I was sitting on a bail of hay on my brother’s farm in northern Michigan. The air was heavy with fog and my thick skin was wearing thin. Truth is, my heart was worn right through. He was feeding the horses while I sat in a heap crying. My young marriage to my high school sweetheart and my rebound relationship with the “love of my life” had both ended. All in the matter of a few disappointing years. What am I going to do? I choked out through tears. I’d flown fast, from the small life to the high life, and this time I crashed hard.
He was quiet. And then he said, you don’t know how to be alone. He was short on words that day, but what he said was true. I’d never been alone. My whole life, my identity was wrapped up in who I was with, and what other’s said about me. I didn’t know who I was.
From the time I was twelve, I went from relationship to relationship trying to find my identity in others. I learned I was pretty good at being anybody! The truly sad part of that statement is I thought that was a good thing. Who I really was? I realized I didn’t have the first idea, and I set out to find it. While I’ll always be a work in progress, there are 7 secrets I’ve discovered so far.
I’m incredibly honored to be sharing them today over at my friend Ruth’s, at Living Well Spending Less.
1. Stop pretending
You’re not doing anyone any favors pretending to be someone you’re not. The greatest gift you will ever give any relationship is yourself. Sometimes we need to get away from what feels normal in order to find what is real. Take some time to be alone. Travel, journal, sit in the silence of your own mind. Amazing discoveries happen when you embrace solitude and encounter yourself.
2. Do the work
We are only as strong as our greatest weakness, and we’ve all got them. The question is whether we admit them, talk about them, grow through them, and let them change us…or allow them to limit our strength. I’m not willing to let my fear keep me small. This journey is about being bold. As you walk through life you’re going to encounter your weaknesses. You’re going to encounter things you thought you left behind. Deal with them now so you can use them to build your strength.