I went through a process of being intentional about healing for 100 Days straight. It was transformative. I’m not wealthy, popular or traveling the world and living my best life with an Instagram account gaining 100+ followers daily, but I am wiggling out of the cocoon I wrapped myself in following my PTSD diagnosis. I’m fully engaged in work for the first time in a couple of years, and I’m starting to put myself out there. I was just notified that a conference proposal I submitted was accepted. A piece of legislation I wrote will be filed and sponsored. A report I wrote is generating real questions about accountability.
And yet I’m still crashing into bed by 9:30pm, not bothering to brush my teeth or get dressed unless I have to be somewhere, not exercising regularly and not able to put a grocery list together.
I’m listening to audio books to learn more about what I don’t know – how to successfully navigate relationships, my healing brain and being an entrepreneur. I’m reading more about what I don’t know for work – methodologies, law and best practices (and throwing out some of it because my experience tells me it’s not a very sound way to do things, then realizing I have the confidence now to make those calls).
I’m finding myself more attractive.
No really! When I look in the mirror now it’s a much more positive response. I’ve lost 12 lbs but let that stall out for the last couple of weeks before I go back to focusing on where I want to go next.
So the next thing, really, is to decide what’s next. But based on what is best for me, what brings me joy and what makes me excited to get out of bed most mornings, not based on obligations, responsibilities and the belief that I’m not enough. I am. Time to act like it.
You know the when you’ve been struggling with situations that you don’t really understand and are frustrated that the outcomes not only don’t match your expectations but you can’t really connect to the issue? Just me?
This week it’s been fear. The underlying issue in so many of the situations I’ve struggled through is fear. And I don’t immediately recognize it because I’m not connected to my center. I’m stressed, overwhelmed and straying from being present, so I can’t see it. Until I step away from the chaos, get a good sleep, take my time to wake up and…ah. There it is.
Usually it’s me that’s fearful. This time it’s fear in others that I want to tackle head-on. I want them to be aware, to see it and to give it a name. And at some point it will come back to me, because choices will be made that will push me to choose, and fear will undoubtedly be part of the equation. What if it doesn’t work out? What if I’m not enough? What will I do next? What if I get hurt? What if it gets worse?
I have stayed stuck by fear for a long time. As I push my way out of it and work to open up my life and myself to a way of living that isn’t based in fear, I’m learning how often fear is at the root of an issue, and trying to be aware so I can give it a name and release it.
For the decade or so of my career before I started a company, I worked for companies that had abusive work cultures. I didn’t know it could be different, and I had been raised to not be a problem and not think my needs were important. I had a boss that would goof off all day, then make my work partner and I stay 2-3 hours late so that he felt like he was getting something done. We had already been working all day and had gotten our work done, so we were pretty resentful, and him taking us out to lunch once or twice a month did nothing to make up for his horrible management style and how hard I had to work to cover his mistakes.
I worked for two generations of ownership who all thought that as long as you were on salary you had to work as much as they wanted doing whatever they wanted. It was not out of the norm for me to miss lunch or to do something completely outside my job description, or to work 80-90 hours a week, once for three months straight. I missed holidays that I was owed per my position and HR refused to comp them when I could finally take the time off. My bosses were verbally abusive, more especially when I was trying to keep up out of legal trouble, and I was frequently given 4 hours to do a project that needed (and that most people would take) 2 weeks to do. The day I walked out of there on my own choice was one of the best moments of my life.
When I started a company, I brought all of the bad habits with me. I ignored my needs and a work style that fit me best and accommodated my business partner and my clients, not taking time to manage myself, my company and my work in a healthy and productive way. I felt like I was never doing enough, so I worked on projects and took very little time to work on the company.
That all stopped when I announced I was divorcing my business partner. That all stopped when I finally started doing what is best for me and the work that I love. I started taking more time to work on the company, getting template documents set up, getting my accounts the way they need to be set up and getting all of my files organized and cleaned up. I started putting down work when I was done for the day and not pushing myself to work more because I thought it (and I) wasn’t good enough or hadn’t done enough. I stopped answering my phone on weekends. I stopped saying I could do anything or that my clients could skirt all of the rules they didn’t like. I started building boundaries for the pro bono work I take on. I started setting boundaries for my schedule. I started acknowledging I have needs as a person that need to be met. I started investing in software training so that I can be better at my job.
I started doing my thing for me with my rules and my boundaries. And I’m so proud of myself when I look back at what I’ve overcome.
Two days into keto, and I’m down 3.8 pounds. I apparently hit ketosis fast – woohoo!
It feels really good to practice discipline in what I eat, something I have struggled with for so long. I attribute it to the hard work I’ve done in PTSD recovery, to working through shame issues, anxiety, realizing how much I’ve been numbing, learning what I use to cope and seeing that I have other options – options that take work and practice, but that are improving my life so much.
I think I may have stopped numbing. I’m stopping work when it’s at a stopping point and I can reasonably be done for the day – and I don’t feel bad about being done and I don’t feel like I didn’t do enough. I’m not eating to ignore my feelings, and I’m conscious of what I eat. Work and food have been my go-tos to ignore my feelings and my problems for years. This feels pretty good.
I had a lot of creativity last night and was able to think through some ideas I’ve been stalled out on for several months. That felt great too! The other side is that now I’m feeling, I’m also feeling hurt. The emotions I’ve been blocking and ignoring for a long time are still there and still have to be dealt with, and I understand that…and am slowly accepting it. But that also leaves from for happy and a lot of other good things, so here’s to exploring that.
Somehow today ended up being the day I’ve had to stare my self-worth in the face. @#$%
The message I’ve gotten for as long as I can remember is that I’m not good enough, or I only have the value assigned to me by others. Which still means not good enough. It’s come from so many people in so many situations that I don’t even remember how it started. Trauma hit that mess with an exponential multiplier, and here I am, today, getting knocked down again with where that’s gotten me.
After some painful reflection, this might be the first day in my memory that I’m enough for me. Which means I don’t need to be good enough for anyone else. Just me.
A word has stayed with me over the last year as I’ve endured one trial after another. Not one I chose or a “word of the year”, rather one that came to me, that I’ve grappled with, that expresses the complexity of my experience.
It is used in different ways in English. It means a few things to me.
First it was that I’d had enough. How much could a person endure? I’ve since learned not to ask that question. Then I wondered if I could do enough, if I had the capacity to do what was required of me. I’ve struggled with believing I am enough, that what I offer and what I can do is sufficient.
There aren’t many aspects of “enough” I haven’t contemplated, worked through, worked around and sought to understand. I’ve looked at the concept expressed in Scripture, linking the idea of fullness and completion to the concept of “enough”. It’s notably part of Jesus’s teaching on forgiveness – how many times do you forgive? Essentially, “enough”. He said 70 x 7, but those words were symbolic, not a literal 490.
I’ve been so challenged by this word. But I think the challenge is past and the practice is present. To live with “enough”, peacefully.
I’ve had enough.
I have enough.
I am enough.