Get Healthier Sooner

 

 

 

 

I wish that I had awareness of healthy ways of being when I was younger, so I could have had an earlier start on developing healthier relationships and daily habits in order to live a more productive, joyful and loving life.

We didn’t have all of this knowledge available at our fingertips back then. All we knew was what we were taught in school, society/media(TV, radio, books/newspapers/magazines), religion and most importantly what we learned from our family life. This informed our realities, so whatever we were shown, we believed. Maybe we had healthy families, or supportive school environments and were well informed in loving ways of being or we had a mixture of healthy and not so healthy, or possibly we even had abuse as our example to live by. As children we believe what we are shown and may keep believing and perpetuating unhealthy, detrimental ways of being. We become socially conditioned and develop habits until it’s an automatic program, where we repeat what’s been ingrained in us, never questioning, doing what’s always been done, what our parents and society have taught us to do/be.

I believe that we are all hardwired to be loving with the motivation of being one with the world and everyone in it. We all want unity, connection and love at the core of our beings. We all want heaven on earth. Except we are taught fear, scarcity, guilt and punishment which are diametrically opposed to what we truly want and what we truly are.

We are love, every one of us, no exceptions. And love seeks love. If we want peace, joy and harmony, or heaven on earth, that leaves no room for fear. Yet what are we taught?  And is it working?

I never realized that I had a choice. I viewed the world as an objective reality where I had little effect or impact on what happened in my life. That was what I was taught. I had to conform, perform and behave or I would get punished. And people were chaotic and unpredictable with the rules always changing, so I never knew what would get me into trouble. I learned to pretend and lie. I learned to shut down my emotions, disconnect, disassociate. I tried to be what everyone wanted me to be, because if I didn’t, I would be scolded, punished and shamed.

Deep down I knew things weren’t right, but I didn’t know anything else. So I became accustomed to this unhealthy environment, it was “normal” to me. I kept trying to conform so I would have peace and love, yet somehow it eluded me, I couldn’t get it right. My mother and father divorced when I was 6 and that’s when the stepmother entered my life. I saw my mother infrequently thereafter.  In childhood, they were constantly upset with me, often yelling, calling me names, scolding me, body shaming me, sometimes slapping me in the face, one time hitting me hard enough to leave bruises in the shape of hand prints on my thighs and behind, yelling at me, criticizing/berating me, guilt tripping me, grounding me. Later as a teen, shoving me to the ground, locking me out of the house, expecting far too much of me, loading me up with household responsibilities plus care of siblings, on top of everything else. I was always practicing music/singing with lessons, plus in productions and competitions from the age of 12. Also trying to make good grades, plus keeping up my physical appearance, because as a female, that was what was valued most about me, that and how much household chores I could accomplish and how well I performed in school and musically. Be perfect, or else. I had a lot on my plate. Plus there were also other forms of abuse from sitters/daycare, teachers, extended step relatives and even strangers.

I was taught that my wants and needs came last, that I was there to serve my father’s and stepmother’s and society’s agenda. Personality disorders and codependency  create a crazy making environment. I was merely an object and extension of my parents to be used to gain favor and keep up appearances for their own gratification, to fulfill their hopes and dreams. I had to be as perfect as possible and do everything they wished in order to have a measure of peace, love and support. Everything came with strings attached and I never measured up to what they wanted and felt like a constant disappointment. This shaped my view of myself. And also I was not Caucasian or African American either, which added another dimension of otherness. I didn’t belong anywhere. I did have our relatives in California and was so appreciative of our visits there. I felt wanted and like I belonged. I could be me while there. And I also felt that way when I visited my mother and her mother, my grandparents in Gonzales and all of our relatives there. I was free to be me with the extended family. I am forever thankful for them.

There were also very wonderful times where my father and stepmother complimented me, encouraged me and were loving of me, so it was extremely confusing. It was like I lived with Jekyll and Hyde parents.

Thing is, I was a good child, well behaved, compassionate, loving and sensitive. I was not a behavior problem, made good grades…it was a mystery to me, I got tired of being sad and frustrated. I wanted to be strong and emotionless, so maybe then I could get it right, or at least, it wouldn’t hurt so much. And eventually when I began college, on a vocal scholarship, I couldn’t take it anymore and began to rebel. It didn’t help that my voice teacher had other students keeping tabs on me, they wanted me to be some kind of operatic diva with a strict regimen of practice. I realized that no matter what I did, it was never going to work out, life was punitive, restrictive and unpredictable, so why bother with conforming anymore. It was too crazy for me, it didn’t make any sense. I hated myself and was full of anxiety, depressed and bewildered. What was wrong with me? I was often told, “You remind me of your mother, something’s wrong with you.” My mother was schizoaffective, was I too?

