Speaker-Author-Empowerment Coach Phyllis Avery shares her story of self-discovery that followed the devastating loss of her father. She uses her life lesson to help others stay true to themselves. Avery is a contributing author to the book Emotional Wellness for Women Volume III. Her BLISS principles help people find happiness by no longer comparing themselves to others.
“What you think of me is none of my business. What is most important is what I think about myself.”
~Dr. Wayne Dyer
In 2007, I lost my father. I had always wondered how it felt to lose the person that you loved the most. I had heard stories of indescribable, inconsolable grief but had never experienced it. My daddy was the love of my life, my hero, my cheerleader, he was the man whose opinion I most solicited and respected. His unexpected death on the morning of February 25th brought about a time of introspection and self-reflection for me. As I thought about the life that I had lived as an adult I realized that the unbearable loss that I felt was not the worse that I had experienced. No, the most profound loss that I had experienced was the loss of self.
I had become so preoccupied with the expectations, needs, wants, and desires of others and just fitting in that I did not know or even recognize when the “real me” left the building. Women oftentimes confuse the roles they play in their day-to-day lives with labels that they mistake for being “self.” It is very easy to test this theory just call up one of your girlfriends, sisters or mothers and ask them to define themselves. You will hear responses like: I am a teacher, I am a mother, I am a sister, I am a friend etc. Some of the women that you speak to may define themselves by the cars that they drive, or the houses in which they live.
As young boys men are taught to be aggressive and to take action to get what they want. On the other hand women are taught to be quiet, be small, behave and not cause any problems or make any waves.
I overcame by beginning to live authentically. How do you live authentically?
Stop basing your self worth on how much you do for other people. It is one thing to want to help others, but you should do it because you want to do it, not because you feel like it is something that you should do because you have to or because you don’t want to disappoint another person.
Learn to trust your own actions and choices and know they are the right ones for you in your life. Yes, some people won’t like it and will probably leave your life. Those people were only there for a season anyway. A few will honor you and the truth you live, understanding that putting yourself first is necessary if you’re going to be available to them on a deeper level.
As you put this into practice, you will believe more and more that what other people think about you is none of your business.