“We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” -E. E. Cummings
I don’t know about you, but this feels true for me.
I came to Peru the first time in 1995 and even wanted to stay. I tried so hard to convince my father to let me stay for at least a year, but he wasn’t going for it. I still had one semester of university left and he wanted me to finish. After that, it was up to me. When I look back on this, I realize, it was so easy for me to separate from him precisely because he was there. He was a safety net. If it all went pear shaped, I had someone to catch me.
I was a very independent person from an early age. Even though I lost my mom when I was only 11, my dad and I were very close. He traveled for work, so we often only saw each other on weekends, but I never felt he was ever really that far away. If I needed him, he was always there.
This shaped how I saw myself, too. He believed in me, so I believed in me. I was secure and free to take risks. I traveled, I moved away from home and tried on 9 different cities for size to see where I might belong. In the end, I moved home because my father became gravely ill and passed away. Two weeks later I lost my grandmother and that was the end of my family as I had known it. I was 27.
I was 27 and suddenly didn’t have that external safety net and I found that I maybe didn’t know myself as well as I thought I did. Did I want to get married and have kids or was that what they wanted for me? Did I want to stay in Louisville, my hometown, or explore the world? I stayed in Louisville for 9 years waiting for someone who would want to join me in my world travel adventures. At 37, the age my mother was when she passed, I decided that I needed to get my act together and live the life I wanted to live and stop waiting for the right person to come along to share it. That path led me back to Peru after 16 years. It was one of the places I had been happiest and I wanted that again.
If I’m honest, I was waiting to get married so I could see myself through someone’s eyes again. I held myself back a bit in relationships so that I could connect truly and deeply with one person. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out as well as I had hoped. And I find myself, again, looking. Hoping to have that safety net and that ability to feel safe so I can explore.
Many will say you need to find that confidence from within, but I think some of us are just wired to be connected to others. Not codependent, but truly connected. Sharing energy and purpose. Feeding each other energetically and reciprocally. I think as humans, the more we connect, the more peaceful we are. And couldn’t we all use a bit more peace these days?
Jo Self is Peru’s only Gallup Certified Strengths Coach and is on a mission to disrupt the status quo and raise a Strengths-Based Generation. She believes in a world where everyone can live to their full potential, talents aren’t wasted & happiness is contagious. As a mompreneur & expat living in Peru, she understands the challenges and rewards that both entail. When she’s not helping others create extraordinary lives, she can be found at the sewing machine, at the movies, enjoying a glass of wine with friends or horsing around with her terribly precocious little boy, affectionately known as O. http://joself.consulting or firstname.lastname@example.org