There once was a girl who so loved the world, she wanted to make everyone happy in it… she loved her dolls, animals, and family whenever she could. She also had a wild and free spirit and loved to play hard with her brother and friends.
She was intuitive, so when she knew her parents weren’t happy, she often wanted to make things easier for them. She tuned into what that might be and listened carefully to their “Good girl!” praise and conditioning. She was naturally helpful and thoughtful, so would do small things to help her family, which was met of course with praise and compliments.
Whenever she had a moment where she didn’t feel like helping and was thinking of her own comfort or needs, she was quickly corrected “Don’t be so selfish!”. Her parent’s tone made her understand that she should feel some shame around being selfish.
She would visit her grandma on weekends. Her older brother didn’t have to go as often because he didn’t want to, and everyone understood he had plans with his friends.
The little girl learned once again that the plans she had been yearning for didn’t matter, that being loyal and selfless was the better way to be. He was being selfish but it was somehow different for him. Regardless, the little girl understood, her life was about pleasing others, and being selfish was not okay.
Later in life the little girl for all her good deeds and good intentions, found herself struggling with depression and exhausted from decades of trying to please all the people.
She had trained her husband, kids, and pets that she was their go-to and loved them so much she would take care of everything. She had so wanted to be a “good” wife, Mom, sister, daughter, friend, and pet owner and ran on the praise of hearing so. If anyone was ever unhappy though, she felt like a failure, and of course, someone was always unhappy about something.
One day, the little girl woke up exhausted and had a revelation.
Perhaps it wasn’t her job to take care of all the people or to make others happy. Perhaps they had some responsibility too.
Maybe, just maybe, what she wanted for her life mattered too. And in her head, she told everyone to ‘eff off’. She gave herself permission to rediscover that wild and free spirit. She googled the word “fun”.
She repeated at least 4 times a day for months after that, “No!” … and ..”…because I matter too!”.
To her surprise – everyone quickly readjusted to her new self-loving boundaries.
The world kept spinning.
At that moment she realized that she had always been enough, and the need to chase perfection or please others softened.
She smiled to herself, as she snuggled deeper into the comfort of her own skin.
And EVERYONE lived even more happily ever after.
By Joanna Peters
Sink deeper into what it means to fully choose yourself, in A Woman’s word by Joanna:
“Beautiful souls, our time to rise is now. But first we need to stop believing the lie that every other woman has it all together except us”.
Bombarded with unrealistic societal messages about what being successful as a woman looks like, A Woman’s Word is a compelling and refreshing confirmation that we all doubt ourselves, break down in tears, struggle with comparison and wonder if we are ‘enough’ at times.
Joanna Peters has had the honor of standing beside some seriously remarkable warriors on their healing journeys. Leveling the ‘secret shame’ playing field with no topic off-limits, she shares her first-hand account of nine women’s heartwarming, emotional, and empowering healing stories and their brave journeys from darkness to light. She shares their courageous and complicated stories in support of all women, so we can see ourselves in their struggle and find a way forward in our lives.
Too often, our journey to peace is compromised by trying to hide the fact that we are a human with flaws. Darkness is a part of everyone’s journey that needs a light shined through it to heal.
Follow Rosa’s heart-wrenching journey through teen addiction and homelessness, Sophia’s relatable struggle with perfectionism and anxiety in corporate while battling secret shame, or cry with Brenda as she fumbles through motherhood battling depression and devastating grief.
A Woman’s Word shares the raw and empowering true stories of nine brave women healing from the darkness of trauma that beckons and inspires healing, acceptance and self-love in us all.