Recently I have been thinking a lot about how much people can change in the course of their lives. I am a firm believer that we are all on a spectrum of different characters and personality traits and certain people or things can bring out more negative or positive traits in us.
Who I am today is a modest, slightly traditional woman with old fashioned views. Obviously I have a lot more to me than that but for the sake of this blog post that is the part of me I want to highlight.
However, this has only been the case for the last year and a half. Before that I felt lost. I hadn't exactly had a traditional upbringing and as many people can relate to, feeling abandoned as a child left me feeling desperate for attention wherever I could get it.
This combined with a 'hook up culture' with skimpy dresses and binge drinking led to me making some choices that I really wish I hadn't.
I'd love to say I was always the person I am today and always had respect for myself but the reality is, I didn't. I valued myself low and so I let other people do the same to me.
Now though, through meeting my fiancee and through all of the times he has shown me that I am worthy, I finally believe it. It has taken a few years of unconditional love from him to get me to the place I am in now and suddenly, I am a completely transformed woman.
Yet, this leads me to my next challenge which is forgiving myself for my past mistakes.
Sometimes I think back to how I let myself be viewed and treated and it physically makes me feel sick. Forgiving myself is no easy task but these are some of the things that are helping me:
Accepting that the mistakes I made were due to circumstances and feelings that I had no control over. When you are younger, you have less emotional intelligence which means you may not process things rationally. There was a time in my life where I was bullied in school, felt rejected by my parents and there was absolutely no one I could count on. I rationalised this by hating myself and by thinking it didn't matter if I self destructed. I also had no control over the society I was living in and unfortunately, the things I was doing were completely socially acceptable, if not celebrated.
Understanding that I didn't hurt anyone else. Hurting yourself and letting yourself down is a terrible thing don't get me wrong. But I do find comfort in the fact that through these mistakes I always remained a compassionate and loving person. Yes, I've done things I'm ashamed of but during that time I also travelled to Uganda to volunteer, raised money for different charities, cared for my nana two nights a week, among other things.
Being proud of who I am now. It could have been so easy to continue along that path, making similar mistakes and going further along a dark path. But I didn't, I turned it around and honestly, I like myself now. I genuinely think those past mistakes have made me more understanding and soft natured with other people because I totally understand how easy they are to make. I wouldn't be the person I am today if I hadn't have had the past that I do. I have seen and experienced both sides of the coin and because of that I have the knowledge and understanding to help others that may have similar pasts.
Forgiveness when it comes to yourself is not always easy. We like to think of ourselves in the best possible light so it is painful to admit where you have gone wrong. But it is important for me to say here, I DO forgive myself. There are still times I lie awake at night thinking why why whyyyy did I do that. But on the whole, I have compassion and love for my previous self, I just wish I could wrap her up in a blanket, tell her she is loved and everything will work out.
I'm going to wrap up this post now because I feel I have poured my heart and feel quite emotional to be honest.
Thank you for reading, and if you can relate to any of this, please forgive yourself too. Let yourself move on and be the fabulous woman you are today.