One of my Bulletproof Ballerinas has been thrown more than her fair share of challenges lately. While she's not giving up, it's definitely been difficult for her. But, her willingness to push on has inspired me to share a personal story from my life in hopes that it might comfort you the next time you find yourself in darkness.
About six months ago, I went through one of the most painful experiences of my life. While I'm fortunate that there were no physical injuries involved, it was something that shook me to my core. It destroyed my ego and shattered my view of the world. It was a pivotal, life-altering, soul-crushing, devastatingly painful event. And, even though I am still trying to work through the emotions, I fear the scars will never quite go away.
But, even now a mere 6 months later with the wounds still raw, I am so grateful for this event. As painful as it was, it carried the power to change me and push me forward. It destroyed my former "self" and sent me slamming into rock bottom where all I was left with was my core, my true essence. All the layers of protection I had built around myself for 3 decades were striped away, and I was forced to rebuild from the ground up. But once I finally realized that even though my concept of who I was and my role in this world had been destroyed...I was still here. And with that realization came an incredible feeling of freedom. It gave me the courage to start over on a new adventure. And, it's the reason I'm talking to you today.
I share this with you not to unload my personal drama or to spark pity for myself, but with the intent to give you courage when you feel like you can't endure anymore punishment from the world. When you are in the midst of a struggle, it can be hard to see the light and stay positive. It can be so difficult to believe that someday you will get past the bad emotions and come out the other side a stronger, more advanced version of yourself. It can seem easier to let yourself get overwhelmed and consumed by the negative emotions. It can feel like you are ruined and doomed to live in the struggle the rest of your life.
But, here is where I want to give you your power back. You actually have a significant choice in this situation. A significant, powerful choice that will determine your path going forward and carries the potential to build you into your truest self...your best self.
Option 1: You can choose to become bitter.
You can let the negativity consume you, define you, and rule you. You can let your "self" become the victim. You can let the negative circumstances become part of your identity. You can say "this" happened to me; so I'm going to suffer because of it. I'm going to show the world that it brought me down and play out this victim mentality the rest of my life. I'll show them. The world hurt me, so I deserve to feel bad about my situation. Poor me.
Option 2: You can choose to become bold.
You can find the courage to take off your masks. Something happens once you realize that all these fronts you've been putting so much effort and energy into maintaining in an attempt to be "good enough," to please everyone, and to be what you think the world wants you to be, are just that - fronts and masks. And, as hard as you've been trying to be what the world wants, it still isn't good enough; it will never be good enough. It can shatter you and everything you've built your ego around your entire life. But, ironically, that's exactly what you want to happen.
And so, you let the pain destroy you, this ego you've been carrying around like a shield. You let the pain burn through your masks and layers of protection. You let it strip you raw until there is nothing left of these false pretenses and made-up expectations. Then, when the dust of this destruction settles, you find that all that is left of you is this tiny spark. This is the true essence of who you are. This is your core. This is what has been smothered by all the layers you've built around your self your entire life. This spark is your true self. And with the weight of your masks and shields not dragging you down anymore, it is what you now have the chance to nurture and grow and feed until it becomes a flame.
It's actually the most freeing feeling in the world - to no longer feel the outside (other people's, your mental demons, ect.) expectations imposing their limits on you...but to feel the infinite possibilities for your life spread out before you. You can finally say, "Enough." I don't need to try to please you anymore. I tried so hard for so long to be who you wanted me to be. And it wasn't good enough for you. So, this is me taking my life back and trying a different approach. And perhaps the most powerful thing of all happens...you actually start to love your self. Because you are finally being authentic and living your truth.
This is what it means to be a Bad Girl Ballerina. To throw off the shackles of your people-pleasing self. To stop letting yourself be defined by what other people think of you. To not let yourself be manipulated by outside circumstances. To say enough to the masks and shields that have been dragging you down. To say, "F*ck you...watch me soar," not out of revenge or hatred or bitterness, but out of respect for finding your true self and wanting to share your light with the world. Like it or not, here I am. This is me, and this is what I'm bringing to the world. I no longer need your approval to live my life.
Have you experienced a life-altering situation? How has it changed you? I want to hear your story! Email me or comment below.