You get to Decide

Most of my life, I did not know my worth. I had a hard time believing in myself and attracting what I wanted into my life.

Deep down I knew I was meant for something big, I knew I had amazing gifts, but I was consumed with fear and doubt. Even if I could work up the courage to do something I knew I wanted and deserved, I often did something to sabotage it. Most of the time, without even knowing that I was.

When I first moved to New York City and could barely afford my rent, I signed up for an expensive acting workshop that I had to audition to attend and would give me the opportunity to meet well-known agents and casting directors. Since I couldn’t afford it, I had to put the whole thing on my credit card. I remember being nervous about it, but incredibly excited. So excited that I couldn’t sleep at night and butterflies had taken flight in my stomach. It was the kind of excitement you can feel flowing through you in such a way, it’s almost tangible.

When the day finally arrived, I woke up late, got caught up in meaningless chores and errands, and completely forgot that the workshop was even happening, well until after it was over. I called the studio desperately asking them to allow me to attend another one, but the answer was no.

Sound familiar?

I also had relationships that I now look back on and think, who was that girl? Who put up with all that crazy s***? It couldn’t have been me. Things are so different now, it’s hard to believe I ever went through what I did. But, I did. I used to be so desperate for someone to love me and so scared of someone I loved leaving me, that I attracted and stayed in very destructive relationships.

I fell for men that at first made me feel like a goddess. They would shower me with compliments that blew my mind. Here are some of my favorites: “You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen!” “You are the best sex I’ve ever had.” “I have never been more in love with anyone than I am with you.” The truth is, at the time, I needed someone to say those things to me, because I didn’t believe them about myself.

After being treated like a goddess, I felt adored and special. I became hooked, and they would start to show their true colors. I put up with totally unacceptable behavior.

I once kept dating someone even though I knew in my gut that he was cheating. I could never prove it, but I knew. Whenever I would question him about my instincts, he would say things to me like, “If you think that I could ever, ever do that to you… then I don’t think I can even be in this relationship anymore.” He would tell me that it was me and that I had a problem and couldn’t trust men. I would believe him and feel awful. I’d ask him forgiveness for doubting him.

I finally left him when I discovered that my instincts were right, and he had been cheating on me with countless women the entire 5 and a half years we were together.

After that I did a lot of work on myself and took time for intense self-reflection. I thought I was ready for real love. A few years later, I met someone else. This person was incredibly charming. He was my friend for years before we dated. I thought I really knew him.

When I started dating him though, things quickly changed. He became possessive, manipulative and volatile whenever he didn’t get his way. He would explode in fits of rage like I have never seen and then try to justify his behavior. He would twist words I said and not remember things he said. He had been my friend for so long, that the extreme change in his behavior was shocking and confusing. I wondered if I was crazy.

I was seeing a therapist at the time, and she empowered me with the knowledge that he was a narcissist. I didn’t even know that was a thing. I thought it was just a word to describe extremely self-absorbed people. But she gave me books to research and educate myself about it, and sure enough, he was a text book case of narcissistic personality disorder. I found actual quotes of things he would say to me, verbatim, in the book, listed as classic lines narcissists use on their “victims.” It was surreal reading words I thought were authentic of his in a book about narcissists. It made our love story less genuine, and I was able to start seeings things more clearly.

I could see who he truly was and I could see who I was being. I didn’t want to be that woman. I didn’t want to let myself be treated that way. So, one day, I worked up the courage to break up with him. I remember that it felt like an out of body experience, like something deep inside of me just took over. I was so calm and clear. I decided that I was never going to be treated like that again.

I never was.

I decided I was worth being treated with love and respect. I decided I was awesome, and that I deserved someone pretty awesome too.

I also started to shift my mindset about men. I realized that I had an underlying belief that men would hurt me. So I started to tell myself that men were good. I started to believe that good men existed. When I started believing, they started appearing.

I learned how that works in all areas of our lives. So, I started shifting my mindset about many things. Now, I work hard at believing in myself and what I’m capable of every day.

I’m not saying that I wake up every morning feeling amazing. But, I decide each day that I’m amazing. I recognize that I have the choice and the power to do that. If I have trouble deciding I’m amazing on a given day, I just do things to shift my mindset. I do things like my morning routine, my Active Affirmations, meditation, work with coaches, read self-help books, exercise when I don’t want to, stand up for myself even though I hate conflict, do nice things for myself like buy myself flowers, create time for things things I love, tell my inner critic to shut up, and surround myself with loving people who lift me up.

You get to decide too. You get to wake up each morning and decide that you’re amazing, because you are!

You get to decide to love yourself and accept yourself fully! You get to decide to know your worth, be in loving relationships, have a job that excites you, have friends that support you, and tenaciously go after your dreams. It’s a choice.

So, what are you waiting for?

Jessica Reitmyer