A year ago, I found myself defeated on the platform. I was at a competition where I thought for sure I had my goal within reach. That this goal I had in my head was just minutes away without any more work to be done. The past few months leading up to it I kept pretending everything was going according to plan. Yet—foolishly—I believed that my body alone would take me there.
Then, I failed. Day one I fell short of my aim by 12 reps. I had already given up on making up the difference by the time I stepped on the platform on Day 2 for my second event. Both lifts were below my personal bests. The weight of it was just so heavy. It was only after physical failure that I began to acknowledge something failing deep in my heart. That I had been battling depression, anxiety and the unrelenting pressure to do something expected of me. It took the weight of the bells falling out of my arms to recognize the mental battle I had been quietly fighting and I was about lose everything if I didn’t face the truth.
One simple truth: I was harming myself.
I was hurting, but I was hiding it because I thought it was the only option. Why was I doing it? It came down to my natural tendency to please others, to never say no and my instincts as an empath to take on everything that didn’t belong to me.
I was harming myself with this truth: I was living someone else’s path.
Every day for almost a year prior I was constantly doubting myself and crippled with the fear of needing to perform. I had to sacrifice my voice in order to show my loyalty. I had to show up and give everything I had in me thinking it meant I would be more valued. Yet, everything was taken from me and then questioned why I wasn’t giving more. It was then, when I had nothing, that I understood I was no longer living to follow the path I had dreamed for myself, but to follow someone else’s.
I was at an absolute breaking point. It was then that I had to walk away. I walked away from those who supported and suppressed me alike. For the sake of my happiness and well being and what little voice I had left. When I walked away I was painted as a traitor and treated as an outsider for trying to protect my well being. It hurt. I felt abandoned. But in the absence of it all, I began to find that there was room for healing. There was space for me to be myself again. To see the light again instead of the dark.
It’s been a year since that day on the platform. I stepped away from that moment and have grown in many ways. I learned to set boundaries. I protected myself and only gave energy to those who gave me positive energy back. Those who remained supportive were the ones who truly saw my worth and I appreciate them deeply for that.
So today, after a year has past, my voice has started to return. To grow. I found my place where I am seen. Where my voice matters. I can now fully show up for those who truly need me most because I made space to show up for myself.
Ask yourself, are you living your own path?