I didn’t always feel empowered.
For most of my life, I felt a huge gaping hole and wound inside of me.
A feeling of disconnection from myself and from others, a deep sense of isolation, of being alone, and being misunderstood. It was like I was living on the outside in a world that felt alien to me.
With low self-esteem, I grew up with immense self-hate and such little self-value. I couldn’t see anything at all about ‘me’ that was worthy. I lacked self-love.
I was a ‘people-pleaser’ that easily gave her power away to others in order to be loved and to be liked. I did everything I could to find a sense of self, a sense of identity, through getting validation from others. When I didn’t get it, I would feel there was something inherently wrong with me. Such was the feeling of shame.
As a deeply sensitive person, I would easily pick-up on what others were feeling, including their judgements and fears, to the point where I would internalise them and make them my own. I would often use their judgements against myself. In other words, I would reject myself further, adding to the internal rejection I was already levelling at myself. I didn’t understand at the time that it was my perception based on the limiting beliefs about myself that were being reflected back to me. Or, that their behaviour was often a projection of their own self judgements.
I experienced a long line of trauma, stress and challenges through my childhood and early adult life. This also included several years of ill-health (and later death) of both my parents.
As a natural giver, I felt I had to be strong, to put others’ needs and feelings before my own, so I put mine secondary. Dealing with the struggles life presented me, I felt a further disconnection from myself. To cope, I controlled my feelings through a food disorder and alcohol. I numbed myself in order to suppress the pain and all the challenges I faced.
I felt powerless and I wanted to feel safe. I wanted to feel a sense of security and stability when all around me felt so shaky and uncertain. I didn’t want anyone to know how I was truly feeling, so I kept hidden those parts that might be vulnerable or judged, that might be hurt or pained further. I put in place all kinds of protection mechanisms to hide the true me.
It was when I hit rock bottom with depression, poor health and had given up on life, that the only thing left was to unravel ‘me’, and to heal.
To move from isolating, shielding and hiding…. to facing myself and being seen. To feel the discomfort. To be ‘present’ to myself.
There was a deep soul urge to find my own way, my own truth, because I wanted to feel free. I needed to connect to ‘me’.
And so began my Empowerment journey.
Over the years, I have learned A LOT about myself.
I have developed my self-esteem and self-value. I have learned more about self-care, boundaries and self-respect. I take more responsibility for emotions and feelings. I have more kindness and compassion for myself and my own journey…
I have understood that certain patterns of behaviour have been ‘gifts’ and an opportunity of learning– a way for my soul to heal, to move forward and evolve.
With added confidence, I have learned to not hold myself back. I have found my voice. Where I wanted to be seen, heard, understood – I can now see, hear and understand ‘me’.
I have come to see that anything feels possible when you feel safe, held, supported, validated and secure in self. That when you have a solid foundation with your Core True Self, with self-love and self-acceptance, you CAN grow and rise….
You don’t need to be powerless to your past, to your beliefs, your emotions, your life struggles, or circumstances. You too, can move from powerless to Empowerment..
In the next few articles, including ‘Empowerment Tips – that work!’, I share more about this journey and introduce concrete steps to move forward.
Founder – Michelle Harris International
PS. You may like to check out the first article in this series, ‘What actually is, Empowerment?’