Pretzel No More

The most important thing I’ve learned is that I have the power to make changes in my life, it’s up to me. I may not be able to achieve everything that I desire, but I can always make improvements. I will not have peace if I do not listen to my deep inner guidance and act upon what my heart whispers to me and go where love leads me. Is it easy? No, it’s the hardest thing you can do because the world wants to have its way with you and we’re taught to comply even when it’s crushing our souls, we try to fulfill what’s expected of us. It takes courage, strength, will, and self-love to be able to forge your own path that is true to you and loving of you. Fierce love.

But what about what’s best for you? Don’t you have a say in the matter? Yes, each of us gets to choose what we’re willing to allow in our immediate personal lives. We don’t control everything we interact with in the world, but we can choose who we spend our time with, what we do with our own time, and what we do with our minds, bodies, and spirits. We get to decide, no one else has that right but ourselves.

Until you love yourself enough to do what’s right for you, you won’t be able to fully express your gifts and share the creative loving expansiveness that is the real you. Part of you will be blocked and hidden. It will feel as if part of you is dying until you choose love over fear. Our fears keep us tied to those false loyalties, obligations, and expectations. We’re afraid of change and the unknown, so we stay with the jobs, relationships, and habits that slowly and insidiously shrink us into ghosts of our once bright, shiny, exuberant, expectant selves. We get conditioned into believing that it’s just how it is, there’s nothing we can do about it, it could be worse. But it could be better, always. Why not go for better?

It took me decades to finally realize that I was worthy, could have better and it was up to me to choose to make the changes that were loving of me. Yes, it was scary and hard, but so was the alternative, staying stuck, unhealthy, frustrated, sad, and miserable.

So I began taking my power back, the power I gave away to others by obliging and placating, caregiving, and giving at the expense of myself. I began giving back to me, taking care of me, taking time for me, doing what I wanted, learning about all the ways that would help me live a life on purpose that was true to my goals, my wishes that also considered others, but did not require sacrificing myself. It was possible to love and care for others while also honoring myself equally. I finally learned how to manage that, I retrained myself, unlearning the codependent patterns that had been ingrained in me.

I learned that I didn’t have to bow to anyone, that I am sovereign over me, I finally let go of trying to be the peacemaker and let others be as miserable as they wanted, it wasn’t up to me to twist into a pretzel trying to make things better, that was up to them to make things better for themselves. I learned healthy boundaries. I discovered that I could try to help someone, but that ultimately it is up to each of us individually to make changes within ourselves and our lives. No matter how hard I tried, there was no way to create change in someone else or how they’re relating unless they were willing and capable. Some people aren’t and they’re negative, miserable, and harmful so you have to let them go in order to preserve your own health.

I eventually improved in my estimation of when to keep trying and when to let go. My boundaries became clearer and I gained confidence as I practiced enforcing them. I saw that the world did not come crashing down if I said no and did what was right for me. It was a big relief and I could be me again, the real me.

And that’s what I want others to realize…their inherent beauty and worthiness and to do what’s most loving of themselves, like I’ve learned and am still learning to do. Because when we all get better and express our real selves unencumbered, full of our natural joy and love, how wondrous this world will be.

Love and hugs 💜

Michelle Miyagi
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