The Struggle Ends When We Unlearn Destructive Life Lessons
Growing up, I was skilled at maintaining a perfect-looking life. As a wise young person, I had never washed my dirty linen in public. My elders had taught me well, and my only response was to be obedient. Anything that happens within the four walls of a home is private and sacrosanct.
From a tender age, I was an expert at keeping my emotions and no one ever saw through me. I knew how to hide perfectly behind a smile. Never mind what’s going on inside because my outward appearance is more important than my inward significance. I was so skillful that after a while, I become unconscious that I lived in two separate worlds. On the outside, I was lively, playful, and forward-looking, hiding my own lies, shame, and guilt inside. I was the perfect girl who was always strong, positive, and in control of just about everything.
Wherever I go, I want people to be proud of me. Slowly but surely, I adopted the socially acceptable behaviors that harden into the many masks I wore to fit the roles I play. I was afraid if others would discover my true colors, they will never accept me. I constantly battle with brokenness, confusion, and low self-esteem. Most of all, I’m tired. Tired of living up to others’ expectations that I eventually lose myself.
That gave me the reason to deny my anger, to push sadness to the back of the closet, and accept that frustrations are only for losers. I believe I must be the strong one for everyone else. The funny thing is, no one was there for me.
I stayed in my head most of the time, asserting to myself that I must not cry. I learned to bite my tongue, swallowed my tears, and absorbed any hurt, no matter how painful, rather than connecting with my heart. I believe the victim is almost always the problem, and therefore, if I’m having a problem, then I’m certainly at fault.
I lived with excruciating pain for most of my adult life, not realizing until much later that what’s lurking behind physical pain is emotional tension stored, knowingly or unknowingly, in various parts of my body.
Suck it up and move on
For many years, Fear was my best friend. He assured me that no one would be interested to hear what I have to say, so it’s best to keep my dreams and hopes locked in a wooden chest under the ocean somewhere while I focus on becoming the ultimate people-pleaser, those who are family, friends, and acquaintances, or risk having them walk out on me.
He told me that emotional people are weak and unimportant, that’s why they’ll always end up alone, so I’d better suck it up and move on. At some point, I was proud of whom I had become. While other girls openly express their fragility and cried in public, I held back my tears.
I became an adult carrying these beliefs, pretending everything is okay when it isn’t. It was so easy to get overwhelmed with everything that was happening around me, at work and home. Friendships were the furthest thing from my mind. To make matters worst, I attracted the wrong relationships, the kind that does not reciprocate.
As I open myself to be vulnerable, to accept that being emotional is not a weakness and being afraid is not a flaw, I had to break connections with many people, renounce my religion, step out of my comfort zone and start owning who I truly am.