Imposter Syndrome in love is a real thing. It's an unsettling feeling that even though you've experienced love from others, you don't believe that it's genuine, or that it will last. This type of imposter syndrome can be especially difficult when it comes to relationships because it can create a tremendous amount of self-doubt and insecurity that can prevent us from allowing ourselves to open up and fully invest in the relationship. At least, that is what I've discovered about myself.
Warning: Personal Share coming!
It’s 4 am and I sit in a hotel room in the suburbs of Chicago. My father died on Wednesday as I was boarding a plane to come to his bedside. I came anyway. I met Joey at O’Hare Airport in the cold December rain. When I most needed it, Spirit sent a kind, loving stranger. We were waiting for rides to pick us up at Vestibule 1E. He was having a smoke. There was something about him that drew me in. I asked if he had another one of those and he did. He helped me light the cigarette and made sure I knew where to tell my sister to pick me up. Joey opened his arms and offered a hug when I told him my father had just passed away. We talked about our fathers and families. We shared pictures. He was going to visit his father’s grave and his still living 95-year-old grandma. We talked about loving all people and all things. How the world needs more love. We talked about the places we loved to travel. We talked about growing up in Illinois and life in Colorado, returning home and what that felt like. He shared his dream of building a healthy natural human-grade dog food company and saving dogs. He told me he found sales easy, and I saw that, with his warmth, he was a natural at it. He shared the story of watching his friend fall to his death right after he told Joey it was the happiest moment of his life. He shared with me the debilitating anxiety he’s felt ever since. He was kind and hugged me again before he left blowing me kisses from the passenger seat of his friend’s car as he drove away. I like Joey. Joey gives me hope for humanity.
Waking to the memory of the kindness of a stranger brings me around to thoughts about my dad’s passing. Just like that he’s gone. No physical trace left behind. All that remains are the good deeds he did. The memories of him in the minds of those who knew him. No possessions or things. It really brings home to me the foolishness of amassing things. It really brings home to me the importance of doing good work and being a part of a community. What matters is building a legacy that will last beyond your physical presence. It isn’t about houses, cars, or collectibles. It isn’t about the style or expense of the clothes your family or friends will likely donate once you leave. It’s about how you treat people, the lives you impact. It’s about who will remember you when you are gone and how they will remember you.
Now that my sisters and I cleaned out dad’s room at the assisted living center where he took his last breath, I keep going back to “all that is left are the memories he made with others.” The impressions he left with his grandchildren. The laughter, gentleness, the kindness he expressed. Sure, some will remember his struggles, the hardships he faced, and the ways he was less than kind. But the memories most will talk about are the ways he touched them positively.
I remember my dad as a difficult man. When I was growing up, he was angry and mean. He was prejudiced and small minded. He was the first emotionally unavailable man in my life—sadly, he wasn’t the last. I was afraid of him. I didn’t stick around long enough to know the elder version of him, the grandfather. The man my sisters and brothers let into their children’s lives seems a softer, gentler, kinder version of the man I grew up with. I’m happy for that. My kids didn’t know him. He once threatened to hit my two-year-old son and that was the end for me. Obviously, I’m conflicted. Even with that conflict, I can find love in my heart for the man who taught me a lot, gave me my name, provided for my physical needs as a child, and who gave me my blue eyes. Even in my conflict, it’s the positive impact he had on me that comes to the forefront. I honor the good in him as I mourn.
This lesson lands at a time when I am struggling to end a nasty divorce, when I lost my home and most of my possessions. Saying goodbye to them wasn’t easy, it felt like I had been robbed. Now I feel different. The loss of things and a lifestyle really don’t matter. I have enough. I am warm, nourished, healthy, and I choose to focus on how I can be a better human in this world. How I can positively impact those around me and those to come. I am listening to a book about the longtermist perspective and find it makes more sense today than ever (What We Owe the Future by William MacAskill). I’d like to leave this world empty-handed, having given away what I had worked for. I’d also like to leave this world full-hearted, perhaps like Joey’s friend feeling that it’s the happiest moment of my life. I’d like to leave this world with lots and lots of people sharing wonderful stories of the positive impact I had on them. I choose to show up every day with kindness, love, humility, helping others where I can. Rising above my own hurts and being there for others. I’d like to think I’ve been doing that along the way. I know I can do better.
When it comes to processing and releasing emotions, we all have our own unique methods and strategies. Some of us like to talk it out with friends, some of us prefer to write in a journal, and some of us like to take long walks alone. But what happens when we're holding onto emotions that are particularly harmful or toxic? Is there a healthy way to release them so that we can move on?
Here are 5 healthy ways to emotionally release:
For me, feminism is about empowering women to reach their full potential. It's about ensuring that women have the same opportunities as men, and that they're able to freely pursue their dreams and goals. It's about equal opportunity, plain and simple.
When you're going through a divorce, it can feel like the entire world is collapsing around you. Everything you thought was stable and permanent is suddenly up in the air, and it feels like you'll never find your feet again.
But it's important to remember that there is life after divorce. You may not be able to see it right now, but with time and patience, you will find peace.
It won't be the same as before - your life will be completely different - but that doesn't mean it won't be good. You will eventually learn to love yourself again and find happiness in your new life.
So don't give up hope; there is light at the end of the tunnel. Here are 7 steps to get you to the light faster.
7 steps to a spiritual divorce:
When it comes to self-love, too many people focus on the things they lack instead of the things they have. They see themselves as unworthy and undeserving of love and care. This creates a negative feedback loop that can be difficult to break out of. However, it's important to remember that self-love is not about perfection. It's about accepting yourself for who you are and making a commitment to taking care of yourself.
This means making time for the things that make you happy and giving yourself permission to say "no" when you need to. It also means being gentle with yourself when you make mistakes and remembering that you are worthy of love and care no matter what.
It can be so easy to get lost in the every day and forget who we truly are at our core. We become bogged down by the obligations of life and the people around us, and we lose sight of what really matters to us. But it's important to remember that we are not just mothers, daughters, sisters, or employees. We are individuals with our own dreams, desires, and passions.
My rituals tend to be practical full body experiences. I gravitate more toward embodying intention than acting it out. In my life, it’s sometimes not practical to light candles and put on special clothes to dance around a room chanting. In fact those things can sometimes feel foolish. I know that for me it’s a show, an act, not my style.
Today I don’t like myself very much. I am dwelling in negative self-talk, and it hurts. Why do I do this to myself? How would I treat a friend in this situation? What would I say to them? How can I shift my mindset to one of positive encouragement and growth?
I would start with encouragement. I would let them know it’s ok to have some bad days. It’s okay to be imperfect, in fact its preferable. I don’t want perfect people with perfect lives in my inner circle. I want real people with messy, wild, juicy lives. I want people who are unafraid to fail. I want people who go out and laugh and play and yes, sometimes, go too far. I also want friends who will gently, without judgment, encourage me to make healthier choices.
Divorce is difficult. I know first-hand as I am in the process of releasing a partner I was totally committed to for 29 years. My marriage lasted 27 of those and together we created a beautiful family and life together. In the end we had drifted too far apart to come back together and I realized it was time to go.
The separation was incredibly painful at first. Transformation often is. I am grateful for the spiritual tools I learned along the way. They have supported and empowered me through the process and will continue to do so. Here I’ll share some of those tools with you. If you are experiencing a life transformation, loss of any kind, or just facing an unknown future, I hope something here will help you.