“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” ~Pema Chodron
Wounds I thought were healed began to burst open after a recent breakup. I had obviously not learned the lessons I was meant to years ago.
As a child I put 100 percent effort into everything I did, from schoolwork and swimming training to leadership positions. I remember feeling so sure of myself.
I drew my confidence from many areas of my life. A good student, swimming champion, school captain… I had my life sorted. Although the swimming accolades and A’s on my report card meant nothing once the bullying started.
I was bullied a number of times throughout my schooling. I moved primary schools in the hope that I could escape the cattiness of insecure girls; however, unfortunately for me, bullies seem to be everywhere. I experienced trouble at my swimming club and during my first years of high school.
Every time there was trouble my solution was to move elsewhere. I changed swimming clubs and schools, not to mention friendship groups several times.
Eventually, the bullying came to an end, but I was left with suicidal thoughts and depression. I don’t remember specifics about that time in my life. It is as if my brain blocks out those memories as a defence mechanism.
Once the bullying stopped and I recovered from my mental illness, I thought I was fine. I mean, anything’s better than having a dark cloud hanging over your head.
I’ve always been the type of person who has aimed to be the best I could be, the comedian, the agony aunt, the people pleaser. Socializing only left me drained, exhausted from entertaining those around me.
Fast-forward seven years to now…
It was only until a recent ex felt that our long-distance relationship wasn’t working that I began to question my self-worth. Wasn’t I enough? What did I do wrong? I thought I made him happy. All the emotions I felt years ago came rushing back. The wounds I thought time had healed burst right open.
Here’s the thing: Those wounds never healed. I just ran away from my issues at every chance possible. I didn’t do any work on myself after the bullying incidents; I just ran away and tried to forget. You can’t run away from your own insecurities and self-doubt.
My recent relationship wasn’t right for me. He couldn’t offer me the emotional or intellectual support I wanted, but my need to be liked caused me to ignore the relationship red flags.
After some self-reflection and reading articles on sites such as Tiny Buddha, I realized that relationships reflect how we see and treat ourselves.
I didn’t feel good enough, and found myself in relationships where I was constantly proving to them, but mainly to myself, that I was, in fact, good enough. That I was enough.
The funny thing is that no matter how hard you try, you’ll never convince the wrong person you’re right for them. You’ll spend your whole relationship wishing and wanting them to treat you the way you so desperately want to treat yourself.
The wounds never healed because I never learned the lessons I was meant to learn. Because I refused to face my childhood trauma, I was put into the same scenarios time and time again—constantly seeking everyone’s approval, wanting to be liked, and trying to prove my own worth.
I am determined that I will never feel so worthless ever again. I will not see my own worth through the eyes of another.
I have recently begun the journey of self-acceptance. My daily practices of meditation and writing in my gratitude journal continue to serve me on this journey. My mind is more focused, and by listing what I am blessed with daily, I have started to see the value of my own existence.
If you can relate to my experience, remember…
What you resist persists.
The damage caused by childhood bullying continued to resurface regardless of how many times I tried to push it aside. The same is true for you. Whatever pain from your past you’ve tried to outrun, you can’t avoid it forever. It will follow you until you face it and work through it.
Once you learn the lessons you need to learn, you can break your patterns.
By not learning what I needed to learn years ago, I was faced with the same situations over and over. We continue to have the same experiences until we get the lesson, and start applying it.
Relationships reflect what is going on inside us.
I didn’t feel worthy and sought out a relationship where I had to continually prove my value. When you completely accept yourself, you won’t settle for a relationship that you know deep down isn’t right for you.
Be grateful and let go.
Be thankful for the experiences and subsequent lessons. Painful though they may have been, they can make you stronger, wiser, happier, and better able to love and be loved. Knowing this makes it much easier to let go of what was so you can receive what is to come.
Sad woman image via Shutterstock