I often think about who I am and all the things that led up to the me of today. As I meander down the wooded trail of long ago, my mind often wanders in the forest of my past. What I saw. What I was told. How I felt. As I think about the beliefs that got formed growing up, I wonder about their truth for me now and impact to my life? I’ve come to recognize that some things continue to be in alignment with my adult values, supporting my success, while others, not so much. My beliefs are the underpinnings of my self-image and how I view my potential. They can govern my attitudes and behaviors. Over the years I’ve learned to strengthen my connection to supportive beliefs and release attention given those non-serving beliefs. I consciously choose the place I come from as I navigate the ins and outs of my day to day life.
Trees, like people, need nourishment. Photosynthesis generates food for trees. During photosynthesis, the leaves take in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and then, using water that the roots have absorbed and energy from the sun, the leaves create a certain kind of sugar for the tree. This sugar is the tree’s food, allowing it to grow.
I am like a tree, continually growing, grounded by the strength and sturdiness of my roots. The resources beneath flow up through my trunk, allowing me to express myself in my branches and leaves. My beliefs, supported by past experiences and new learning, are the nourishment I feed myself. The greater the truth and alignment of my beliefs the more positive the conditions are for my development. Some beliefs are with me forever, while others feed the weeds I continue to pull,
letting go of what no longer serves me.
The environment of my youth was surrounded by other’s struggles with overwhelm, anger and aggression. There was a blurring of one’s limits and boundaries. Both inside and outside my home, things sometimes felt tumultuous and confusing.
Often our beliefs get formed early on and get passed down, generation to generation, morphing as they move through us as individuals. A belief, that a person was good if they were perfect and met the expectations of others, traveled through my family. Another person’s approval or disapproval was a constant statement of one’s value. This untruth laid the soil for a modeling of perfection equaling worthiness. Others’ opinions and perceptions held greater power than a vibrant, internal sense of self.
Over the years I’ve grappled with believing in myself or my abilities. Disconnected from my worth and capacity, I struggled to embrace my potential. I saw this lack of confidence manifested in my career, relationships and limited vision of who I was and what I might accomplish. I carried a general feeling of “why bother?” For example, I believed I was not as smart as others because I didn’t have as many degrees as they did. I often felt self-conscious and inadequate around my peers as I thought they were so much more knowledgeable than I.
As I struggled to remove the obstacles I faced in life I began recognizing the permanence of my value. This new perspective and message of worthiness came in a slow trickle, expanding as I continued to work to connect to this new way of seeing things. Using meditation, yoga and safe spaces in which to explore my sense of self, I slowly integrated a new belief into my being, the ideal that no matter what others thought or believed, I remained valuable. My value did not rise and fall as opinion and judgement was given. I was a constant as was my worth. It was the beginning of truly knowing that the old belief I carried was a falsity. I was always enough and that never wavered.
That was the beginning of my authentic living along with an introduction to my best self. I realized I was referencing a belief that negated me, reinforcing a constant struggle to reach my goals. When I accepted my innate worth as a given, I could be enough just as I was, in any given moment. As I believed in my self-worth and love of learning, I could open-heartedly engage with others, excited about what I might discover.
These days I practice acceptance, allowing myself to be gracefully imperfect, knowing I am not fixed in my being. Rather I am forever moving forward, evolving, knowing there is more. I choose the belief that I am enough, right now, in this moment. There are skills I have now and others I am reaching towards. I feed myself acknowledgement and celebration, seeing every accomplishment, big or little, as a reminder of all that I am. I embrace my sensitivity and see it has a strength, a gift, enabling me to authentically connect, deeply and consciously. I choose opportunities to learn that embrace my experiential learning style, encouraging myself to be open to new and different experiences.
I remain the gardener in my life, grounding myself in my principles, releasing judgement and celebrating the wins as my value stays with me everywhere I go. I can be the truth of who I am, strong at the roots, from the ground up. My tree has the sweet caramel smell of the Ponderosa Pine found on the west coast of the United States. For me, it is one of the nourishing smells of nature, reminding me of the strong and sweet sugar that feeds me from within.