I twisted and bent myself into the shape of what I thought I was trying to be looked like. If I could just do better, be better, and try harder, things would finally be the way I wanted them to be.
It turns out I’m flexible but I’m not a pretzel, and living like that’s the fast track to a broken heart. You either get what you wanted and lose yourself or you constantly feel inadequate.
I decided to stop telling myself I wasn’t enough. I decided to let go.
Easier said than done, though.
I’m a control freak and relinquishing control is very unnatural. It feels like chaos. Like I’m switching to the passenger seat in the middle of a drive. I know how to let go, but my very first instinct is to hold on for dear life. If I don’t control everything, who will?
And worse, the what ifs. What if I fail? What if I miss something big because I wasn’t thinking ahead? What if my life turns into a giant mess? What if I lose people I love in the process? What if no one recognizes me? What if I don’t recognize myself?
It’s easy to stay on autopilot, being the person you think everyone expects you to be; being the version of you that you’ve come to be very comfortable with.
It’s decidedly harder to stay and be true to yourself. It’s possible you don’t know who ‘you’ are anymore. There will be tests and resistance at every corner. You’ll feel at odds with yourself and everyone around you. You’ll lose sight of the path you’re trying to create for yourself. You’ll fall back into old habits. Of course, you will. Perfect is not what we aim for. Slow, steady, thoughtful, and true evolution is the way. Setbacks are where we learn the most about ourselves.
Where do I begin? Begin anywhere. Each morning you open your eyes, be grateful for this day. Do your best to stay in the present and stay true to yourself, not the watered-down version of you, others will easily recognize. Your purpose is not to placate others while sacrificing yourself. You get to decide what it is you’re on this earth to do, what it will look like, and how you’ll do it.
Each day, each morning, each moment is another chance to begin again with a clean slate. To free ourselves from yesterday, who we used to be, who we used to love, how we used to act, or how far we’ve fallen. Be gentle with yourself. Acknowledge when something is hard, and celebrate the progress you’ve made. Someday you’ll look back in awe at just how far you’ve come and you’ll know it was all worth it.
Jessica is a directionless soul turned writer with a penchant for helping others work through periods of uncertainty and potential change. She currently writes for Bankable by Forbes and has previously written for Holl & Lane Magazine, Women for One, and at JessicaILutz.com.