I was crying. Big, happy, overwhelmed, sad tears. Tears of release. Heading North up the 405 after a workout with Spotify playing a list curated by Gabby Bernstein. I could barely feel my legs, and my arms were so sore I they were throbbing and numb at the same time but… I felt great. Florence and the Machine came on. Shake It Out. And you know, how sometimes they say, when you NEED to hear something or you NEED to see something, the Universe finds a way to give you the thing your looking for? That. In her lyrics I heard something I clearly needed to hear for myself… Hope. A call for personal growth. Forgiveness. Action.
Look, I’m not even going to lie. When it comes to my personal life, I’ve made some stupid choices. Were they intentionally irresponsible and reckless? No. Where they choices I made trying to be all cool? No. They were choices I made… searching for something good. And in that quest, I did some silly things. I held on to people longer then I should have. I tried to make the wrong guys the right one. I gave some men more credit than their actions towards me deserved. I thought I saw thing I wasn’t really seeing because I wanted to see them so badly. I put other peoples feelings, justifications and needs before my own. And in doing all of that… I lost pieces of myself. I gave away some very precious emotional real estate in my 20’s and even a small bit in my early 30’s. Even as I sit here now behind the safety of my laptop, at 37 years old and with the full clarity that comes from brilliant, honest retrospection… I have to fight the urge to be upset at myself for allowing ANYONE to diminish my sparkle.
I gave away some very precious emotional real estate in my 20’s and even a small bit in my early 30’s.
Here’s the truth. The “it’s late at night and I’m in bed and confessing things out loud that only my soul and the Universe can hear” kind of truth. I deeply want to find love. It’s not a massive quest or a pre-occupation, more so a keen awareness that, for the first time in my life, I have a sense of WHO I am and the things that will make me happy. I see life in smaller, more authentic and organic ways then ever before. I hope, one day, to have a companion to share the ride with. Something good. Something kind. Something that is quiet and slow and reliable. With someone who can see me for EXACTLY who I am, flaws and lumps and accidental snorts-in-laugher and all, and exactly the person I WANT to be. In the process of knowing myself well enough to recognize this… I’ve also learned that I’ve had some relationships that did the exact opposite. And that made me… mad at myself.
I’m not one of those people who believes in demonizing others. I’d like to think I’m pretty even keel; I know when relationships fall apart that it (usually) it’s a combination of actions and behaviors committed by both parties that build up over time. And I don’t believe people are inherently bad. I believe, for the most part, we all simply want to “be seen” and feel valuable. I think, sometimes, basically good people can “do bad things” and that just because someone isn’t good to you, it doesn’t mean they don’t have the ability to be good to someone else. In other words… I take responsibility for the part that I played in these negative relationships and interactions. I gave the inch that allowed them to take the mile…
I take responsibility for the part that I played in these negative relationships and interactions. I gave the inch that allowed them to take the mile…
So, you might be wondering to yourself, why is this woman airing her business to the world? Well… I don’t think of it that way. I didn’t tell you anyone’s names, for example. Instead, what I’ve done, is try to show you that YOU, just like me, can look at things head on and not be scared of them. Rather then be frightened, you can view all relationships as assignments from the Universe for growth. (More on that in a bit.) You can take action. And you can make changes. You can forgive yourself and move on.
Raise your hand if you ever allowed yourself to be in a relationship that wasn’t supporting you and building you up? Is your hand raised? If so… Me too. Nice to meet you. I “see” you. And… it’s ok.
If you are reading this and are single now, or have been single in the last ten years, and you are telling me you have NEVER texted an ex or an “Obviously Not Great For You Person That You Talked To Anyway” late at night just to say “hi” because you needed to make contact with the living and to not feel alone? I would be very impressed. Raise your hand if you ever allowed yourself to be in a relationship that wasn’t supporting you and building you up? Is your hand raised? If so… Me too. Nice to meet you. I “see” you. And… it’s ok.
