“You teach others how to treat you, so treat yourself exceedingly well”
In the trajectory of my life I can honestly say I have fallen prey to the need for my gold star. I would wait for others to compliment me before I would even think to compliment myself. And if that compliment didn’t happen then “poof” all of my hard work would go unnoticed even by me as I just moved on, never giving myself the star that I knew I deserved. This need for the gold star showed up in my dating relationship and beginning of my marriage to my husband, as I spent most of the time focusing on the ways in which to make myself exceptional for his approval. I cooked, I cleaned, I worked, I cared for our sons, I supported his dream of getting not 1 but 2 advance degrees, I paid half of our living expenses, and co-signed his business investments. I did this because my man is a GOOD MAN, I love him, and I want to be the loving partner that he needs. However, the whole time I was running myself ragged trying to show him my love, I still felt that he was not as into me as I was into him. While this painful truth hurt, I had to come to realization that my husband was not solely responsible for the disproportionate feelings, I played a role because somewhere along the way I had lost me.
“You have to start showing up in your own life before you can expect to show up in someone else’s.”
When my husband and I first met, we were on an equal playing field. We were both dreamers and highly ambitious college students that believed the world wasn’t going to give us anything so we had to take it. In each other we saw the potential of who the other would be and wanted to be a part of that momentum. That began to change when we began our family. We were young and still in school when our first child was born, however, we were still determined to finish school and follow our dreams. I made good on my desire of finishing undergrad, however, upon entering the workforce I noticed my dedication to following my dreams began to wane. I would start things but not finish them and found myself making excuses for why it didn’t work out, such as: my kids are still young; finances are still tight; I’m working 2 jobs, the one I get paid for and the one at home; my husband works long hours and is in school so I don’t have time because someone needed to be home with the kids. While these were all valid reasons, what I noticed is that as I was making excuses my husband was in his stride in his career and overall trajectory. For every venture I started, my husband was a source of support. Yet, because of fear and self-doubt I would decide that the timing was not right and so I would let it go. The consequence of this is that I started to become bitter of his success and was slowly losing relevance in his life. I would start arguments that would last for days questioning his love, and would accuse my husband of belittling my contributions and not giving me credit where it was due. What I had to realize was that as my husband was moving along his trajectory, his needs were changing, his conversation was changing, but I was still the same. And the only person who could even out the playing field was me.
“True transformation happens when we remove the limit of what should be and realize that who we are is enough”
So, I stopped making excuses for not following my dreams. To do that I had to take an honest inventory of my life and accept and work around the things I could not change and change the things I could. I wanted to get my master’s degree but going to a brick and mortar school was not an option because I worked and need to be home at a reasonable hour for my kids so I went to school online. I wanted to get promoted in my career so I began to position myself for advancement and started to combat my fear and self-doubt. I wanted to start my own business but because of finances I couldn’t afford an office so I created an online counseling/coaching business. I wanted to be the person that my husband is into but to be that I had be into me. I started celebrating my successes even when others don’t. I stopped looking for others to give me permission to do what I want to do. I became open to finding solutions rather than just focusing on the problem. I began to affirm the beauty of my spirit and appreciating the raw talents and skills I’ve been given. And, I learned that I and things didn’t have to be different for my life to change. I just need to take all that I am, use it, and believe in me. I’m not perfect, there are still some excuses I make, such as why I can’t seem to lose this confounding weight, but I stopped making excuses for why to put my life on hold. My husband is not perfect, he had to learn how to pay better attention to me and my needs, but I had to learn how to command that respect. The moment when I realized that my husband finally put me first in his life is one that I will always cherish, because I’ve earned it. Not only because of how I show my love for him but because I have fought hard to become the woman I am today, and I love me.