I can remember being at a workshop once where we once were supposed to write a life mantra. Something to keep ourselves floating on a pink cloud of happiness, take back laminated to our offices, and smile with warm, down to Earth good feelings every time we look at this.
I hated this work shop. My anxiety was swirling into lists of everything I had to be doing back in my office (or after hours since I had signed up for an employee workshop meant to help with stress management.) The fringe benefits in front of me were not grasped with the authenticity they were meant to. The hypervigilant performer in myself pretended to muse, smiled, and volunteered to read mine out loud. I remember throwing that thing in the trash within a month.
I remember thinking revealing imperfect layers of yourself on any level were weakness and utter bull shit. Authentic wasn’t a word in my vocabulary. Its no wonder I strived so hard in so many areas of my life to fit in and be “liked.” I had no clue who the hell I was. I was an actress trying to please the world and excel at everything I touched (all while appearing flawlessly unruffled and rested.)
I hate that version of myself. It literally served me no purpose and kept me feeling so alone and isolated for so many years. Anxiety may have added benefits of stress cleaning that proves to have results in the end. Not being present is a determent; not an asset. It robs you of peace, serenrity, and true authenticity.
I bring all of this up as it came up on my walk today as I was thinking about what these definitions really are in my life. What are: joy, peace, serenity, and being truly authentic to me? What are they to other people? I need to know what they are so I can figure out some type of status quo in my life to maintain and properly protect with boundaries.
I refuse to be inauthentic in any area of my life anymore.
Serenity to me also means safety. Sadly, when I was attacked and assaulted on a running trail over 5 years ago, someone took that boundary of safety from me. Because of that I struggle with personal space with strange men, walking or runing alone in the dark (at night primarily) and sometimes even being approached by well meaning strangers. I’ve come a long way from even a year ago, but feeling safe in my own skin again is going to be a life long journey I don’t expect everyone to understand.
So this will have to be ongoing, fluid, and require rigorous honesty with myself. No more bull shit painted on smiles.
Its okay to feel things that don’t feel okay and process them in a healthy way.
Its not okay to bottle anything up that can lead to a resentment and mess up my recovery.
Find out what truly matters to you and protect it at all costs.