The most freeing thing I have ever done is start owning my life, owning how I react to every situation, owning every single piece of my shit. It hasn’t happened overnight, but there was a huge turning point about 8 months ago. I began setting boundaries, I began living from a place of controlling my reaction rather than blaming or trying to control events or people. I started letting go and allowing life to happen knowing the only thing I have control of is myself, my reactions and my mindset.
I spent the majority of my life a victim and a martyr. Codependency and a complete lack of boundaries kept me there. From the outside, a lot of people would not have known this about me. I have always been very independent with fairly strong self-esteem. But, underneath, I suffered. I never felt good enough, I was a people pleaser always putting everyone else first and myself last, I let people take advantage of me. In doing this, I subconsciously thought the sacrifice of my own needs was something people would respect and everyone would reciprocate, always treat me well and have my back. Wow….I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Betrayal by some of my closest friends, employees and loves over the years, with an extremely heavy dose of it last year, had left me feeling depressed, kicked & beaten into the ground, full of anxiety, and very disheartened with humanity. I have always had a huge faith and trust that everything happens for a reason and look for the lesson in each situation. I did find growth opportunities each time. However, deep down I was still a victim. As last year progressed and more and more things were dumped on me, I slowly started to question….”what is my role in all of this?”, “what am I doing wrong?”, “what needs to change?”….along with many other questions.
I started by reading “Boundaries for Leaders” as I wanted to focus on my role as a leader before anything else. I started taking leadership classes, learning to set boundaries, take ownership of the fact that all of the employee issues I had been facing were due to my own lack of boundaries and enabling. At the same time, I read “Codependent No More”, thinking it was a book to work on my personal life. I soon realized the two went hand-in-hand, not only in my personal life, but also my professional life. I went on to read the original “Boundaries” which blew my mind away even more. The newest book I am onto is the very popular “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. The amount of growth, ownership, validation and insight is overwhelming and refreshing 🙂
There is no finish line in life. I will always have a long journey ahead of me. But, I no longer see myself as a victim. I no longer see my situations as limitations. I no longer view my employees, friends, family or even strangers as people to please or people to make me happy, sad, uplift me or even love me. I am not perfect, for sure. I often catch myself falling into old habits. When I do, I regroup and start over. I live more in the moment, in gratitude, in allowance. I worry less, stress less, have so much less anxiety. I feel calm, cool and collected easier 🙂 The shift has been extremely noticeable.
Owning your shit is not about giving others a free pass as if they never wronged you. It is about setting strong boundaries upfront. It is not about saying no to everything. It is about saying no when you don’t want to do something. It is also about saying yes when you don’t want to, but from a place of complete ownership of that yes and why you are saying it, even if it is something you would rather not do. It is not about letting others do whatever they want because you have no control over them. It is about letting them do what they are going to do but staying in your integrity, controlling how you react and holding them accountable. It is not about protecting or enabling others. It is about letting them make their own choices, learn the hard way and deal with the consequences which is actually helping them and you a hell of a lot more than protecting and enabling them. It is not about being responsible for anyone else’s feelings. You can be empathetic without taking responsibility for how they feel. That is all on them. And, it IS about owning your own feelings because that is all on YOU.
Owning your shit takes COURAGE. It takes a lot of time, energy, soul searching and honesty with yourself. It is HARD. It’s hard to admit the worst aspects of who you are to yourself. It’s hard to let go of your ego. It’s hard to realize you have no clue what the fuck you are doing. But, I encourage you to begin exploring…peeling back the layers, one by one. Deal with each layer in the moment. Feel it, cry over it, grieve it, embrace it, love it, own it and then continue the same process with the next layer. If you can be raw, open, honest and loving with yourself through this process, your life will change. xoxo.