I am a carefree five-year-old when it happens. I am visiting a friend’s house, a friend that lived just down the street. My friend’s father takes me onto his lap, places a blanket over us and he proceeds to molest me. This happens several times over the course of the next few months and although I don’t realize what he is doing, something shifts in my mind and heart.
I start to believe the world is a dangerous place where I have to protect myself, where I have to always live on guard. Being me is not OK. It’s not safe, and so I have to hide. To play small. To try and be invisible. I believe I am to blame and I don’t want people to know about my shame — not for 20 years do I tell a soul.
From then on, I live with my guard up and learn to be fiercely independent — to trust no one. I tell myself the story that the world isn’t safe, and from five years old on, I silence my voice, bury my pain, and close my heart. By the time I’m in my 20s, I’m so used to living in a numb state, it feels normal.
I’m 27 years old, and I get married to a man I believe is the love of my life. My life seems to finally be coming together now that I have someone. I start to believe that there are safety and love in this world.
We have three beautiful children together and there are good times. But the bad times are too painful to bear. There’s too much anger, so much conflict. I feel so much fear. I walk on eggshells. I don’t know what to do. I am so confused. I can’t fix it. I come to see love as pain. My heart closes further.
I turn 40 and we’ve moved to New York. I’m writing books now, to generate extra income. One evening my husband and I are fighting. Things escalate. I just want to sink into the floor. I feel that familiar panic in my chest. I’m terrified. I’d rather die than stay married. I do something I have never done: I consider divorce. I consider breaking my vow. I feel so much shame for wanting to give up. Even so, I know I have to. But with no job, no income, living in a new place, and with my family thousands of miles away, the odds are against me.
Still, that night I pray that someone will help me…. anyone...
The next morning, miracles start to happen. My sister who lives in Utah tells me she has a place available for me. I sell lots of books and have income that can get me from New York to Utah. My husband says I can take the children and move.
Once settled in Utah, I think life will be great. And it is for a while. For as long as the money lasts. I fight my way through a high-conflict divorce, tens of thousands of dollars in lawyer fees. I try to remain strong through it all, but I slowly spiral downward.
Once the divorce is finalized, things are good for a while. I can rely on myself. I can create my own reality! I don’t need a man! Not anyone! All I want is to make money, lots of money, believing that will make me happy. Believing it will set me free. Believing it will fill the hole in my heart, that it will somehow make me feel safe again, confident again, worthy again.
I throw myself into writing my books. But I don’t sell any books at all and soon I find myself having to sell my car just to pay my bills and then have to go on welfare.
Loneliness sets in. Being a single mother is hard. I decide to date again and I fall in love with a wonderful man. This time it feels different. I feel genuinely happy. I feel safe. I feel cherished. And I start to believe in love again. A few months later, I find myself not feeling worthy of the amazing man I’m seeing, of a healthy relationship. I start to feel unworthy of love. Love can’t be this easy. And I am unworthy of something beautiful. It feels too good. It can’t be real. I buy into my fears. I believe I’m not good enough. And the relationship ends.
This is when I hit rock bottom and feel so depressed, so hopeless, so weak, that I don’t know how I’ll find the strength to go on. I don’t feel I deserve love, money… don’t deserve the life I want. I’ve done all I can. Nothing works. I’m incapable of fixing my life. I’m single, broke, jobless, so confused about everything and I have no idea what to do. But what’s the most painful is that I feel like a failure, that I’m not enough. I close up even further. My heart so shuts down that I’m numb to my core.
For several months, it’s pitch black all around me. I feel like I’m living in hell. I’m not even alive. I numb. I cry. I can’t go on. It’s too dark.
So very black everywhere.
That’s when I start to notice there’s a light inside me. A small, dim light, so faint, I hardly even notice it. What is it? Perhaps a voice? It feels safe. Beautiful. True. It feels like a long lost part of me. It reminds me of when I felt innocent… happy… loved. So very loved. The light feels like my heart. Yes, my heart. The heart that gave me pure joy. The heart that hadn’t a care in the world. The heart that was me at my very core.
