When identity becomes a battle
When I was growing up, my mom used to tell me to choose my battles wisely. I spent a lot of time trying to understand what she meant by that. I was always one of those people needing to understand everything. Later learned I had control issues that made my life hell, but that story is for another day.
I never thought my identity was going to be one of those battles. It was clear from an early age that doing what others expect of you and pleasing the people around you, is what is going to get you, love. Or something they called love.
It didn´t. It got me used and abused, leaving me feeling empty and confused. (that rhyme though) Not to mention criticised. At one point, I remember feeling like I didn’t exist at all if I didn’t have anyone to accommodate. I was unconsciously stretching myself out too thin in hopes of filling up my cup from the outside in.
Like the development of an old photograph, slowly old memories of a former self crept back into my awareness. Feelings I tried to suppress for so long took over. I understood that the life I had created so far was nothing but an escape from my inner world, echoing with hurt and insecurities. I started to awaken to bits and pieces of my truth. My likes and dislikes were making a comeback, it was scary as hell, but at the same time so liberating. The saying that I heard from my mom as a child made sense. This battle was one I was taking on.
First, I thought I was going crazy; there were just too many things flooding me at once. Memories, emotions, hopes, and dreams that I had been hiding away for so long. Some of them were familiar, like my sensitivity, the part of me wanting to include everybody, and while others were bewildering to me and took a long time to accept.
It is a journey back to self, a journey that is life long but worth every second. Today I feel thankful for that emptiness, and it made me question the way I lived my life, I realised it wasn’t even close to the life I wanted to live.
Honestly, I had no clue how that would look like because, to begin with, I had no idea who I was. Still, I am not exactly where I want to be, but today I know I am the one making my choices and slowly but surely I am building myself back up again. Some days feel hopeless sure, the gold in that is that I learned how to be with myself when life feels hard, and not only when it feels comfortable.
I committed wholeheartedly to self-awareness and healing. And not healing to correct some wrong, it was about being present with myself and accepting and validating whatever came up. In that way, it wasn’t a battle at all. Becoming my own best friend was liberating. There was no longer a need to run away from something. Instead, I was running towards self-love. Those parts of me that I once viewed as shameful became my biggest strengths, I could use them to set an example and realised they are what makes me who I am. Being yourself can be scary at first. I still have days where I feel it would be more comfortable just doing what everyone expects, but that wouldn’t make me happy in the long run. Also, it’s not who I want to be.
Inside all of us, uniqueness is present. Letting ourselves express that uniqueness is pure joy. Because it takes no effort, it fills you with energy instead of depleting it. Eventually, we find out who our real friends and allies are. The ones that stick by and genuinely want to see you happy will be the people you want to keep in your life. The rest? You didn’t fit together, just like two puzzle pieces that don’t go together. They belong elsewhere in the puzzle. There is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with who you are. And you can be anything, but don’t forget to bring your compassion with you.
Choosing your battle requires you to be in the here and now. Connected to yourself and having the guts to listen to that voice within that always tells the truth. From there, you will know what to do. I believe in us. We got this.
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