I remember going to see a counsellor about ten years ago. My life was fairly reminiscent of a bad movie at the time. I’d just come out of an extremely unhealthy relationship and I felt like I was hurtling from one disastrous day to the next.
Seeing a therapist was what I hoped would be the first step towards me getting myself together. I’d always wanted to be one of those ‘together’ women. Unruffled and uncomplicated. Effortlessly holding all their sh*t down, and looking oh so good whilst they did it.
I was doing my best to move on from that toxic relationship and get to a place where my heart didn’t quite feel as though it was going to bleed hurt for the rest of eternity. Therapy was teaching me some tools that I could take and use to build up my shattered self esteem.
I was learning the power of language. I was finding out the weight of empowering words and how I could start to speak my truth.
I started to feel like I had a chance of being ‘together’.
And then I bumped into my ex-boyfriend. And, let me tell you, I did not keep it together.
Instead of walking past and keeping a cool head and demonstrating my newfound emotional stability, my wonderful togetherness and giving my best ‘I’m in suchhhh a great place now’ swish of my hair, I lost it. And, I do mean that I really lost it.
I shouted. Loudly. I called him names. I let all my words tumble out in a furious rage and I walked away shaking.
In my next counselling session, a couple of days later, I was dreading confessing what had happened and how badly I’d behaved. I was waiting for the therapist to sit there and give me a sad smile and then tell me what would have been the better response for me to have given in that situation.
He didn’t do any of that. My therapist sat across from me with a broad smile and said one word:
I was extremely surprised at his smiling support of my behaviour and also a little confused. Wasn’t I there to learn how to manage my feelings better? How to not behave like a screaming banshee?
No. As it turns out, I wasn’t. And that was when I started to heal. When I understood that I was allowed to be me. When I started to, slowly, recognise that I didn’t have to suppress everything. When I saw that I didn’t have to give away my power.
It didn’t mean that I was getting a green light to go ahead and behave however I liked whenever the mood took me, but it did mean that I was allowed to acknowledge my feelings, I was allowed to say, out loud. “I’m not okay.” Maybe with less f-bombs, granted, but I was allowed to say it.
I didn’t fully recognise the magnitude of everything I was learning in counselling at that time, but I do now. I have a far greater understanding of what it means to honour who I am. I have a far deeper appreciation of the liberation that comes from being proud of all of who I am.
Here are five ways to help you get some empowerment into your life:
1) Let go of ‘should’. Right now. Today. Let go of it. I used to tell myself that I ‘should’ be more together, that I ‘should’ be less emotional, that I ‘should’ be thinner. You know what, there is no ‘should’. There is only what is. By all means, strive to improve your life, seek to incorporate positive change, but tell ‘should’ to go off and sit on its own at the back of the garden because there’s no room for its sorry, judgmental ass in your life, or in your vocabulary.
2) Treat yourself the way you want to be treated by others. We usually learn this the other way around ‘Treat others the way you wish to be treated’. Why do we put ourselves so low down on our priority list? Because we fear being deemed selfish? Because we’re not allowed to be kind to ourselves? Because we worry what other people will say? What?! Let’s send fear and worry to the back of the garden, too. They can hang out with should. Start investing in yourself without feeling bad about it. Be there for yourself. Say yes to your needs.
3) Keep the right company. If there are people in your life that don’t want to celebrate you and lift you higher then consider why you might be keeping them close. Is it because on some level you don’t feel worthy? Could it be that you feel undeserving of love and kindness? Notice how your interactions leave you feeling. If your connections to people leave you feeling inspired and supported, invest in them. If they leave you feeling drained or judged, then keep your distance. Goodbyes don’t always have to be sad. Sometimes they can feel awesome (Bye bye, energy vampires, seeeee yaaa!).
4) Let your creative spirit sing. I wholeheartedly believe in the benefits of creativity. It’s incredibly empowering to take emotion and channel it into something tangible. It’s a way of reinforcing the validity of your thoughts and feelings and understanding that they are worthy. Don’t overthink things. Don’t over analyse. Be childlike and curious. Do whatever you feel drawn to do. Pick up a pen, pick up a brush, get behind a camera. Go with the flow and honour the process of expressing yourself. If you want to wear a tutu while you’re at it, go right ahead. This is your gig.
5) Don’t hide your vulnerabilities. I can’t stress this enough. I used to think that if I wrapped all of my insecurities into a tight little bundle and hid them under the bed, I’d be stronger and more capable. It never worked that way. When I started acknowledging the things that I feared, the parts I wished would go away, and instead began to throw light on them, I started to set myself free. None of us need to pretend to be anything that we’re not. We don’t need to hide or feel ashamed. There is no ‘should’, remember? Celebrate all of you. Own who you are.
Throw them a party! Dance like you mean it. Take selfies. Eat cake. It’s a celebration of YOU. Make sure it hits the headlines.
Skylar Liberty Rose is a writer, blogger and creator of the Fierce Female Mantras and #15SecondMantra Series. Her articles and poetry have received wide acclaim and have been instrumental in her continuing journey to self acceptance. She believes in creativity as a form of healing and is passionate about manifesting her dreams. Skylar is an advocate of stripping away layers of conditioning and instead discovering the unique truth within. She is inspired by souls with spirit and courageous hearts. She grew up in London and now lives in New York City with her husband. You can follow her on Twitter, FB, IG and her blog.
If you’d like a shot of fierce in your life or you know a sister that does, take a look at Skylar’s unique range of Fierce Female merchandise here. Get your roar on!