These questions are as much for me as they are for you. Don’t think I have this all figured out – I surely don’t. I’m right here with you.
After all, this entire blog is inspired by my own mental health journey and the belief that many of you out there are experiencing the same struggles. Humans are more similar than we sometimes want to believe. We are unique in some ways, but we carry many of the same burdens, dreams, hurts, and hopes.
So yes, if you guessed that I’m struggling with this very issue at the moment, you’re correct.
I’m historically terrible at standing up for myself and what I need. Maybe you are too, and that’s what brought you here. Maybe you, like me, have always believed that something is wrong with you, that you are weak or pathetic, because you struggle to simply speak your truth.
Well, it’s time to tell that judgmental, perfectionist, mean voice in your head to fuck right off.
Has it occurred to you that none of this is your fault? Has anyone ever brought that thought to your attention? If not, I’m truly sorry. Your painful difficulties when it comes to protecting your core needs and wants are not due to some inherent flaw in your personality. They are the result of the trauma and lack of support in your past.
I never knew until now that I’m not to blame for my inability to express my needs either. I never learned that I don’t know how to stand up for myself not only because I wasn’t taught, but because any instinct I had to do so was shot down and smothered by my authority figures. Of course we learn to people please when the people who raise us demand it.
I can’t tell you to let go of your anger towards those who stunted your growth and created this fearful pattern in your nervous system. I haven’t quite let go of mine, and I won’t be a hypocrite. What I will encourage you to do is actively work on rewiring your ability to take care of yourself. After all, we can’t change the past, no matter how much we’d like that. We can change how we move forward and address the situations that occur in the present and the future.
Can you imagine living in a way where you stand up for your truth, your wants, and your needs, and you feel no habitual instinct to apologize for it? No guilt, no shrinking sensation that dates back all the way to your youth, no fear that you will be reviled for simply existing in your own reality?
It’s okay if you can’t – I usually can’t either. But every tiny step towards this goal is a step in the direction of a happier, more actualized future. It doesn’t have to happen all at once – in fact, if you try that, you’re almost guaranteed to become overwhelmed. Please be kind and gentle with yourself on this journey. I understand that it feels embarrassing when you seize up during conflict or let the opportunity to stand up for yourself pass you by. I understand that you feel like a little kid, stuck back whenever you were taught your truth didn’t matter. I feel that so deeply too, and I am here right by your side as your navigate the discomfort of shifting your patterns.
I LOVE YOU. You matter, and you deserve to stand up for yourself. You are allowed to have needs and to set boundaries. Don’t let anyone in your life who tells you otherwise.