Learning to love who I am today AND embracing that I am a total work in progress is the number one way I have transformed my life. Realizing that it's okay to leave things behind was eye-opening! Words like victim, indecisive, unsure, needy.....even labels like wife and religious have been replaced. Spiritual, seeker, confident, curious, lucky, creative, courageous, decisive, partner.....my twenty-something self would not have identified with these words at all! Over the years, I've set identities down and picked up new ones...sometimes, I pick up an old one and retool it to work for my current life...or I realize they still aren't for me and put them back down.
And the biggest transforming lesson learned? Learning that continuous reinvention of myself does not change who I am at my core! It's absolutely okay to be totally content and in love with who I am today AND to be continuously working on new identities, goals, and aspirations. Living in abuse took that from me for a time. Being told that I was never good enough was exhausting. I was belittled for the things I worked on, I was told that nobody would ever love me, and that I was lucky I had trapped him into marrying me before he realized how I "really" was. Which, looking back, makes zero sense! Why would continuous self-improvement be a bad thing? Especially if I was working on the things he had criticized in me--wouldn't he be glad I was trying to fix them? And why would working towards goals and aspirations make my current self a bad person?
Short answer? They don't.
Which leads to the next key. Letting go of regret over a past I can't change....no matter how many times I relive former conversations in my brain! I forgive myself for not knowing better. I forgive myself for not doing better. I even forgive myself for not being able to fix things that never were mine to fix. I accept that I did the best with where I was at the time. I accept that letting go of things that hurt me is okay and loyalty isn't always the value to make decisions from. I accept that not every situation is meant to be forever. I accept that not every person is meant to be in my life forever, no matter how good they may have been for me.
One last key. Accepting that I will have a variety of feelings about any and all of these things!!! That feelings come and go, sometimes they lie, sometimes they are indicators, and that I can feel them without them controlling me. It's okay to feel those feelings, write them out, and then keep taking the steps toward the future I am choosing to create on purpose knowing that who I am in ten years will be different than who I am now....and that person is still ME.