Once, I felt like this. I couldn’t put a finger on it. It seemed like my self-confidence and self-esteem has faded away. I felt like a failure, unworthy. I looked at my life, and I couldn’t find a reason for it. I sometimes felt that I was fighting with an invisible enemy. I started to be sick and tired of feeling this way, and I wanted to get out of it. I wanted to feel happy again.
Do you want to feel happy, too?
I took a close look at my life. I did the work I loved. I was happy with the life I led. That wasn’t the cause of it. I dug deeper and looked at my relationships:
- Who supported my growth?
- Who supported me in achieving my dreams?
- Where did I give more than I received?
- Who were the people who drained me or criticized me?
- Who shared the same values I had, who didn’t?
I chose to be honest with myself and observed what was happening in my relationships.
I was excited about writing my first book, and I shared the progress I made with my sister. Suddenly, I noticed that she never responded back. I sent her my book cover, and I never heard any appreciative word. I shared my dream to move to Canada, and all she said was that I would never make it. Then, she started to criticize my book. She had never expressed that before. Later, she labeled my spirituality as crazy. It also was the year when my sister’s cat had died. When it had been diagnosed with terminal cancer, I had sent it Reiki. I had told my sister that Reiki wouldn’t save her cat; it would just make his death gentler. At Christmas, she accused me of having killed it. I didn’t know anymore what to say. I decided to give me a time-out and didn’t contact her for a while.
As I’ve shared in my memoir “A Brave, True Story”, I grew up in a family with manipulative relationships. Guilt was one way to hold the family together. My family also denied the existence of any higher power. When I grew older, I chose a different path and started to heal myself. I saw that it was possible to move beyond the conditionings I had received in my childhood and that it was possible to have nurturing and loving relationships. As a child, I had experienced love as something painful, frightening and overwhelming. The more I healed, the more I experienced love as something expansive, supportive and nurturing.
What did you learn in your family? Does it serve you well?
When I had started my business a couple of years ago, I had also wanted to create this type of relationship with my sister, so our relationship had never been easy in the past. I thought that being a role model for her might help her on her journey. I underestimated her loyalty with our family of origin. In my family of origin, all I did was wrong. Healing? That was impossible. Spirituality? That was something for crazy people. Counseling? That was only for the outcasts of society. My sister didn’t want to change anything but stayed in her secure place, and it was easier for her to blame me, judge me or criticize me than to accept that I was just different. She did not often express her negative view, but I subconsciously had taken on her negative perspective on myself. As a result, I had lost self-esteem and self-confidence. Even though I love her, I chose not to have contact with her. If I have to choose, I love myself a little bit more than I love her. I can’t heal her past, nor am I responsible for healing it. That’s her responsibility and whatever choice she takes is true for her. I am only responsible for myself, I am not responsible for the choices of my family and I take choices that feel true for myself. Being with somebody who constantly blames, criticizes or judges me, conflicts with loving myself.
What conflicts with loving yourself?
I gave up on my dream to have a nurturing and loving relationship with her and focused on my life again. In the next months, I observed my inner dialog. It was amazing how often I still heard her voice telling me: “You’ll never make it.” In those moments, I started to dance, put a smile on my face and said, “Of course, I’ll make it. And I’ll make it my way.” And that’s what I did.
What negative inner dialog do you have?
Eight months later, she contacted me because of a heritage. She was sweet and nice as if nothing had ever happened. My inner child had some hope that she might have changed. However, the first time I gave her an answer she didn’t like, she sent me messages full of blame and threats. I answered her that I didn’t want to be treated like that and that I would only communicate with her if she talked to me in a neutral way. She didn’t send a message again. Then, I got a lawyer to manage this. It’s ok to be different.
Where do you choose to be different?
Do you want to read more? I invite you to read my memoir “A Brave, True Story.” Click here and find out more about it.
Copyright © 2015, Natalie Jovanic. All rights reserved.