I have clearly known my goals for starting Ever Upward (the blog version) from the very beginning:
~ to help build credibility for the book.
~ to continue my healing process.
~ to educate.
~ but mostly, to connect with others.
The feedback I have received in the few short weeks of starting the blog has been nothing short of amazing and exactly why I knew I had to write my story, which is really everyone’s story.
“I had no idea.”
“I get it now.”
“I felt your heart in your haunting words.”
“Your post gives me strength to find my truth.”
“It makes me happy that you put your struggles out there to help others going through the same thing. There are so many women who are in a similar situation that need to know they aren’t alone.”
These words I know come from love and connection; ultimately my goals in writing. But, I am also finding that I need to keep myself in check with all of this love. I want to make sure this doesn’t become about making myself feel okay or accepted or validated through others’ approval. Feeling validated is not on that list of goals above. Because then it becomes about proving that this is okay, that I am okay, that my story is okay. And ultimately, that is the very opposite of my goals. I have to make sure to take this love and make sure it is about the connection while also not tying it to my own validation of myself. Because when I tie outside validation to my story, it ultimately owns my truth and puts my self-worth at stake.
We are taught, socialized really, to seek outside validation, which only attaches validation to our self worth; how much money do we make, how big and fancy is our home, how many likes does our status get on Facebook, how many followers do we have on Twitter, etc. Ultimately, we have to learn how to validate for ourselves.
If I can find the validation within myself, my self-worth isn’t tied to the success of the blog, or eventually the book. It isn’t tied to how many views the blog gets or the courage it takes for other’s to share it. It isn’t tied to the people who criticize the blog or who read it and don’t like it and don’t get it. It isn’t tied to the people I so wish would read it, because more than anything I feel like I need (but really want) their understanding and empathy. Because the truth is, these are the very people who probably will not read the blog. So I have to do the work, for myself, to learn to accept their limitations, to find validation from, and within myself.
Self validation and owning it has to be a daily practice, whether or not we must practice to own our depression, to own our weaknesses, to own our vulnerabilities, to own our anxieties, to own our struggles… To own our everything, our stories.
Because within owning it all, we own ourselves and find our own validation.
And when we own ourselves through self validation, we open up the space for our happiness, our truth, and our ever upward.