling me all throughout last year; life is all about what you make it. The perspective that you choose to have for the new year is up to you. I shared with you the hopeful mindset I plan on having for this year. I encourage you to take some time and write down what you want to do with your life. To be an active participant and not get swayed by other people’s beliefs. Reflect on it when you are ready. I don’t believe in new years resolutions. I believe people can make changes at any time of the year to improve their life. People should make changes and decisions when they’re ready. Then there is a higher chance to follow through. Regardless, my hope is we all stay grateful and pushing through the difficult aspects of life that we all experience individually.
For as long as I can remember, I have been living for everyone in my life. I was trying to meet an unrealistic standard that is not my responsibility to fulfill. Honestly, it is stressful and distracting. Stressful because you have to consistently adjust to other people. What I found out was it increases my depression symptoms. It is distracting when it is holding you back from growing as a person. So I had to ask myself, is it worth it? To fear life instead of living it. To decrease my self-worth to be accepted. To let other people define my existence. If you are struggling to change, ask yourself some hard questions, and be real with yourself.
I have been struggling with change for a while, but even more lately. There are so many things going on in my life telling me it’s time to change. Scared, afraid, nervous, it’s time. It scares me more to admit that I am afraid then the act of changing behavior(s). I know what this feels like to continue to do the things that I am familiar with because I know what to expect. Another factor that keeps me from changing is worrying about how others will feel about me changing. Often, I alter the real me, so I do not offend others when I express myself, which looks like I don’t have any thoughts and feelings of my own. Doing what is best for me needs to be the priority versus wanting to be liked by others.
These are the principles that I am learning and trying to adopt:
Were all experiencing life causing us all to develop a different understanding that causes us to change for the better or not.
People can have their own opinion about you, but don’t let that be the driving force of your life.
Change because it is something that you want to do and not to be accepted by someone else.
Love yourself enough to do what is best for your wellbeing.
I believe that if you don’t change, you will miss or delay the next phase of your life and where you’re supposed to be.
Life will be different, but you will be a better you by going through the changing process.
You don’t need anyone’s approval to make the necessary changes to be your healthiest self.
*When I say healthies self, I mean anything thing that you need to do for yourself to grow as a person. Approval of others is something most people seek at some points in their lives but is not necessary.
Where all are going to change for the best or worst through life’s experiences, we have the option to decide the side of change you want to be on. To make conscious decisions to increase love, hope, peace, etc. Or choose to be on the side where life just happens without any proactive decisions from you. You spend the most time with yourself daily than anyone else. What side of change do you want to be on for your life? Whatever side you want to be on, make sure it’s the one you won’t regret later.
*** Side Note ***
I had this post written for a while, and then something happened in my life that made me question myself some more. I am risk-averse to change. I don’t like being unsure if something will work out in my life or not, so I tend to have one foot in a new opportunity and one foot in the life I know. I do this because I like having a safety net. The truth is, it leaves me stuck. Sometimes I think, the real important things in life require removing the safety net and having faith. When you fall, and you will, in the beginning. It’s important not to retreat to safety and remember the goal you have for your life/self.
Recently, how I see myself has come in to question. Loving myself has always been difficult personally. I think a lot of it comes from others’ perception of me. I tear myself down or recondition my self to be acceptable. I think I’m at the point in my life where I want to put aside everything that has made up my identity up to this point and figure out what I want my life to be. I was born into a lot of things, but that doesn’t mean I have to do those things the people before me did.
I got the last piece of the puzzle for my life up until now this past week. When I look at the completed picture, it’s not a pleasing image, but the beauty of puzzles is you can remove, add, or alter certain pieces to get a new image. Seeing the whole picture of your life can be difficult to see, but maybe taking a risk and stepping into a new direction will give you the hope that it’s okay to change in a positive direction. Who knows, it may lead to healing and allow you to grow into the person you’re called to be.