During a Vesuvius type eruption, I was forced to take a long, hard look at the person I was at my core. I needed to learn how to put myself first and listen to what I needed. I could no longer move forward in the direction that I had been. It was time to be me.....totally, completely, genuinely.
What I found post eruption was not all rainbows and butterflies. Placing my needs first meant that I would have to cease the one thing I have always done. Putting others needs before my own....people pleasing.
I was a chronic people pleaser. Essentially, a people pleaser does everything for others and nothing for themselves. I placed the needs of others before my own. I loved others more than I loved myself. I moulded myself into a billion versions of me in order to make people feel better or hurt less or feel happier. And it occured at the expense of my own happiness and emotional wellbeing. The hardest thing for me to learn was how to love myself and place MYSELF at the centre of that love.
To truly love myself, I needed to work out who I truly was....at the deepest level. And, as a chronic people pleaser...it was difficult for me to know how. As I became more focused on me and displayed changed behaviours I could see that people couldn't relate to me anymore. I wasn't the person they knew me as. I wasn't what people needed me to be. What I had always been to them. A chronic fixer upper-er, the make things better-er, the all is ok even when it isn't person.
It takes courage and is bloody scary (think being face clawed by a baby dinosaur) to make the decision to be true to yourself and learn about who you are at your core. To stand up and say no to the people you love because essentially, you need to love yourself more.
I could no longer pretend that I was ok. I had to look my inner demon in the eye and say, "Show me" and it showed me in all my raw-ness. I did not like what I saw. I was insecure, ashamed, weakened, alone and fearful. Seeing my truth was uncomfortable and felt like I was having my eyelashes pulled out by a gazillion tiny scorpions!
Over time, my inner turmoil has diminished. I have experienced myself at a deeper level. I am a different version of myself. I am stronger and better able to say what it is I need because I am my first priority. I am changed and once you go through life change, you can't "unlearn" it. It becomes part of you.
I can now accept that it is not my responsibility to "fix" everyone or prove my loveliness. Its my role to love and be kind to myself, to accept my flaws and forgive my mistakes (easier said than done btw). I am embracing my flaws as gifts to learn from and my strengths as foundations to build from.
Do I love myself? Yes, with conditions. For now. I still feel the need to gloss, fix, band aid, make better and place my needs at the end of the pile. I am learning to resist those behaviours and place my needs as a priority. I am on a path of loving myself unconditionally, as I am.....true to myself, authentic and an absolute non people pleaser (cue applause/happy dance)....and for that I am pleased.