I’d like to tell you something you should hear daily:
You are worthy of your dreams.
All of them.
You are enough.
When I was younger, I never felt like I belonged. I felt like there was something wrong with me because I didn’t like what my classmates liked, I was sensitive, “too skinny” and also dyslexic, which meant that I couldn’t really read until fourth grade. Since I struggled like I did, I subconsciously concluded I was unworthy: I would tell myself that I wasn’t enough for years, that I was just too different and that I didn’t belong because I was different. In elementary and high school I got told I was “odd,” “weird,” and “strange.” I cared what people thought then, and couldn’t help but listen, which caused me a lot of pain because I based my self-worth on what I heard, and was not connected enough to my sensitive soul to know her battle in this life.
“Whatever you resist, persist.”
Growing up was spent feeling too much, leading me to try the opposite once I reached my early twenties, the years I spent running. Until this year, I ran from feelings, I ran from relationships, I ran from hardship and I ran from fear. I noticed this as patterns started forming in my life and I had a tendency to get to ‘stuck’ places, where I couldn’t make moves toward any kind of commitment on my chessboard in the game of life. If I did move pieces, it was followed by major anxiety and constantly wondering my worth, plagued by my doubts. I always managed to see the upside of things, but I was deathly afraid of rejection and afraid of pain. However, after being honest with myself I found that I was most afraid of happiness. Scared I would find my worth, and that it would shatter the image I spent so much of my youth constructing: “You are not enough” –had been my mantra for so many years.
To understand why a young girl –turned young woman, would ever feel afraid of happiness, we could go back and deconstruct my childhood, my parents messy divorce, being bullied in middle school, the loss of contact I’ve had with my Dad, or we could skip to the present: where I am now, blissfully awake. In the present I am the one telling the story, which means I have the power to shift even my own perspective: I once found comfort in the understanding that I wasn’t enough because I had learned to believe it to be true, based on my own experiences as a reflection of that narrative. It left me feeling empty and always searching to find something, but I didn’t know what I was looking for. At the same time, I would continually run from everything good because I didn’t believe it could possibly be for me, leaving me feeling not only empty but also afraid; I started to shut out even more. Eventually I stopped feeling, yet didn’t realize it at first. Then, one day, I woke up. I realized that what I was endlessly searching for was myself, and running away from her was no way to find her. So, I started the hard work: a never-ending process of staying committed (to growth, potential, empathy, and forgiveness) to myself, to find my best self.
I’ve always been the kind of person who never really bought into the whole “Fake it ‘till you make it” lie –I mean line. Like if I wanted to make the best chocolate chip cookies, I’d grow and extract that vanilla myself. In my life, that’s what I did to prove my own worth to myself. However, what I found was that it was actually here all along. No faking necessary either. Being committed to my best self meant seeing her within, but without searching, while growing too. Teaching yoga gave me the presence and awareness to see how my confidence ignites the confidence within my students on their mats. They approach yoga more confidently when I approach teaching them with confidence. We’ve grown together, and this has shown me how my view of worthiness shapes the way I approach anything. It’s also given me the insight to realize that having a true sense of worthiness means you can bring this out in others; you have the potential to make the greatest impact, if you know you are worthy enough to make one. You are.
Meditation has also been pivotal in connecting me to my truest self, in the form of energy. I meditate daily, which has allowed me to feel energy within: the same energy that connects all of us. I feel this energy connects me to my own soul –the heart of who I am, and I find trust in everything I don’t know and comfort in the peace this brings. It sounds like a contradiction to find trust in everything you don’t know, but this trust is that powerful. It gives me the self-assurance to rely on myself fully: I filled that emptiness I once found within, with myself, with the loving energy I possess –that we all possess. It is because of meditation that I find myself so present at times that I’ll even forget to remember to tell someone something I’ve been meaning to when I see them. To be so present is the greatest gift I have in knowing what I am capable of.
Feeling fulfilled has left me wanting to share more. It feels too overflowing to keep it all inside, but the more I give, the more overflowing it feels, and I find that I have even more to give. One example of this is being vulnerable. To be vulnerable is to open to love on such an exponential level: when love is present, fear is no longer. I can be vulnerable without searching for acceptance because I have it already (from within). Acceptance doesn’t feel like something I ‘gave’ myself, but rather something I’ve come to know as true. When I got called “a dreamer” by an ex-boyfriend from years ago, he meant it in a way that this was a part of me he didn’t accept. His acceptance mattered back then, but now if someone says they think I’m a dreamer (in an unaccepting way), I hear it and smile. Being vulnerable means leaving yourself open while knowing yourself well enough not to be shaken, even if revealing who you are isn’t accepted. Somewhere I slowly started to believe that maybe my dreaming heart is the best part about me; it was once what I protected most, which is why it has become the thing I am now most willing to share.
Whatever makes you different, whatever you are scared of most, whatever you resist: figure out why. Once you find out why, it leads you to answer who you are, to know who you’re becoming. Give yourself enough chances to face all the why questions: your fears. Finding out who you are at your core because you’ve faced fears, leads you to know your own strength, which you’ll need in order to know how you’ll get where you intend to go. And actually, on the road to that road, the more lost you get yourself, the better. It means you’ll encounter a lot of ‘found’ landmarks on the way to wherever you are going (follow your heart: the MapQuest of all soulful destinations). Your own self-worth and fulfillment will be what you continually find.
Wasn’t that what you were looking for all along?
Lastly, remember: don’t travel safe, travel light.