This blog is pretty personal, so if you’re a reader or a friend, you probably remember the weightiness of my last post; this recent season has been mostly dark. But, like a soft light peeking through half-opened blinds grows stronger with the day, there has also been a kind and constant hope making itself more and more present in my dark spaces. As of late, there’s been some beautiful progress made. Here’s an update.
My relationship with myself hasn’t always been one I’ve given much thought to. Until lately when it seems I’ve been nothing less than forced. But I never understood the importance. Thinking about it now though, just like I may have critical thoughts about people around me, I have them about myself just as much, if not more. And these thoughts manifest into my daily habits. The self-talk going on within translates into a belief system I have about myself, which then dictates every single thing I do. The ways I operate at home, at work, with others, by myself. Every matter is rooted in who I think I am, and what I believe I deserve.
So as I’ve been trying to right my belief system about myself, I’ve been paying closer attention to my actions and the “why’s” behind them. In doing so I’ve noticed I have a terrible habit of making myself small.
In the tiniest details of my day, in ways that at first glance seem so insignificant, I’ve caught onto my small-making tendencies. It’s like I’m scared to take up space. I’m convinced the mindset behind small-making is birthed from some amount of belief that you are undeserving. Or maybe just that someone else is more deserving. Regardless, it’s a terrible confinement of the spirit. In my case, this belief and it’s physical manifestations have made me anxious, and inappropriately apologetic. These invisible habits matter, and they contribute greatly to your self-truth and well-being. I want to live confident and content, and unapologetically.
I sleep on the edge of my bed. This is my small-making tendency that has planted itself at the front of my mind the whole time I’ve been writing this post. Setting out on a journey to know yourself, to expose you to yourself, requires vulnerability and the belief that you are safe to do so. Well, if anywhere at all should feel like a safe place, your bed should be it. I’m a single, 24-year old and I think I should be cherishing my bed space, taking it for all it’s worth! Nevertheless, in my big, empty-except-for-me, all-to-myself bed, I grip the edge every night. It might seem insignificant to you, but for myself, I know there’s something deeper here. Obviously, the real weight lies in the choice, and the belief that I deserve to take up space, not really in my sleeping position. But I’ve started to move toward the middle.
Sleeping on the edge, saying “sorry” too often, sitting with a closed posture, balling my fists at night, not saying what’s on my mind, waiting for my roommate to leave before I move about the house in the mornings, this is my list of ways I reduce myself. Some are new revelations, others I’ve been aware of for a long time. But anytime I catch myself doing these things, I’m trying to consciously correct them.
- Not apologizing for things I shouldn’t
- Trying to sit with my limbs unfolded
- Falling asleep with open palms
- Speaking my mind
- Taking my place in shared spaces
- Sleeping in the middle
These small steps are me naming what I deserve, and exercising self-worth.
As I think about this year and how this season has unfolded, an author I’m quite fond of comes to mind. In one of her earlier books she wrote about a time when she felt she was in a crisis of spirit. As she describes her experience she speaks in a poetic and tragic voice about the inner upheaval she felt, and how confused she was since she had “already gone on this inner spiritual quest.” But she’s reminded that the spirit was never meant to be static. That we are continuously journeying toward growth, toward wholeness. There should never be a point when we simply “arrive,” and the growing pains cease. That is not the sacred intent of life. So for as much difficulty as there’s been along the way, I hope to never be rid of the growing pains. There’s a much greater beauty to be earned for it all.
*If you’ve been reading along or you’ve reached out in the last few months, thank you. Sharing my heart here, in some way, helps contribute to the wholeness of healing. I love you, I’m grateful, and I’m getting better.