From the moment we are born we are inundated with messages and instructions. What to do. When to do it. Who to please. How to live. What is important. What to buy. How to feel. How to live. It never stops.
We are groomed and shaped and moulded.
Our parents, our family, our peers, media, educators… we are constantly being told what we should be and how we should be. Sometimes we don’t even realize it. We wear so many masks for so many situations and people. It’s truly exhausting.
I know I did it for so long!
Until one day I became faced with situations that I could not understand and I was becoming someone I could not understand or stop. It was not what I wanted or anyone else wanted. I was so scared.
Firstly my employers didn’t want an ill employee. Then my family didn’t want an ill relative. Then everyone else seemed to form their own perceptions and expectations of me. It was heartbreaking and humiliating.
If I continued to listen to all of them I would be convinced I was meaningless, useless and embarrassing. Perhaps I did listen to them for awhile. Maybe far too long.
As the world fell away I was left with my own thoughts and voices and that’s when some very new messages started to take shape.
You aren’t useless. You aren’t embarrassing. You aren’t worthless. You are still a person. You still have value. You are worthy. You still deserve love. You didn’t do anything wrong!
All these thoughts started to slowly bubble up to the surface. Slowly. When I started listening to me.
Some of the hardest things about getting sick when you are adult is that you have to remake yourself. You have to rediscover yourself. And you have to listen to yourself first.
When I sit and really think about it I realize the negative messages I hear in my head were put there by someone else, not me. They are the voices of parents, family members, strangers and people who don’t really know the person I am inside or what I am going through.
My own voice is like my true nature, caring, compassionate, loving, intelligent, kind, empathic and good.
It’s not cruel and insensitive. It’s not competitive and demanding. It’s not self focused and rude. The real me is in here and trying to hold on to hope and love. It’s trying to cope and help. It’s trying to build a life and bring some self respect to all that is happening.
Listening to our true voice is one of the hardest skills to learn and nurture but no one will ever know us like we do and we owe it to ourselves to discover who we really are, even if we are sharing this life with some very difficult diseases.