I feebly attempted suicide twice on aspirin at ages 16 and 18. I was anorexic for a few years as well. Later, in my twenties, I binged and sleep ate, along with yo-yo dieting. I tried to purge as well but was unable to induce vomiting.

My story goes on, too long to tell here, things did get better after I moved out when I was 19, I was freer, but fell into the same type of relationship with my first boyfriend. It was better because I had more autonomy, but turns out he was almost exactly like my father, though less, hands on violent.

Cliché but true.

I lived through years of anxiety, PTSD while I worked my way through college. I self medicated with alcohol and briefly experimented with drugs. I never really had the chance to date, moved in with my first boyfriend and eventually married. I finally graduated from college after 10 years of going part time during some years and trying to figure out what I could make a living at. I became a registered nurse with a lot more college credits than I needed. By then I had settled down some and became more focused and empowered. I didn’t know I had anxiety or PTSD until I began questioning my experience. I guess some of the classes I took in nursing caused me to gain more perspective. Until then, I just believed that everyone was volatile and abusive because that’s how my closest relationships were. I believed that’s how people were. And I thought that it was because of me, that I was causing the harsh reactions from the people closest to me, because I was getting everything wrong, it was my fault, something had to be wrong with me.

I eventually decided that I had a choice. That I didn’t have to put up with the drama and began to limit contact or go no contact with some relationships, for self preservation. I felt sad and guilty about it though, but felt it was the best choice. And turns out it was essential.

It wasn’t until I had children myself, that a light bulb went off. I saw clearly that the way I was treated was inappropriate and misguided. And then I saw myself in a different, more loving and compassionate light. I realized that I had no idea what was truly loving and appropriate, because I was shown some immature, fearful, possessive, manipulative and controlling ways of relating by my family of origin and then by my husband. I became worried for our children because how could I parent them appropriately and lovingly if all I had was my own experience to go by? I did have my own inner knowing, but how could I trust it when my view was so heavily influenced by my own experience?

Because I love our children, I then began to educate myself on what a loving relationship was and how to be an effective, supportive, loving parent. And that also helped me to love myself again. And this set me on the path to learning as much as possible about healthy relationships and how to be loving and productive in this world.

And after a health scare when the children were younger, I learned how to stop sacrificing myself so much, because if I didn’t take care of me, I wouldn’t be able to take care of the children. And I began seeking even more knowledge…eventually asking, “Is this all there is? And if so, please help me accept this and make the best of it.” I wanted peace and love. I had a “Dark night of the soul.” And I really forgave everyone and myself as well. And I also had a metaphysical experience which I wish everyone could also have, because it was an opening to a whole expansive shift in awareness and knowing of the true nature of reality.

Cliché but true.

Then I sought knowledge and validation of this true nature of reality even more fervently and began changing my habits and mindset. I continued to simplify and finally began taking care of myself, really taking care of me for the first time in a very long time, maybe for the first time ever actually.

So the best thing that ever happened so far in my life has been having children. It shifted my whole perspective and taught me what love really is.

Another cliché but true 😀

I began to love myself like I love our children. And I realized that everyone with no exception is worthy of this same love.

And the further along this path of seeking knowledge, higher awareness, journeying within, discovering my truth, I’ve grown to realize that we all could use some help and knowledge to lead more peaceful, loving, productive lives. And I also know that people are just doing what they know how to do. That really, if they knew better and were truly capable, they would not be fearful and abusive. For this only hurts themselves as well as others. And if they became aware, they could then work on changing. But they have to be willing to do the work. Their actions must line up with their words.

So many people remain unaware.

Sometimes for our own peace, for our personal growth, we may need to limit time spent with fearful abusive people, when we’ve tried to have a better relationship with them and it just isn’t happening. Sometimes we have to let go in order to be loving of ourselves. This has been the most difficult for me, knowing when to let go. Sacrificing ourselves so as not to hurt others or to please others while it is hurting ourselves is not love and serves no one. It is a form of deception rooted in fear.

I finally had the courage to divorce. I am happily remarried now.

I wish that I would’ve been more aware when I was young. I could’ve become healthier sooner. And maybe I could’ve helped others in my life become healthier sooner, and they would then go on to help others get healthier sooner. We could exponentially create a healthier, more loving world.

But first we must become aware that there’s actually a more loving way. That it’s truly possible. To this day I am making progress in being more loving, forgiving, peaceful, joyful and healthy. It’s a lifelong process and journey. I keep opening my heart and mind to keep learning how to be ever more loving. Life is a great teacher in and of itself, but sharing our knowledge and experience with one another allows even more progress to be made.

I am evidence that it is possible and I want to help. I want us all to get healthier sooner

 

 

 

 

 

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Michelle Miyagi
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