I write my blogs from a moment of insight, an a ha moment, or a gold nugget I’ve gathered from someone or something. Today’s moment came in a conversation with my mom. I don’t think I’ve ever given my mom enough credit for who she is and has been for me. There could never be enough, “You’re a great mom” statements to cover it. She is my number one fan. She shows up, period. She came to Parent’s Weekends at college and watched my rugby games in the freezing rain. She drove all the way to California to watch me graduate and endured my massive melt down over the fact that I didn’t receive the student award. She made me the coolest Denver Bronco couch cover in the world. She’s awesome. She has ALWAYS believed in me and been there, always.
Today, I was talking to her during one of our morning conversations (we talk just about every morning) and she said, “It’s only taken you 41 years to finally get how awesome you are.” In my defense, I’m just under that… I have 5 days left until I’m 41. But, still. That’s a long time. We both laughed. She said, “It sure hasn’t been pretty, but you finally get it.” She’s right; it wasn’t pretty. For a good chunk of those 41 years I hated myself. I thought I was ugly, stupid, and had absolutely no value. That was my truth, zero self-worth. I didn’t believe in myself or my future. It was hopeless to me and often thought suicide would be the best option to end my miserable existence. This was the not pretty part.
At my core I thought I was worthless. Yet, I was desperate to feel worth something. I wanted, more than anything, to feel special, important, or worth something. I sought this in approval and validation from other people. I was addicted to it. I’ve heard many times over the last month that everything is either an expression of love or a call for love. I was sending out calls for love, big time. In my attempt to be special in the world I turned into a world-class people pleaser. I was super good at it too. I did anything and everything to please my teachers, friends, parents, and bosses. I often received awards, accolades, and acknowledgement for this behavior. Like I said, I was really good at doing what other people wanted me to do or what I thought they wanted me to do. People told me all the time how special I was and I ate it up. Yet, it never lasted or was enough. I just couldn’t get that same high. I needed more. This was exhausting and excruciating. I kept raising the bar so I needed more and more to feel good about myself. I stressed out and obsessed when I wasn’t getting the praise or approval.
I put people on pedestals all the time. I felt they were so much better than me. They were smarter, more charismatic, better looking, and more fun to be around. I was a huge groupie. I’d spent tons of money and countless hours to be in their presence and to have them notice me. I wanted to please them so that they would think I was special. This was hugely important to me and I took just about everything they would say or do personally. Again, super exhausting and massively painful. My feelings were hurt all the time and no matter what they did it was never enough. I just couldn’t be good enough or do enough to feel special, important, or that I mattered. I was getting nowhere.
I finally realized I was lost and the faster I ran the more lost I became. This was not the way to feel good about myself. It wasn’t out there in the world somewhere. It was inside me all along. This has taken me a long time to get and I know there is so much more to it. I finally stopped. I stopped seeking and searching. I just stopped. I started taking a look at what I was telling myself and really questioning it. I got very curious about my thoughts and began to question them all. What I realized was so much of what I believed about myself just wasn’t true.
I started creating a new foundation for myself. I realized my value never changed from the moment I was born. I was like a $100 bill. No matter what happened to me, no matter how many times I stumbled to the ground, I was still worth full value. $100 isn’t worth less because it gets dirty or forgotten. Same with me. My value doesn’t change. There is nothing for me to earn, prove, or do. I’m valuable, worthy, and special just because I exist. I don’t have to earn it. This was HUGE for me. Life changing.
I just kept working on it. I kept questioning my thoughts and started being a lot nicer to myself. I started saying loving things about myself and acknowledging and appreciating myself. I started to feel so much better. The more I did this the more peace, love, and joy I experienced. I became hooked on this and went deeper and deeper with it. Loving myself became what I was all about. Then I saw the magic in helping other people do the same.
So, on the phone this morning I was telling my mom why I didn’t want to drive two hours to meet with my boss’s boss’s boss. The top dog. Old me would have been in heaven at the chance to wow and impress the top of the top. Yet today I didn’t have any interest in it at all. I was thinking of cancelling. This is when my mom said, “It’s only taken you 41 years to finally get how awesome you are.” It took me a moment to see how the two were connected. Then I got it. I didn’t need her to tell me I was special or amazing. I didn’t need or even want to please her. I didn’t need this anymore because I finally got it; I’m already awesome. I realized I didn’t want to go to this meeting because I didn’t want to put myself in this situation anymore. It actually was kind of repulsive to me. But when I got that I had an opportunity to create a huge impact for my community in going to this meeting it changed completely. Now I was inspired. I was inspired by the difference it could make for kids. I was inspired by the difference I can make. I was inspired by me. How frickin cool is that?
I was recently asked to take a few minutes to send a prayer to those I love in my life. Two things came to mind in this prayer. First, I prayed that everyone in my life would know how deeply I love them. Second, I prayed that each and every one would know just how awesome they are. That is my prayer for you, that you know how much I love you and just how incredibly awesome you are.