My adopted mother used to say that I did things backwards. For the life of me I can’t recall what she was referring to at the time (that was about 40 years ago and could have been a number of things). But for most of my 20’s, 30’s and a good portion of my 40’s, I’m forced to admit her statement rang true. I’ve spent most of my adult life looking for approval in someone else’s eyes; hoping that I could find a clue that I’m doing it right; that I have what it takes for someone to approve of me and consider me worth loving.
Perhaps even hoping to show my birth mother (whoever she is): “See; I am worth it. You should have taken me outta the hospital and home with you after you brought me into the world 56 years ago.”
I’m thinking that my mother’s abandonment, and the devilishly cheerful manner that my adopted mother informed me of that abandonment when I’d broken a household rule, lay a perfect foundation for low self-esteem, low self-respect, and a dangerously low self-image – all pointing to a lifetime of looking for others to validate me. I’m sure there’s a therapist out there that could easily make that connection. But at this point in my life, the why doesn’t interest me as much as valuing myself more so I can live in peace.
To find my peace I needed to do two things: forgive my mothers for not knowing how to nurture me and give me the life tools I needed; and leave the past where it belongs. The last part was difficult. With every romantic and family relationship, there was always a past to haunt me mainly because of me. I know now that I didn’t demand enough – of myself. I was always cautious of telling a person that they’ve hurt me, how they hurt me and expecting that they make it right. I didn’t want to make waves because I didn’t want to risk driving them away with my complaining. So, consequently I accumulated a line of open doors because there can’t possibly be any closure to a problem if the problem is never put on the table.
Today my struggle with communicating how I feel is less awkward because I’ve given myself what my mothers never could: a foundation of self worth. I realize now that I’m worth the effort to keep strengthening that foundation. And that means I don’t have to run after people who treat me as an afterthought; that it’s okay to expect another adult to show that they care enough to want to do their part to make a bad situation right. And if they choose not to, it’s okay for me to remember to love myself enough not to argue the point.
Today I don’t fear losing someone by saying how I feel. I fear losing me by staying in a situation and keeping silent.
And that’s as it should be.
Remember your worth.
Peace and blessings