I always believed that I couldn’t give my opinion or assert myself with others because it would cause conflict. That I have no place (perhaps as a woman), to speak out and therefore whenever I did speak out, I did so from a place of resistance and anxiety. This was pretty much always badly received and often did cause conflict. This then drove the belief that I must be a awful person who was always in the wrong. And this, caused me to deeply despise myself.
This despising of self was the engine that drove this vicious cycle, the self despising meaning I could never speak from an empowered stand point and so the cycle begins again. That despising, a land mine within my belly, hidden by a fire blanket of shame.
The only solution available being to bend over backwards to be nice to people and avoiding asserting myself, and if I did, doing so in an apologetic way. Which just leaves one open to abuse and bullying.
I’m telling this story because since uncovering this in myself, I suddenly see the same thing going on for others, especially women. This seems to be the disempowered state that many people live in. But it also means we walk around with a load of suppressed anger at our inability to have a voice.
This cycle of disempowerment has until very recently been my reality. It took a perfect shit storm of consequences for me to be able to see it. It took an extraordinary amount of courage to hold myself in enough awareness for that perfect storm not to sink me. Enough awareness to allow myself to see the shame and then the despising of self that lay below it. And then the self compassion to realise that this is not who I am, but the conditioning that I live by. Conditioning laid down in childhood. A story who’s sell by date is long gone.
In the thick of all this I was lucky enough to have the council of an elder. Who simply said, well, if you speak from a place of resistance within yourself, it will always be resisted by those who receive it and, yes, that will cause conflict. She said that the only way out of this was to find my voice and speak from an empowered place within me. That then people would be happy to accept what I say. My god! Was it really that simple. Could it possibly be true that I wasn’t the monster I thought I was. That I didn’t need to hide under shame anymore?
I have lived my whole life in this vicious cycle of self hate and now for the first time I am starting to experience life after self hate. Before, life felt like a war zone, everyone and every situation a potential trigger to feeling like I was a terrible person. Now a new calmness has arisen, the world isn’t such a terrifying place, the war it seems is over.
Having said that, I’m still finding out how to speak from an empowered place. One thing I am learning is that when anxiety is there, that I speak of that first. To let the other person know, this is scary for me. To allow myself to be vulnerable in that way, for it is only from a place of vulnerability, my elder assures me, that true power can arise.
The self hate and shame, thank goodness has gone. We can, glory be to the goddess, rewrite the conditioned self. This does take skill though, which must be learnt. This, the skill of allowing ourselves to fully be in, embody, the agonising pain of negative self beliefs while holding the knowledge that they are not who we are. In that holding we create a window of possibility because the human body carries a wild intelligence, which if we let it will purify the most deadly of poisons and bring us to the land of true freedom.