& suffering in silence.
been there. over that.
I looked up "compassion" one day, and the internet told me:
compassion researchers say it is the witnessing of suffering and the desire to do something about it.
This my purpose; you could say compassion is my passion! And that's because I've been down many self-harmful roads that led me to feel ashamed of who I thought I was, hate myself so much I couldn't look in the mirror, and hold my depression and anxiety so close to the chest that no one could see how much pain I was pretending not to be in.
Becoming transparently honest...
after realizing the damage my shame, guilt, doubts, and fears were doing to myself and all of my relationships...
gave me the clarity to find a way home to myself.
My mission is to mentor others to advance an undervalued skill:
talking about it.
Giving a voice to self-harmful feelings like shame, guilt, doubts and fears is how we show ourselves compassion.
Without compassion, we cannot clear a path to our most vibrant selves who deserve the life and love we deeply desire.
I learned the value of this skill after years of hiding in plain sight, denying my most painful experiences the space to be seen, heard, and expressed. I know what it means to finally take that big gasp of air after drowning in self-imposed isolation, depression, and anxiety.
That feeling - the breath after an enormous weight's been lifted, the lightness of a heart no longer burdened - is what I aspire to ensure all of my clients experience.
Especially as a (now recovering) people pleaser and codependent, I am keenly aware of the way that the habit of hiding how we're doing can make us enemies to ourselves. You can see what I mean in...
Compassion - the witnessing of my long-time suffering and my commitment to do something to alleviate that suffering - was my saving grace.
In 2013, I was fucked up. Over a lot of things. A break-up. My aunt's and brother's deaths. Failing to complete my undergrad thesis on time. A herpes diagnosis.
And while I was living every day feeling fucked up on the inside, with no intentional outlet (because consuming a bottle of white wine and half a bag of Trader Joe's cheese puffs for dinner apparently doesn't count), I started turning into a miserable person. Go figure.
For the people I got fucked up with, I seemed happy. But for the people closest to me, I was making them miserable. In fact, my family refused to see me, my roommate moved out, and all of my friends were gone in an instant.
I was a bully. I was passive aggressive. I was masking my needs and simultaneously expecting them to be met. I was dumping on anyone who came close enough to try to love me.
NO WONDER they all left!!
It pushed me to do what I've always done: challenge myself to get outside my comfort zone and do something that scared me. I had to. I was already isolated. I was already convinced I didn't deserve love unless I proved myself. Why not travel across the country and figure out who I really was?
After joining a language immersion program and learning more about relationships & trusting myself than I did about Arabic, I ended up isolated again in the place where my aunt used to live. Once there, I was suddenly in possession of all her belongings. Among them was a deck of cards...
my first oracle deck.
Feeling lost, confused, and defeated, I turned to the cards. I asked the goddesses within the deck - and the part of me who was still determined to find myself - lots of questions. Their accuracy was startling.
Fast forward a few years through leadership development programs, interventionist and coaching trainings. After 3 years in hiding, not having told a soul about my herpes diagnosis - the thing that continued to weigh on me the most - I was still masking. Still passive aggressive. Still hurting.
Maybe you can guess what it was that put me on my path of healing:
I told someone about my diagnosis.
I talked about it. Then, I told a few more people. And then, I told the entire social media world! Even joined a herpes activists network, becoming one of the members on the leadership committee.
The self-harming habits of being mean to myself, shaming myself for what I thought was a life-altering mistake, and avoiding conflict because I didn't believe I deserved to be seen... they all started to shed off of me.
The shame lifted every time I talked about what had been hurting me.
The guilt lifted every time I admitted I was hurt.
The doubts and fears fell away each time I owned how I was feeling
and someone was there to witness me.
my saving grace can be yours, too.
that's what i wish for most:
that all the hurting people pleasers stop for a second and say,
"what if i chose not to
suffer in silence today?"