full moon over water at nightI was helping a client with self-esteem and self-trust issues last week. At one point I asked her, “Do you love yourself?” Her response? “I don’t know.”

I feel her pain. I’ve been there. Quite recently, in fact.

If you had asked me if I loved myself in 2012, I would have said, “Yes, of course!”

But I was wrong. You see, I thought that if I had high self-esteem, that meant that I loved myself.

What I came to realize when everything fell apart for me in 2013 is that my “high self-esteem” was a façade, a warped reflection, a mask covering my deep self-loathing and resentment. And that I really did not love, honor, or value myself at all…

You see, 2013 made me realize that I had ignored my self-love tree for so long that it had virtually withered away.  I had to start over. But how do you do that? How do you learn to love yourself again – unconditionally – when self-love has been absent in your life for so long?

The first step for me was finding myself again because somewhere along the way I had lost myself. Lost the connection I had to who I knew I was at my core, to my Soul’s Purpose in this life. I was so busy ‘doing’ my life that life had passed me by. I was 40-years-old, yet felt utterly lost and alone – more so than I ever had in my life. I knew something had to change, but what?

It was time to dig deep, reconnect the girl I once was with the woman I had become. But I was scared because I wasn’t sure I’d like the answer. Trusty purple pen in hand, I got out my journal and asked myself:

Who am I? In the core of my be-ing?

If someone else were to describe me, how would they answer the following questions?

  • What is she like?
  • What does she like to do?
  • What does she dream of?
  • If she could be or do anything what would it be?

 

Then I made myself go back and answer those questions for myself.

  • What am I like?
  • What do I like to do?
  • What do I dream of?
  • If I could be or do anything what would it be? What would I do?

 

What shook me to my Core was the realization that those answers didn’t match up – at all. The “me” I presented to the world was vastly different than the “me” I knew I was at my Core, the “me” I really wanted to be.

So I embarked on a journey, a journey to find the real me. A journey to act based on what I knew the real me wanted to do. I turned a few heads. The old me – the people pleasing, “Yes woman” me – was gone. My coworkers were confused. Why was I not agreeing to take everything on my plate now? Why was I saying “no” all of a sudden? My friends thought I had grown two heads and sprouted wings, and I lost some of them in the process. But then, if they couldn’t accept the real me, then they were not true friends anyway.

But you know what? I feel more grounded than I ever have before. Yes, there are days where my inner Superwoman still challenges me for saying no. When my inner mean girl questions every decision I make and tells me I can’t do “it” – whatever “it” is.

But deep in my soul, I know the real me. I found myself again. And this time, I am not letting her go.

 

 

 

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