“Free yourself from the inauthenticity and disempowerment of your story.” ― Steve Maraboli
In life we create stories of where we have been, what we have done, or what has been done to us. These narratives become a part of who we are and can be reflected in our environments, connections, and how we interpret others behavior. We use this identity to garner either positive or negative attention, feel superior and worthwhile, or often to unconsciously perpetuate a victimhood consciousness. What we have survived somehow becomes a vehicle to justify our shortcomings and lapses of judgment while continuing to delude our understanding of our own emotional intelligence, as we embrace the “no one understands me” mantra excusing ourselves from ruthless self-evaluation. There are those of us that even invent alternate external realities because our core experience is so riddled with shame that to integrate and take ownership of our inadequacies would be too much to bear.
Our internal anecdotes can act to support how we have been slighted, mistreated and used, or contrarily justify our disregard of others and our adoption of covert ruthlessness or malignant power plays. Our actions, choices, and cumulative habits then align to support future abuse, perpetuate martyrdom, or create indifference to our own toxic behavior. The irony is that even the merciless villains we disdain in our memories are sufferers in their own realities.
The more dogmatic our point of view, the less likely we are to accept that we are the constant creators of our experiences, becoming more prone to repeat harmful patterns where the faces of the game change but the feelings and results remain the same. We either don’t believe in karmic cause and our own capacity to manifest a spectrum of beliefs blaming others for our repeated life experience, or we trust that just punishment will strike our wrongdoers never stopping to take an honest look at what our lesson is in being cheated, hurt, or disempowered repeatedly. It is easy to perpetuate our reality if we refuse to acknowledge that everyone has needs and motivations, and to judge our own as more innocent than someone else’s does nothing for our own growth.
Due to an inability to take ownership we become victims of narcissists, sociopaths, con-artists and megalomaniacs, or embody these traits within ourselves without much to say other than we were victimized. We get manipulated, duped, taken to the cleaners, or do this to others mostly always with our own permission and desperate need for nurturing or external validation. We become physically or psychologically ill, experience cognitive dissonance, or are left questioning our own worth all the more when things didn’t go as we had hoped for with another.
We give immense power that inherently belongs to us to other human beings, buying into the idea that they have the capability of ruining us. We render ourselves defenseless and collect wounds and experiences that reopen them which collectively become our handicap to self-realization. On the contrary, those that we have deemed our attackers, victims in their own right and mind, have learned the life skill of manipulation and siphoning others self-worth, friendliness, likeability, energy and success, rather than learning how to develop their own like the “empathic” prey. This is most likely because in their historic environment empathy wasn’t as useful to survive.
Everyone is wounded to some extent; we all just cope in different ways. It is up to each one of us in this life to learn to protect our energy and authority. If we give away our agency failing to hold ourselves in high regard, we have no one to blame but ourselves. We must see the part we play in our own experience, what we are willing to entertain, and reflect deeply on the lessons presented to us otherwise we are bound to an unconscious existence of experiencing endless and repetitive discomfort at the hands of another.
The path to knowing one’s self is not easy. Pieces of who we are can be found along the way in the reflections of others, but this comes at a price. If we are not prudent, we can lose more of ourselves than we gain when we fail to act at the first signs of concern or misalignment. We must work through the discomfort of our internal world on our own, otherwise whatever or whomever we seek to placate our pain will only eventually compound it. To transform our love for ourselves and others and live the lives we envision, considering some viewpoints contrary to the mainstream may assist in taking control of the quality of our experience:
#1: Consider for a moment that there is no “the one.” It is nice to believe that the empty spot in the puzzle has finally been addressed, and now life is complete. Many times, we try to make a piece fit even if it doesn’t belong. If we want to believe that “the one” is coming, that “the one” is here, or that someone has the potential to be “the one,” we overlook behavior and red flags that are warning signs of impending painful experiences and repeated lessons. This is also the first instant we start bartering our sacredness for the validation of another. We want to believe in the divine, magic, and serendipity of a soul mate, but don’t believe in our own divinity. This can apply to mentors, jobs, significant others, or our preferred shoulder to lean on. The truth is, our life is ours and ours alone, and we are responsible to uphold our own self-respect, dignity, and peace. Anyone that honors these things has the right to be “a one” until they lose that space.
#2: If either participant of a romantic relationship says, “You feel like home,” this is a serious warning. This is the first hint of traumatic bonding and can quite quickly turn into an unhealthy codependent relationship dynamic. For many, home is not only a place of various unresolved issues and cause of many personality defects, but it is often a felt experience we must repeat and play out until we have done all the work to address the events that took place there to shape us into who we are. Moreover, who wants a lover that thinks of their parent when they are with their partner? This can also apply in work settings and friend groups. Frequently, we choose experiences and roleplay in environments that are comfortable to us, even if they are dysfunctional.
#3: There is no past or future. The mind is full of memories and traps that create most of the issues we have connecting to ourselves and others. We compare ourselves to societal standards, expectations, and norms to shield ourselves from wrath and judgement at all costs. It is wise to prepare for the unexpected and make plans, but our happiness, fulfillment and choice to operate at a high level of vibration must only ever be in relation to the present. If we stay stuck on how things were, the connection we once had, or the love we hope we will have someday if we wait long enough, we are already lost. If a relationship is not what we want right now in this very moment, it is not the one for us, right now. This is not to say that all of our expectations are justified or healthy, again this is when we are called to introspect. We spend a lot of time wishing and trying, playing parts and games, with optimism that we will be chosen if we become good enough at it. We must choose ourselves.
It is not selfish to honor our higher self. We must have our best interest at the forefront so that we are empowered to make the most positive impact in the limited time we are here. We are called to transcend projections and the attempts of external factors that cause us to question our value and lovability. People will test this throughout our life, especially if we do not pay close attention to our own inner guidance and are susceptible to the manipulation of others words or promises. We must get comfortable learning to develop personal power and responsibility taking ownership of our choices, our experience, our safety, mental and physical health, and our life. We all know when something isn’t right, and if we keep wanting what isn’t right the real work lies within.