‘She helps me see hope in the chaos. She silently encourages me to be my true self. She reminds me I am worthy of love.’: Woman learns to embrace authentic self ‘without judgement’

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“I’ve been spending time with a new friend lately and I’m starting to like her.

At first we just took trips in the car together – short trips to pick up or drop off the kids from school and then longer trips to watch my son in his high school baseball games. Initially we rode in silence – just listening to the sounds of the world. Then we started listening to music. Each day it was something different. Sometimes it’s show tunes. Sometimes it’s R&B or hip hop from the 90’s and 2000’s. Sometimes it’s classic rock. Sometimes it’s a news podcast. She lets me pick and accepts my choices.

Without judgement.

She recently convinced me to redo my bedroom. As I stood in the middle of my room an hour into the process, I was overwhelmed by the mess. She refrained from telling me I was stupid or messy and didn’t scold me for waiting so long to tackle the project. Instead, she helped me focus on the possibilities before me and together we put the room back together. She helps me see the hope in the midst of a mess.

Without judgment.

When I finally got back on the spin bike 8 weeks after my surgery instead of 6 weeks, she was my biggest cheerleader. ‘You can do this!’ she whispered as I climbed into the seat, unsure of what my body would be able to do after such a long break. As each mile ticked by, her support grew louder and louder. She believes in me.

Without judgment.

When I had to have one of those big parenting moments with my teens the other night, she was there, trying to build me up and remind me I am a good mom. At first I tried to ignore her, silence her, tell her she’s wrong – just like I used to do for so many years. But eventually I let her speak louder. She points out my strengths and helps me see my growth.

Without judgment.

When I have ventured back into the world outside my house, she has been there, silently encouraging me to be my true self. Say what I am thinking. Reach out to the people who matter. Hold boundaries to protect my energy. She makes me believe I am worthy of love and laughter.

Without judgment.

While I know she’s always been there – a part of me – for so long I have kept her hidden away. Letting her help me be confident was surely cocky. Believing the positive things she says about me was surely superficial or phony. So, I turned down the volume on her for much of my life, pushing her into the far corners of my brain.

But I’m starting to see she’s not just a PART of me – she’s the REAL me.

And I think it’s time to let her stay and maybe even time to let her shine.

Because it turns out she’s kind of a great person.

And here’s the thing – you ALL have a friend inside you who is just like her. Maybe it’s time to let her shine, too.”

Courtesy of Jenni Brennan

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jenni Brennan. You can follow her journey on Facebook, Instagram, and her website. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

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