"No matter how much you change, the essence of you is always the same."
- A friend once said this to me as I was going through a lot of personal changes and struggling with experiencing the ways that my relationships with others were changing. At this time I was questioning myself a lot, and wondering if how I used to be (codependent, people pleaser) was better, and if I should go back to how I was before.
My friend assured me that no matter how I changed behaviourally – that the essence of who I am was still the same, that I would always be myself no matter what.
The changes that I was making in my life were in light of a new awareness of how self-destructive my codependent behaviour was. As I gained self-awareness and worked through the root causes of my codependent tendencies, I began to live more authentically. I started standing up for myself, assertively sharing my opinion and expressing my feelings; while making decisions that suited my own best interests (after struggling through fear of being SELFISH) and I started setting and maintaining strong boundaries.
Although it was a difficult journey, and still is some days - my realisation that I am still the same person - that the essence of who I am was still the same, continually empowers me to be my authentic self. I was always who I am now, I was just hiding parts of myself before! What I needed was the opportunity to grow into myself, which I am still doing, and will always be continuing to do.
It was at this time that I began to realize that my relationships changing around me as I grew into myself was not actually a reflection of who I was; but instead a reflection of the quality of those relationships or maybe where the other person was at in their own journey.
This realization made me become more comfortable being my true self, despite any relational consequences this might have (being disliked, judged, etc.) and since then I have been able to foster more meaningful relationships with others that are formed from an honest, respectful and nurturing base, whilst honouring my true self and living an empowering authentic life. Even though it can still be challenging and painful to allow the vulnerability that enables this authenticity, there's no turning back for me now, and I don't have any regrets.