18 December 2012

Brand New Me.

It's been a couple weeks since I've posted. But my mind and heart haven't been idle since then. Through EMDR, I've been digging deep into my past to identify road blocks - places where I have made up my mind about something such that I haven't been able to move forward in that area since then. For example, when one of my first boyfriends would obsess over my body and pick on me for eating too much or not going to the gym, I made up my mind that I was only as good as my body looked in the eyes of guys. From that point on, I had huge body esteem issues and never felt good enough. Another example is the fact that my parents make me feel bad when I don't visit them / make plans with them as often as they would like. They lay on the guilt trip and keep a tally of all the times they have initiated plans vs. the times that I have. This cycle has ingrained in my mind that I'm only a good enough daughter when I'm in touch all of the time. 

It's incredible how many times in my life I have built one of these dams. In the moment, I was completely ignorant of the fact that I was enabling a blockage. But months... years later, I am starting to recognize the parts of me that have been stagnant... chambers of my heart that I've closed off. There are certain situations, like new a boyfriend or a new friend that requires a lot of attention, that will trigger that preconditioned response ("I'm not good enough) and it will totally inhibit my ability to be present. I'm not living in the moment when I feel judged by my boyfriend or resent that friend for reaching out all of the time. I'm living in the past and continually experiencing those blockages. All of the present relationships suffer from those dams built in the past. 

Am I good enough? YES. No one gets to tell me that I'm not - not even myself. I know that I have a healthy body. I know that I am a good daughter. I know that I have a voice, an opinion. So why let the past or someone else's experience of me change that?

The good news is that once we see a blockage, we can unclog it and let the love/acceptance/confidence - REALITY - free flow again. 

I've been putting some new perspectives into practices - like setting boundaries with my parents, saying "no" to friends, and catching myself saying mean, negative things to my reflection. It's amazing what this awareness and honesty has done for me. The resentment starts to melt away like magic! If you are honest about how much time you want to spend with someone, what you will/won't accept, how you want to be spoken to -- you don't leave room for people to unknowingly walk all over your boundaries. People aren't mind readers. You can't assume that everyone has the same understanding about what boundaries are between friends, family, coworkers, whoever. You have to lay down the line for yourself, and respect the line that others draw too. Resentment only means that you haven't be honest with what you will and won't accept. Are you always going to agree with friends and family about what the boundaries are? No, of course not. But making each other aware of them is guaranteed to make the relationships healthier and happier for both sides.

When you enlist such a powerful change in your life - like speaking up when you previously would have been passive - there are probably going to be instances of other people not liking those changes, or even judging you and challenging your new perspective. Someone who used to walk all over you might be ticked off that you now say, "I don't like it when  you talk to me that way" or "It makes me not want to be around you when you act like that." They will be taken aback and may even lash out at you. Don't be alarmed or upset by this. Continue to be your authentic self - and always, always be honest. Don't tell a white lie to avoid saying what you really mean. Don't suppress your voice for fear of opposition. At the end of the day, when you're laying in your bed at night, it always feels better to have been an honest, openly communicative person.

As I have started to unclog some of my blockages and learning how it feels to experience life with those new streams, one song has particularly resonated with me: Alicia Key's Brand New Me. I have pasted the lyrics below so that you can read along as you listen, if you'd like. It's a very powerful song that reminds us to always be comfortable in our skin - even if that skin is newly exfoliated! There are people who will judge and be wary of your transformation - but DO NOT give them the power to bring you down. It's a choice, not a reality. You alone have the power - now hold on it and wear it proudly. You don't need anyone else's validation.

It's been a while, I'm not who I was before

You look surprised, your words don't burn me anymore
Been meaning to tell you, but I guess it's clear to see
Don't be mad, it's just the brand new kind of me
Can't be bad, I found a brand new kind of free

Careful with your ego, he's the one that we should blame
Had to grab my heart back
God know something had to change
I thought that you'd be happy
I found the one thing I need, why you mad
It's just the brand new kind of me

It took a long long time to get here
It took a brave, brave girl to try
It took one too many excuses, one too many lies
Don't be surprised, don't be surprised

If I talk a little louder
If I speak up when you're wrong
If I walk a little taller
I've been on to you too long

If you noticed that I'm different
Don't take it personally
Don't be mad, it's just the brand new kind of me
And it ain't bad, I found a brand new kind of free

Oh, it took a long long road to get here
It took a brave brave girl to try
I've taken one too many excuses, one too many lies
Don't be surprised, oh see you look surprised

Hey, if you were a friend, you want to get know me again
If you were worth a while
You'd be happy to see me smile
I'm not expecting sorry
I'm too busy finding myself
I got this
I found me, I found me, yeah

I don't need your opinion
I'm not waiting for your "ok"
I'll never be perfect, but at least now I'm brave
Now, my heart is open
And I can finally breathe
Don't be mad, it's just the brand new kind of free
That ain't bad, I found a brand new kind of me
Don't be mad, it's a brand new time for me, yeah