When I was 8, my mom told me that I was so good at everything that everyone would love to watch me fail.
She said it because people were making fun of me for being smart. But 8-year-old me learned that nobody actually wants me to succeed.
When I was 19, I was in my first semester of college. It felt like everything had magically become epic and amazing.
I suddenly had a community of friends I adored, I loved all my classes, I loved where I lived. I had never been so happy.
And then… that December, my younger brother was in a car accident. He almost died. He had emergency brain surgery and was in a coma for months. They said he would never heal.
And my life was torn apart.
I felt the death of the brother I had, and then I also felt the ongoing trauma of not knowing if this new brother would die at any moment. Not knowing how he would be if he did survive. My family falling apart. All of it.
My friend died, my closest grandparents died, and my parents divorced.
It felt like even life didn’t want me to be happy – because when I finally became the happiest, everything crashed down on me.
It felt like everything in my life was meant to fall apart forever. To “teach me things,” I told myself.
It was an awful belief.
Almost 8 years later, the biggest thing I’m working on at the moment is teaching these inner parts of myself that we actually get to be happy.
That things going ecstatically well doesn’t actually mean that everything will suddenly fall apart and we’ll fail. It doesn’t mean that someone will die.
And knowing that even if it did, or they did, it’s not the same, because we now have the tools to handle it.
I’m teaching my inner 8-year-old that people want to support her. That her friends want to support her. That her success benefits others.
It’s a lot to open up to, to integrate. And it’s so, so beautiful.
Imagine yourself at 5. At 10. At 17. How are those versions of you feeling? do they like you?
Check in with them. Ask them what they most need.
It’s some of the biggest, most self-honoring work we can do.
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