& 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.
As someone who has spent YEARS...
being polite & keeping my needs to myself,
performing "perfect" (whatever the fuck that is),
and caring a whole lot about keeping the peace,
I know the cost of being lost within myself.
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.
before i started the
Being "nice" to others kept me from being kind and honest with myself.
Prioritizing the needs of other people kept me from knowing what I need and voicing it.
Perfectionism was a drug that kept me from grounding myself in the reality that making mistakes is a part of the process.
Trying so hard to "keep the peace" kept me in a constant loop of forgiving others while always blaming, shaming, and guilting myself.
Especially now as a recovering people pleaser, perfectionist, and rugged individualist, I am keenly aware that the habit of hiding our desires, needs, and failures can make us enemies to ourselves.
You can see what I mean in...
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. Not knowing how to move forward, and too afraid of peering into the past.
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 getting my Linguistics degree, I attended a language immersion program and unexpectedly learned a lot about relationships & trusting myself. Then, I ended up isolated again in familiar but strange territory: the place where my aunt had passed away. 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.
What was it that put me on my path of healing?
I told someone about my diagnosis.
I talked about it, airing out the mustiness of shame that had been collecting on this secret Then, I told a few more people. More air. And then, I told the entire social media world! Even joined a herpes activists network, becoming one of the members on the leadership committee. Ahh, it felt good to let go of fear of what others would think of my mistakes, my flaws.
The self-harming habits of being mean to myself (verbally and through substance abuse), shaming myself for what I thought was a life-altering disaster (it was, but not in the way I'd thought), and avoiding conflict or only covertly confronting things (because I feared direct communication would expose me)...
they all started to shed off of me.
The shame lifts every time I talk about what's been hurting me.
The guilt lifts every time I admit I'm hurt.
The doubts and fears fall away each time I own how I am feeling
and someone is there to witness me.