Today I woke up feeling the most relaxed I have felt well...ever. It was a strange feeling. I felt happy. I felt at peace. I just was. As I sat in bed, savoring my peace, I ended up chatting with an old friend. She is looking for direction, too. It seems like so many of us are. I got to know her years ago as next door neighbors, when her and I were very different people from who we are today. I am grateful we got to know each other then, because I don't know if either of us would have liked the other as both of us have grown and changed.
Judgement. How I perceive someone else or myself has a remarkable affect on the world. Judgement isn't always bad. It protects us from crossing the street when a car is coming, or eating a bad piece of sushi. When it comes to judgement of ourselves though, that logic tends to get a little bit wonky. Not all of our perceptions are accurate. Perceptions have been shaped over the course of our life. While our brain may think it's protecting us, it may be wiring us to perceive others in a negative light because of bad experiences. These judgements often hurt ourselves, by perceiving ourselves in an unkindly light.
Perception. A huge word.
When I first moved to New England five years ago, I barely knew a soul. I felt lost in this huge, cold, expanse of land that even the pilgrims had barely survived in. My mask on, I "tried on" different personalities to see where I fit in with others. There was the "New England Nancy" that knew she had to wear a puffer vest with skinny jeans and ankle boots. There was "Runner Nancy" -a familiar mask. "Runner Nancy" ate, thought, and talked only about running. Then of course, there was "Homemaker Nancy" Homemaker Nancy made Valentine's day sun-catchers with her daughter and had homey soups in the crockpot waiting for her spouse when he came home. Can you guess which one I liked least?
All of them.
None of them fully were me. They were all parts of me, sure. But to claim being happy about spending eight non-stop hours singing "A,B,C," songs with my daughter, or focusing on the detail of my "New England" look down to accessories was exhausting.
My perception to the outside world was confusing, and I had a hard time making friends. But, it's no surprise. No one could figure out who the hell I was. Heck, I didn't even know. How could I try to "fit in" when I didn't even fit in with myself? I didn't accept all of myself and I didn't even realize it. Sure, I pretended. I posted memes about "self love" with the best of them, but like yesterday when I blogged about feeling grateful- it doesn't count if you don't really feel it.
I didn't feel it for a long time.
Worse, I judged others in my head (and admittedly, sometimes/ a lot of times out loud) that were outside the norm of whatever "Nancy" I was at the time. My husband and good friend Stephanie love to remind me of the times that I told them I would never "run a 5k because I was a marathoner" As uppity and stuck up as the sounds, that's the woman I used to be.
I need to forgive that woman, but that's for another blog and another time.
Do you ever notice how the meanest and most judgmental people seem to switch layers, like that? One month they'll be into politics, they next month they'll be into weight-lifting. They are so insecure about their own self that they reflect it in others. It's horrible, and sadly, some never find that "self" and continue to act like that their entire lives.
I kept trying on "selfs" the way some people try on jackets. I couldn't find one that fit perfectly. The friends I did make, came and went like the jackets I was trying on. Because I was thinking in a very one-dimensional kind of world, the people I was attracting were very one-dimensional. It was okay for then, but it wasn't making me happy.
So I judged the heck out of others, let my perception of others fuel my envy, and felt sorry for myself.
Needless to say, my marriage was rocky (because who the hell was I going to be today?) and I was so, so, sad.
If I was being completely honest,
I missed my daughter so very, very, much. More than I ever let on. Sure, I talked about her. But, without my tribe that surrounded me after the death, I felt the death of myself, too. My intuition was shot. We were having a hard time getting pregnant again. My body started to go wacko. I had no real sense of who I was anymore, and no tribe surrounding me to hold me up.
I was angry at the world, and in the dark times, I let it show. I hurt people and burned bridges because, "who the hell cares" and I tried mask on after mask, trying to mask my pain.
What's the point? You're probably asking. Why am I pouring this out in blog that God knows how many (or few) are reading?
Because the perception of yourself is the most important tool you will ever have to determine your destiny.
If you are wearing a mask, you're going to keep wearing the mask until one day you wake up and say,
No more. I am not afraid of my whole self.
Trying on selves like jackets is fine when you are teenager and into your twenties. That's what you're supposed to do. But if you're in your thirties and still can't decide what self fits you best, let's talk. Keeping barriers up because of all that we are hurts not only ourselves, but everyone in our lives.
My mother in law and I have not always had the greatest relationship. It's not really a secret. Just like the rest of the people in my life though, she had a hard time trying to understand who the hell this woman was that her son married. She wanted in, and I resisted. How could I let her in when I didn't even understand myself? As a empath and as an intuitive, a lot of times I find when there are two people that have issues with each other, at least one of them doesn't have a strong sense of self. I had to work to work through figuring out who "Nancy" was. Then, I had to go back and start building the bridge. With my mother in laws help, the bridge been rebuilt. Sometimes it still rocks a bit. But, when it does we both work to keep it calm.
When you know who you are, accept who you are, love who you are- then and only then- can you start turning your light outwards.
If you don't, then you are going to find you keep running into problems with people.
Why does that stop when you find yourself?
Because when you find yourself, you don't care if someone doesn't like you. You move on. You don't put energy into relationships that aren't fulfilling because you knows with fuels you. You ignore the boss that makes snide comments. You understand that when you kids yell it's not because you did something malicious, but because they had a bad day.
What masks do you put on? What are you not allowing others to see? Why are you not allowing them to see you?
It's taken a long time for me to reach this point in myself. It hasn't been easy. But thankfully with time, I started finding the pieces that fit me in New England. My "Activism Nancy" came out in full swing in 2016. "Activism Nancy" turned into "Political Science Nancy" and then most surprisingly, "Representative Nancy" as I ran for a municipal position in my town in 2017. With those pieces in place, "Runner Nancy" came back, for awhile very intense as I trained and ran the Marine Corps Marathon in 2017. That part of me plays a much smaller piece nowadays, much to the happiness of my family. "Homemaker" and "New England" Nancy are also still there, but to a much smaller degree. I know how to dress the part but most days you'll find me in a sweatshirt and running shoes. I love my Instapot and my husband and I try to eat Whole30 most of the time, but I also don't freak out if my house isn't clean.
Thankfully, judgmental Nancy is no longer around. There didn't seem to be room for her when the new pieces started to fit together. Although I haven't mended all of the fences I burned down, I have mended a few. Most notably, a friend from high school who also has done a bunch of growing. It's incredibly healing to talk to someone who knew you around your worst and feel the acceptance that you so badly craved at the time.
This is my self. Pieces will forever be rearranging as long as I am alive. That's okay. It's healthy.
What wasn't healthy was the perception of myself. Once I changed that, everything in my life started to change.
Do you need to change the perception of yourself? Are you truly happy with the self you put out there? It's never, ever, to late to change. We've all done things. We've all been in dark places. It's alright. It's how we get through it that is important. And trust me when I say this,
There are so many people around you unseen, trying to help you reach your full potential.
How do you do that?
Start with yourself.
If anyone needs help with that- book a reading with me. I promise you, it is not because I need or want your money. It is because I know that so many of us are hurting, we are so unaccepting of ourselves. I feel it. I see it. Let me help you. When we accept and love ourselves, we shine a beautiful white light into the World. The world needs more light. The world needs your light.
What are you waiting for?
Take off your mask. Lay down your sword of judgement, hostility, and fear. Look into yourself. Find your light.