Most mornings, I dread starting my day because I know that I’ll have to face my toughest critic. She tells me what a failure I am, why I should be ashamed of myself, why I’m not good enough and don’t deserve a thing I have. Eventually, I tear myself out of bed, go in the bathroom, and look in the mirror to face her.
Lately, that voice has been getting louder and louder. A few months ago, we found out that Pete has to move to Toronto next year for his job. I’m not going to lie, it’s taken me until now to come to terms with it. I’ve wrestled with the idea of moving out of my hometown (which is so weird because I never thought I’d still be here!). I’ve lamented the end of an almost decade-long career at the same company. I’ve envisioned life without my family and friends and favorite bar and all the nooks and crannies of a city that only someone that’s lived here this long knows about.
I initially rejected the idea of moving entirely. I’ll just stay here for the year. We’ll see each other on weekends. It’s not that far.
And it could’ve worked. However, I slowly came to the realization that I was being led by fear. Specifically, the fear of having to wake up each morning and look into that mirror and not have any of my usual distractions to keep those voices in my head at bay. No job to reinforce that I’m smart. No friends to tell me that I’m funny. No usual hangouts to make me feel cool. Just me. And what am I without all that??? According to the voice in my head, nothing.
My mind has been swirling with these thoughts until the other night when I hanging out with three amazing women and talking about my struggle of not knowing what to do after we moved. After voicing my fears, one of the women, Elizabeth, looked right into my eyes and asked a simple, poignant question, “What if you gave yourself permission to just be?”
Immediately tears welled up in my eyes as she continued, “What if you allowed yourself the same patience and support that you’ve shown Pete and just let life lead you for awhile? You’ve already proven that you can provide for yourself and your husband. You have great friends. You have a good home. You’re already successful. Can you give yourself permission to take care of yourself for awhile and let that be enough?”
Her words hit a nerve in my soul. That was exactly what I was grappling with, but I hadn’t yet put my finger on it! I felt so unworthy that I couldn’t imagine taking it easy on myself. I couldn’t imagine concentrating on my wants and needs, even when the opportunity to do just that was looking right at me. I was so stuck in the survival mode that I adapted to as a child (If I’m good/strong/smart enough, I’m worthy of being loved!) that I was still clinging to that life skill when completely unnecessary.
Could I extend enough kindness to myself to let go of the fear of being unworthy and realize that even without a job or a child or a huge group of friends… that I still have purpose?
The move will be hard in many ways, and I realize that it’s very possible that I may find a great job and friends during our year there. But now I can move ahead not trying to convince myself that I need those things to be worthy. I’m worthy all on my own.
Thank you April, Elizabeth, and Jeannie. You’re amazing women with beautiful souls.