Lately, I’ve become aware of ways that I have, at times unconsciously, sabotaged myself throughout my life.

Coming from a background of early childhood trauma, everything that happens gets filtered through a survival lens. Instead of the beautiful freedom of living to express the uniqueness of who I am and how my talents play into that, the residual effects of my trauma made it such that I always played it small all my life.

While I have always believed in myself, the magical potential locked within, and the richness of the talents and abilities I’ve been blessed with, I have always been content to stand in the shadows, falsely clinging to the notion that I am way too tarnished to ever fully shine the way that others do.

I don’t know if that’s due to the unfortunate martyr-syndrome that was created from an early age, having the weight of being my mother’s protector forced upon me, or if it has something to do with all the shame and self-loathing that comes from the trauma.

At this point, it is irrelevant to ponder as I have completely laid to rest all futile attempts at overanalyzing every detail as I rid myself of all this unsavory baggage. It simply doesn’t matter why I did the things that I did. I was an innocent and wounded little creature trying to adapt myself to an inhospitable world.

I had a lot of poor choices to be held accountable for and, therefore, a whole lot of forgiveness and love for myself that had to be learned. As much self-hatred as I had, my love for others seemed to be boundless.

If you won my love, I would treasure and defend you like nobody’s business. I was a doormat. After all, it wasn’t but a few years after popping out of the womb that a father figure stepped in to begin wiping his feet on me. I was given this imprint that created a deep and unhealthy dysfunction in me that has taken me fifty-six years to unravel.

Now that I am in this glorious place of healing and self-mastery, I am noticing that I am being shown little reels of circumstances throughout my life where I now have clarity.

I have very much felt as if I am in a state of pregnancy that will give birth to a new version of myself. This image has been validated in several ways within the last week. These little snippets that I am experiencing now seem like a life review that we are told is experienced when we die.

(Right this moment, I feel like I’m in some sort of spiritual fugue state, death and rebirth occurring simultaneously within this time and space. Not gonna lie. It’s terrifying yet thrilling, exactly like the anticipation of giving birth.)

Today’s lesson revealed an old business relation/friendship that I allowed to make me play small for over twenty years.

This was a person I had admired and respected from afar, who embodied everything I aspired to be, both professionally and superficially. It wasn’t until fate found me working alongside her that I also came to love and respect her personally. This woman was a damn rock star, not just to me, but to an entire community and local industry. She was simply a beautiful human in every way possible.

I pledged my allegiance to her the first day we met when she told me how truly devastating it was that her last assistant had betrayed her by quitting and starting a rival business of her own. I was so very grateful to even be in a position to be considered her replacement that I couldn’t imagine ever doing such a thing to cause her to question my loyalty, and I made a vow to her that I would never do it.

We worked together for well over a decade, time which I valued, until I began feeling there was a distinct imbalance in the relationship, both personally and professionally, and life was pulling me in a different direction. I still loved her and felt blessed having gotten to be a part of her life as well as getting to know her kind, talented, and generous authentic self.

And I kept my vow.

What does that mean? It means that despite the fact that I have a passion, talent, and calling to pursue something, I never allowed myself to do it for fear of outshining someone else.

Today, I wistfully admired a post by another brilliantly talented person in the same business as the realization struck me about my attachment to this old and useless vow.

There are so many things that do not need to be said because hindsight truly is 20/20. And I am no less grateful for or blessed by the person who brought this lesson to me.

No more playing it small. Whatever “new me” I am about to birth is just NOT. HAVING. IT.

I have no clue what this will look like, but if my childhood future vocation wish was any indication, I’m so down for it.

***little secret – I’m already there in my own mind and completely at peace with whatever unfolds before me. This is as close to bliss as I’ve ever felt, even still walking through the daily landmines of human affliction. And therein lies the biggest, most important lesson of all!

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