I love meeting people who grew up with lots of love, affirmation, and unconditional acceptance. I love to meet them because, unfortunately, people who received unconditional love and endless support as children are rare. Yes, rare.
Unfortunately, most of us grew up feeling that we were wrong, extremely weird, or felt as if we did not belong in our families, communities, and schools. And because we believed we were too different or not enough of whatever was needed to belong, we were denied the very support we craved and the affirmation we needed to trust ourselves and deeply cherish our uniqueness.
As we grew older, if we didn’t find a community that nurtured our individuality and neutralized the harmful narratives we learned, we made ourselves small to fit into norms that felt safe. Or, we hid parts of ourselves that were unwelcomed or vilified. Or, sometimes, we clung to outgrown identities, belittling labels, and toxic myths that left us emotionally distressed, defeated, or devalued.
Does any of this sound familiar?
If that sounds like your story or experience, you are not alone. Many people have experienced self-erosion and self-erasure. Many people have been marginalized or excluded because their needs, feelings, and perspectives existed outside of a narrowly-defined “norm.” Many people have abandoned their dreams, betrayed their souls, and concealed their true natures just to exist and survive in a judgmental, myopic world.
I hate to admit it, but I am extremely familiar with self-erosion because my true self started to wither away when I was five or six years old. My true self tried to fight for survival, but the peer pressure to conform was too strong; it crushed my will and strength to fight for my individuality. And because I was so young, I hadn’t developed the skills to speak up or stand up for myself. So slowly, the oppressive messages, constant exclusion, and inherited beliefs took residence in my mind and spirit, and I relented. I became what culture wanted me to be — an obedient, predictable, accommodating person with little confidence and anemic self-love. I sadly became a spoke in a societal wheel mired in self-sabotage, self-hatred, and self-suppression.
However, after college, I embarked on a full reclamation and self-liberation journey to find my TRUE identity because I knew I wasn’t whole. I knew I was compromising my soul because I felt miserable and lost. I didn’t have the vocabulary or emotional awareness to explain my feelings, but I knew I did not fit into the suffocating status quo. Heck, sometimes I felt as if I didn’t even belong in my own family. I was different, and my difference was obvious; it couldn’t be ignored. But slowly and thankfully, my true self spoke to me, compelled, comforted, and urged me to keep searching for the real me. My true self begged me to take the proverbial wheel of my life and drive home to my truth and home to myself.
Now, I look at my life, and I am grateful. My life is not perfect, easy, or problem-free. But I am at peace because I have reclaimed most of ME. I have released the need to struggle for success, hustle for acceptance, and abide by the status quo. I no longer choose this or that; I live in a world of “and” because I don’t believe in binaries, bullies, or limiting beliefs. I also no longer ascribe to society’s definition of success because striving for society’s success always makes me feel unsuccessful. What a paradox, right?
I now courageously disobey rules, disconnect from toxicity, and detach from historical lies that do not sustain me or honor the dignity of all God’s people. I fearlessly experiment with new opportunities, explore new dimensions of my personality, and accept unique invitations to remind myself that I am free, expansive, and worthy of joy. I am no longer pander to the crowd or try to appease people, especially those who try to manipulate me with their meanness or oppress me with their opinions. I boldly dance to my own music and sing my own songs. And most of all, I keep my head, heart, and hands open, knowing that God will pour out blessings, bestowing me with goodness, grace, and soul-nourishing gifts.
As I continue my reclamation journey, I invite others to join me. I invite others to taste the sweet nectar of their wholeness and revel in their holiness. I encourage people to expand, express, and experience the totality of their being with curiosity, delight, and love. And oh, it feels so good to be doing the work I was created to do. I feel so anchored, rooted, and aligned in ways that are hard to define but heavenly to feel. I know I am profoundly blessed and guided, and I sense a higher dimension of destiny calling my name.
So, join me if you are interested in reclaiming your entire self and reveling in your full identity. Let’s learn how to restore what we lost so we can dance with power, live in truth, and leap with joy. Let’s remember our dreams, rediscover our needs, restore our true personalities, and reimagine our futures. Let’s set new standards, defy the isms, and establish harmony within ourselves and our communities.
My friend, a new day is coming, and you have the power to shape it. Every courageous choice you make will help you live boldly, love intensely, liberate yourself constantly, and dream endlessly. You, the full you, will create this new season of your life full of the variety, joy, and fulfillment you deeply crave.
And the best news is … after you deeply love and affirm who you are, you will never have to deal with self-erosion and self-erasure again. You will never have to assimilate or divest of your humanity and truth. You will boldly give yourself permission to rest, reimagine, restore, recreate, and SOAR, even if nobody else likes you or agrees with your decisions. You will radically trust your spirit to guide you so you can live fully – undiluted, unfazed, and unencumbered – and enjoy a soul-enriching life.
Blessings as you bloom,