I grew up and created stories in my head. Beliefs that became the way I viewed my world. I believed that others were unsafe, friends would betray me. I believed that I was not smart, dumb in fact. I believed that I was not good enough. I believed that I had to be perfect to be accepted by others. I believed that I had to avoid attention, as any attention was bad. I believed my family didn’t chose me. I believed I was alone…
I lived in these stories. I lived in the belief that I was alone, disconnected and unsafe. I lived trying to prove to others that I was smart, that I was good enough. Those thoughts I couldn’t change, such as my family not choosing me, I just created a distance. A space that made that choice, that conflict, manageable and yet always reinforcing the belief. I dulled the pain by throwing myself into work and accepted my shattered heart to be fragmented and that it was okay to be alone.
If you think of these stories as weeds in the garden of my mind, know that I watered them, allowed them to grow freely. I gave them attention and pruned them. I enjoyed the pricks from the thorny bushes, especially when it would make me bleed. I would survey my garden with grim satisfaction, this was the lot I had been given….
A new plant started to grow in my garden. It was unlike all the rest and this plant signified a choice. That seed was vulnerable, fragile, and the other weeds didn’t like it, not at all. I found myself protecting it from the others, as they had been known to overrun new plants before. I wouldn’t let them take this one.
Choice. What was I choosing? Yourself… whispered the plant, not the darkness of your thoughts. What did that even mean? Yet it didn’t matter. I didn’t need to understand. I felt it. Felt this choice was important. Choosing myself. I allowed it to grow. I fed it with encouraging thoughts, touched its leaves, made sure that nothing disturbed this raw delicate plant. The outraged weeds slapped at my mind for attention; I stopped feeding them and leaned into the uncomfortability of their rage.
It wasn’t fast, it wasn’t always easy… I started to pluck the weeds in my garden out. Each of them representing a story. I was not lovable, out with you, and another newer plant took its spot. Naturally filling the now empty space. I was not chosen, out, and replaced by; I have chosen myself. I am alone, was replaced by; I am never alone, I am connected, supported, loved. And so on…
As I removed each weed, a separate story or belief in which I viewed life, they were replaced by other plants, or beliefs that lifted me. Felt better. These whispered messages of hope, of joy, of love, and so much more. Now, the garden of my mind has seasons and blooms. It no longer carries of the darkness, fear, and misery I once lived in. I tend to my garden daily, as weeds still will grow, slipping in a fear here or doubts there. As I pluck those, I give them each love; they were lessons for me to learn, opportunities for more loving growth.
My self-love story didn’t evolve overnight, a summer, or even a year. It took seasons, each one better than the last. It took different eyes looking in to help me identify what was growing in my garden. It took developing a practice, a habit, and being compassionate; to myself and to all things that I grew. It took trust in my choice to choose myself.
I share my love story with you because, if you were like me, you might not think there is an option but to feed those weeds. To be locked into their root systems and, even though they gave you pain, you somehow find comfort in that. There is a choice, always. Fresh from a Gabby Bernstein event where she said make that choice reaching for the best feeling thought of that day. No matter what that may be…
You too can transform the garden you grow in your mind and, with that transformation, the way you feel, see, and live your life. Find your joy, follow that thread. You can do it, just keep choosing you, believe, lean into you fear, and follow your best feeling thought. Feed that thought.
~KMB, New Hampshire
PS. The photo I am using a friend, Leslie, sent me. Thank you!
All Love Letters’ are pristine, posted as they were received. Please forgive any spelling and grammar issues, since the writing was done in the throes of love, and sometimes love doesn’t care about commas or misplaced letters.