how to be yourself

On reclaiming your true self + loving your wounded parts

I always wanted to feel cool.

That’s actually one of the most vulnerable things I’ve shared on this blog. As real as it can get.

I always wanted to feel cool. To be perceived as cool. To get external validation that I was cool. Especially by other cool people.

This was my kryptonite in high school. One of my deepest and most painful longings. To be perceived as cool and to be accepted with the “in-crowd” (whatever that meant).

So I did many things to make this happen. I took on the role of the class clown. People think you’re cool if you can make them laugh, right? Not to mention the added bonus of keeping their attention away from the real me and focusing it on the hilarious me.

I also used alcohol to cope throughout high school, because alcohol made me loose and free. It unleashed a greater capacity for hilariousness within me. (And, of course, also made me miserable and sick.) As an adult, I don’t drink alcohol at all, partially because it reminds me of these painful memories of trying to be cool in all the wrong ways.

Here’s the thing: in high school, I saw myself as deeply flawed. As inherently uncool. As essentially separate and different from everyone else — and not in a good way. As a weirdo. As an alien. As someone who felt things too deeply.

So I used whatever I could, like drinking and humor, to become who I thought my peers wanted me to be. Who I thought would be accepted and seen as “ok.” Who I thought would be respected or, at the very least, disregarded as not worthy of criticism. Passed over for some other, easier target. You know how high school works.

My approach worked, somewhat. It got me through the rougher years, with some battle scars but no fatal wounds. Except, of course, that I shoved the real me into a suffocating closet. Into some dark cave no one could access.

I created a “cool persona” to cover up the real me: the bookworm, the poet, the intuitive soul, the creative spirit, the deeply caring person who loves tea and quiet afternoons and going to bed at 10 pm (so uncool, my teenage self would think).

It has taken years of healing, therapy, reading, and listening to others’ stories to reclaim that real self. This doesn’t mean, though, that my wounded teenage part doesn’t get activated anymore.

We still carry these wounded parts somewhere in or on our bodies. Their residual energy is still with us, especially if we haven’t acknowledged or healed these parts.

My wounded teenage self still hangs out in my stomach sometimes, where I can feel queasy and unsettled if my fear of rejection gets activated. Yup — even as an adult. Even as an intuitive healer working with other people! (No one’s perfect or “fully healed” and there’s always more to work on… that’s the journey.)

Whether it’s your inner child, or your teenage self, or a part of you that still feels broken after a traumatic event, your wounded parts don’t just “go away.” They continue to show up. They continue to hurt. They’re activated by situations and relationships — sometimes even a single word or image — that remind you of that original wound.

I often advise the people I work with to get to know these parts and engage in loving dialogue with them. Pushing them away makes them get bigger. Stuffing them down with food holds them at bay for a little while, at great cost to your physical health. The same goes for numbing them with alcohol.

A more fruitful approach is to begin connecting with a wiser, more loving, and compassionate presence within yourself beyond these limited parts. We might call this presence the Inner Mentor. Or the Wise One. Or Higher Self. I often call this presence Inner Wild Woman, in reference to the powerful work of Clarissa Pinkola Estes. If you wish to connect with this deeper source of wholeness and wisdom within yourself, I invite you to try my wild woman guided meditation.

The point is, we must actively learn to acknowledge and love these tender, wounded parts of ourselves.

It has taken me years to bring my real self out of that dark cave and proclaim to the world, “Everyone, here I am, this is me — take me or leave me.”

It has taken years to be able to say, “Actually, I am cool, precisely because I don’t hide my truth.” Sharing your truth, your essence, your uniqueness with the world is not only cool, it’s badass. No one can do your thing the same way you do. You have a special magic or medicine to offer the world, whatever that might be. Your special flavor or flair is what helps you contribute your gifts to the world.

You can often uncover what that flavor or magic might be by traveling beyond and beneath your wounded parts. By exploring the treasure that lies underneath them. By no longer running away from the hurt, the discomfort, and the shame but rather sitting with them in compassionate presence. If I could do this, you can too.

With love,
Josephine

 

To move deeper into your healing and explore your wounded parts with my support, you can book a discovery call or a session here. I would love to co-create some magic and healing with you. Please remember to be tender with yourself in the meantime. You deserve love + kindness!

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