It was exactly 12 years ago today that I graduated with my Masters Degree from Dal.
Not too long ago, I was going through old photos, and came across one of my parents and I in front of the Rebecca Cohen auditorium on graduation day. Seeing myself in the photo brought me right back to how I felt that day, and to be honest, it made my heart sink a little.
When sharing my feelings about a momentous day such as graduation, one might expect me to describe a sense of pride and accomplishment. Instead, I would describe it as a day filled with sadness and disappointment. Hidden behind my smile was negative self-talk, pain, and anger. From my perspective, I could have "performed better.” I recognize now that this type of inner dialogue was slowly but surely becoming the silent killer of my spirit.
It might come as a surprise to you that despite having achieved all A-‘s on my transcript, lots of committee involvement, holding down a rare 2yr-long internship during my studies, *and* landing a tenure-track faculty position before I even walked across the stage, still wasn't “enough" for me. To top things off, because I didn’t make the cut for Beta Phi Mu (the International Library & Information Studies Honor Society) or receive any other graduation awards, I didn't think I was deserving of anything on graduation day.
Rather than focusing on my accomplishments, and feeling grateful for where I was, I kept searching for what was missing, and then I bet myself up for that. On the outside, I was smiling, celebrating and hugging fellow graduates. On the inside I hated myself. It seems pretty absurd to think of speaking to myself in this manner today. In hindsight, I do appreciate where I was at the time, because it lead me to where I am now.
While I do try to remain positive in my posts, I think it's important to share the dark parts of my story, because that's what makes sharing authentic and real. Perhaps revealing these parts of myself might inspire someone who might be struggling? Practicing vulnerability is hard, and it takes a lot of courage. It does get easier the more I share, and I think the reason being is, I have zero attachment to the outcome. Sharing just feels like the right thing to do, and it's important for my personal growth.
During the last couple of months I have been spending a lot of time listening to Dr. Wayne Dyer’s audio book Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life : Living the Wisdom of the Tao. In it, he reflects on the teachings of the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu. He shares the ways in which we can remain centered in the Tao (aka higher power, spirit, God...) by knowing we're enough by dropping the need for external validation. Listening to these teachings raises my level of self-awareness and reaffirms that I am on the right path. All I have to do is be still and go within to access this ancient wisdom. Everything I need is right here.
We all have an important role to play and have something to offer by first recognizing our higher purpose, no matter what society deems "successful." Once I made the decision to live from this heart-centered place, my life completely shifted. Things became much simpler, and more peaceful, and I started treating myself with more dignity, self-respect and love.
When I reflect back on my past, I don't label my experiences as positive or negative, but rather as opportunities that shape who I am. At our very core we are all born whole and enough. What got me here? A hell of a lot of soul whispers and synchronicities. I am excited to share more of these stories with you in upcoming posts, now that I'm back to writing on a more regular basis.
Xo Sarah Jane