“Look how far you’ve come!”

Image Denys Nevozhai

I recently went for some amatsu massage therapy as a birthday gift.

The therapist is a friend of our family and she knows the details of my personal story. I first met her when I moved into the town where we live now, and she’s been following our four-year time period here since the birth of our son.

So when I met her after some six months since our previous meet-up, she exclaimed: “You look gorgeous!” I shied away and said that I’m only dressed casual. When she asked what birthday that was and I answered that it was my 32nd, she explained again: “Look how far you’ve come!” I shied away again, taken in surprise but this honest compliment.

But that really made me think.

Why was I ashamed of being given such a wonderful compliment?

Why was I so surprised?

And it hit me.

It’s still really hard for me to give myself credit. It’s not enough. Will it ever be enough?

I can’t still claim my progress, my growth, my evolving.

When I make myself think how far I’ve come – I know it. I’ve been through so much and I’ve made my move through lots of pain. All I know is that I am a Hero.

But there’s also that part of me that still keeps me small and is never happy no matter how much I’ve achieved. Yeah, that critical, self-diminishing voice-presence in my head that keeps me away from acknowledging my awesomeness.

That’s just total bull***t!

But what I’m really glad for, is that I am aware. I’ve been catching myself into many self-destructive habits and patterns of being lately. And I’m surprised and inspired at the same time. I know that whatever the reaction, it isn’t the full truth. The feeling/thought is there but I know that this isn’t the true me. And although it’s a valid experience I know this is just a reflex, a defense mechanism of sorts that I’ve developed.

But it isn’t who I am for real.

So I am on the process of becoming more and more aware of what’s going on in my head. I can also feel feelings in my body better now and know that if something makes me feel tense and contracting, it couldn’t be possibly good for me. Or it just stirs something deeper in me that needs to be looked at closely.

It is a great process of self-discovery – learning about myself on a deep level. And how absurd it is that we don’t know ourselves at all! The more we learn, the more we realise we’re quite wrong in our ideas and concepts about ourselves.

We realise these weren’t actually our own ideas about ourselves – we just picked them up from what we saw around us and the reactions to us from external sources.

We forgot who we truly are.

And life has incredible ways of reminding us that what you think of yourself right now, isn’t the true you.

In fact, it sends us wake up calls all the time.

Self-awareness is the first step and often the toughest. Self-awareness comes from incredible amount of self-exploration and questioning.

When we catch ourselves into our unhealthy habits, we do have the power to change them. And the next step is understanding where they come from.

When we realise we aren’t what we thought ourselves to be, we are entailed with the responsibility to strip all the falseness and discover our innocence again.

And then we have the sacred opportunity to build and design ourselves and our lives in any way we may wish and is truthful to us.

Yes, you’ve come that far (because you never really left!) and you have all the power to be your own awesome self.

Do you ever find it hard to receive compliments? Do you feel ashamed of your own achievement? Do you remember to give  yourself credit from time time?

You may also enjoy Showing up for ourselves: an experience of a photoshoot session

In Her Image Photography

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I'm Vilina Christoph and I write about my journey of healing and empowerment. A family tragedy triggered my suffering from depression and anxiety+panic attacks. I was consumed by loss and grief, my sense of self was shattered. For the last three years I've been slowly piecing a new "me". I've been tracing my steps backwards, unlearning toxic behaviours and releasing outdated beliefs. It's been a journey of stripping down layers and coming back to my core, my heart, my soul. This is my life story of awakening, remembering my truth and becoming whole again. May it inspires you on your path!

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