Doing The “Right” Thing
I always prided myself as the girl who did things right.
I did things the way they were “supposed” to be done
As a young woman, I graduated high school and college and then went on to graduate school.
I got a great job, married a good guy, and had two awesome kids.
I was doing life “right.” The way society said it “should” be done. The way everyone expected.
Unfortunately, over time, it started to feel not quite right anymore.
Something was shifting. I was growing and transforming inside a life that no longer felt like me.
Instead of living in my own integrity of who I was, I had fallen into the role of being the girl who always did things “right.”
And I wasn’t sure how not to.
I didn’t know how to make waves, cause unrest, or rock the boat. I was inept at living true to myself if it meant someone else would get hurt, disappointed, or upset.
I wasn’t good at speaking my truth.
I was stuck in the trap of being the girl who did things the way they “should” be done regardless of how she felt inside.
And let me just tell you if you don’t already know, living in “shoulds” will almost always lead to pain.
I was living to keep other people happy rather than what I felt in my heart and I had started to slowly disintegrate.
I got to a place where I had to make a change or it would destroy me. I had to make an excruciatingly painful decision that left me feeling at times like I was doing anything but what was “right.”
It didn’t look “right” on the outside but on the inside I knew it was.
Who Are You Then?
Going against who I had always been made me start to question my identity. If I’m not the girl who does the “right” thing, then who the hell am I?
This is what I began asking myself.
I also had to figure out what to do with all the new feelings that accompanied this questioning of my identity.
Feelings of shame.
Feeling like I no longer deserved compassion or love.
Feeling like a fuck-up and that surely something is wrong with me.
Come to find out, when you go against what outside sources tell you is “right” in order to live your truth, you’re gonna feel like shit for a while.
And these shitty feelings will try to convince you that making this choice was anything but right. In fact, they’ll try to persuade you that it was so wrong, you deserve to feel shitty. That you aren’t worthy of love from anyone.
You will begin circling the drain of shame and almost believe what these deceitful feelings are trying to tell you.
What To Do
When you feel shitty, staying with your own thoughts too long isn’t healthy.
It helps to talk to people who support you. To read. To listen to people who have been there. To open yourself up to learn and grow. To get out of your own head. To dig deep and find out who you really are.
This will counter the idea that you’re not doing it “right” and you don’t deserve love.
If you keep searching, you will eventually read something or hear something or feel something that stops the downward spiral.
It helps to rely on the heavy hitters to throw you a lifeline. Soulful people like Martha Beck or Elizabeth Gilbert or Brene Brown. People who aren’t afraid to talk about living your truth, self-acceptance, vulnerability or shame.
As you hear their words, you can feel the love behind them.
And you realize that if these women, who are gurus in the personal development field, struggled with feeling unworthy of love, they deserved compassion, just as you do.
You start to recognize that you are part of a world full of imperfect people.
You. Are. Human.
We all do the best we can with the information we have.
You deserve to show yourself the same forgiveness and grace you afford every other person on the planet.
You Can’t Do It Wrong
In life, as long as you’re showing up as yourself, there is really no way to do it wrong.
There are no wrong emotions.
It is impossible to feel an emotion that is unique to you.
We all have felt sadness.
We all have felt shame.
We all have felt like we just aren’t getting “it right”.
And if everyone has felt these emotions, that means you’re not alone.
Everyone has made a hard choice. Everyone has done something that didn’t work out. Everyone has unintentionally hurt people. Everyone has felt afraid. Everyone has fucked up.
And this will bring you solace.
To recognize you are human. Living your life the best way you can. Living your truth the only way you know how with the information at hand. And in the process, showing the same love and compassion to yourself that you would show your best friend.
Once you believe this, you will begin to have the ability to accept yourself, the decisions you make, and whatever emotion you are feeling – no matter what it looks like to the outside world.
Getting it right vs. getting real
Starting to live in your truth vs. what is expected of you isn’t easy.
Moving from complacency into the boundless unknown will scare the crap out of you.
Choosing the thing that is brutally hard will break you in two.
Making a necessary change that brings pain, not just for you but for the people you care about most, is something that will shatter your heart in a thousand pieces.
Looking at all your pieces on the floor and allowing yourself to feel the brokenness, grief with every jagged edge, will bring you great anguish.
But underneath the rubble of the broken pieces is a buried freedom. Freedom to reassemble them into something new and beautiful.
And in the careful and delicate repair, you can unearth your strength and reclaim who you truly are.
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