Oh, how I long for my heart.
And a thought comes to me. “Maybe the solution isn’t to close my heart. Maybe it’s to listen to it. Maybe protecting myself isn’t the answer. Maybe playing small and erasing myself isn’t the way.”
That’s the day that I start to turn inward and listen to my heart. That’s the day I start taking my inner voice seriously. That’s the day I begin to search for the answers in the only place they are. It’s so scary because I’ve lived my entire life building a wall around my heart. But I choose to be brave. I start to meditate and read, start to listen, to open myself and witness my light.
During one meditation on the couch, the process takes me back to when I was five years old. In my mind I see my father’s friend pulling me up onto his lap, but instead of feeling shame and pain, now I see the truth. I see that this man was mentally ill, a perpetrator who took advantage of my innocence. My experience of it was that I should feel ashamed, that I needed to protect myself from life and close up my heart, that I always needed to live on guard and erase myself.
I realize that it wasn’t my fault. I don’t need to feel ashamed. I begin to understand that I haven’t fully lived since I was five. I lived guardedly. At five, I stopped the flow of the things I so desperately needed: unconditional love and connection. I hid my light. I betrayed myself.
In this meditation, I realize that I am enough and I don’t need to protect myself from people. I don’t need to silence my voice. I don’t need to numb my heart and live in fear.
I don’t need to fear my greatness.
The moment I realize this, my heart cracks wide open. I sob like a baby, and it’s like all the love I’ve been denying myself for decades, enters my heart at once. The tears are running down my cheeks, but they’re not tears of sadness. They’re tears of joy. Tears of freedom. Tears of love. It feels like a million pounds of unworthiness just falls off my shoulders. And I am finally able to feel the peace, the joy, the love, and the freedom I’ve been yearning for. I am finally able to believe in unconditional love again and that I am enough. I realize it’s OK to shine. It’s OK to be me. In fact, I have this light that shines like the sun and I’m no longer going to hide it.
Since that day, I have been able to love myself unconditionally. I live with an open heart instead of a closed one. I give myself 100% permission to live in my authenticity and to shine my light so I can help others. I work on myself every day to become better, to serve better, and to love more.
My life is very different than before. I’m not worried about paying my bills anymore. I live in abundance instead of poverty. I have deeper connections with my friends and family now more than ever. I travel more than I ever have, which is my passion. I’m just wrapping up my Bachelor’s degree in psychology, something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time but never allowed myself to do. I feel so fulfilled, I can’t help but let my inner abundance flow out to others. Now I’m doing something I love: helping women transform their lives. And best of all, I live with an open heart and don’t play small.
I live in my brightness!
Maybe the path you’re traveling on is dark and painful. Maybe you have forgotten what real love feels like. Maybe you have given up on the life you really wanted. Maybe you have closed your heart and dimmed your light. Maybe you live to protect yourself instead of shine.
When you live with an open heart, when you embrace unconditional love, when you find your authenticity, your relationships change. Your career changes. Your life changes. Your family dynamics change. Life becomes the heaven on earth you always hoped would be your reality.
It is my life’s mission to help people discover their authenticity, to uplevel their beliefs, and to transform fear to love and faith so they can live epically fulfilling lives.
Do you feel unworthy?
Do you live small?
Do you hide your light?
Have you settled?
Do you live with a closed heart?
Do you live defensively and in fear?
Do you have low confidence?
Do you yearn to believe in yourself?
Are you betraying yourself to please others?
I believe you have an amazing life ahead of you. I believe in the immensity of your soul. I believe you have wonderful dreams to manifest. I believe in your greatness.
You are beautiful.
You are enough.
You are loved.
Here’s to your very own breakthrough. ❤️
I love you,