I’d bet money that a whole bunch of people reading this have, at some point in time, engaged in some kind of a relationship that was a bit self-sabotaging for some reason or another. Maybe you saw it then and you did it anyway or, maybe you were like me, and you couldn’t see anything but Hopeful. Whatever it is, the past is in the past. It’s done. It’s gone. That time is not coming back and you simply CAN’T be upset at yourself any more.
For many years, I made the same mistakes time and time again. I was standing in a forrest of trees so tall I couldn’t even tell I was lost… I just kept walking. As I mentioned in My Story here, I had a big A-Ha moment a few months ago. While I’ve known for years that repeating the same patterns in my personal relationships was only going to yield me the same results (and if I wanted different outcomes I had to be willing to do things differently) it never dawned on me I have to completely shift the way I think about myself. It was not enough to just ACT and BEHAVE differently, I had to BELIEVE differently.
I’ll tell you something right now, point blank… the idea of “faith” is something that is wicked hard for me. I like tangible things. Stuff I can touch. People I can connect to for tangible, immediate feedback. Which is how I found myself, at 37 years old, with a full history of cruddy ex’s and people I’ve talked to who I never fully closed the door on. Because, for some reason, it was easier for me to take some crappy, tangible feedback from some crappy dudes then it was for me to stand on my own two feet with nothing more than my own personal faith and belief to guide me.
Cut to my drive North on the 405, post workout. Flushed. Empowered. Ready to be greater and stronger. In a snap instant I realized that there was no way I could ever, really truly grow into the woman I wanted to become… if I was still carrying old demons on my back. Like Florence says, “It’s hard to dance with the Devil in your back.”
But here’s the kicker. I was my own devil. I mean yes, the individuals from my past count but, the real devil holding me back was my need to keep them around. Because faith, like I’ve said, ain’t normally my bag of chips. And so doing ALL of this would involve one big act of forgiveness. One big EXHALE. One big moment to say… Ok, Sarah, this is the past and now can move on. You’re ok. I see you. You’re good.
I’d never fully feel strong, empowered and capable of finding a super healthy relationship with MYSELF (not to even mention a potential partner in the future) if I left the residue from my past sit around like dust…
And so I decided it was time to release my devil. Let go of people. Let go of the the lack of faith that I ever had that I wasn’t enough. That I wasn’t good enough or pretty enough or interesting enough or desirable enough to be worthy of a positive relationship. I had to forgive myself for not believing I was enough. And then I had to wipe away the fine layer of old dust that had hung over my self-perception. Each number and each email a heavy, bloated particle of dust. I’d never fully feel strong, empowered and capable of finding a super healthy relationship with MYSELF (not to even mention a potential partner in the future) if I left the residue from my past sit around like dust…
So let me clarify. 90% of the people I deleted from my phone are/were not even people I dated. Or people I even MET. They were numbers I acquired along the way of life, dates that never matriculated etc. And of that 10% remaining, most of these are not even people I’ve spoken to in years and years and years. But their names were there. Their numbers were stored. They were taking up the space. And that meant it was time for them to go.
The hardest number for me to delete was the number of someone I truly loved. I’ve said goodbye to him more times than I can even remember. I said goodbye when we broke up. I said goodbye when I moved away from him. I said goodbye in my heart hundreds of times when mourning the loss of our relationship. And, in 2012, I said goodbye to him forever when he passed away. It’s funny but, as I write this, the anniversary of his death is only days away. I’ve come to accept that he’ll never really be gone from my life and my heart – both of which he left his footprints on pretty deeply – but at least, I can take the steps to find the balance.
And so that is why I made this video. Because I believe there are hundreds, if not thousands or millions of other women out there, who also have experienced or feel what I feel. And maybe they haven’t yet figured out that they can move on. Maybe that haven’t learned how to forgive themselves. Maybe they haven’t learned that you can plant a Faith seed inside your heart and grow it and water it and feed it with self-care care and kindness every day. Till it stands on its own in the sunshine. And if they haven’t… Maybe I can show them that they can.
PS- If anything I’ve said here resonates with you, or if you found my video helpful or touching in ANY way, please chime in below. I am deeply committed to helping other women through their own journey to greater health and the ability to connect with you is such a beautiful and powerful gift!