As far as reinventing yourself goes, the above photo is proof that it can be done.
I got that beautiful card in the mail three weeks ago from Amy, a reader who you may know from her comments here on the blog – many of which, I have personally turned to during tough times. I love all of the comments, messages, and letters I get from all of you, all around the world. I photographed this particular card because it’s a really beautiful and tangible affirmation that reinventing yourself and your life can be done at any time – on both your end and mine.
I never thought that anyone would ever want to connect with me on any level, let alone be inspired by me in any way. I had nothing to offer except an open invitation for toxic people to doormat me, which repelled the very people, opportunities, and relationships I claimed to want more than anything (a functional one with myself being at the top of that list).
Reinventing yourself? Yeah, right. I hated myself to the core.
I was a total overcompensating, diseased to please, and insecure mess.
Up until a few years ago, I didn’t understand why I was even here. I had no purpose, no true friends, no money, and no direction. I never felt like I had any real passion, success, or substance. Because of this, I had no self-respect.
And because I had no self-respect, my social anxiety hit a point where even the simplest interactions would make me start to sweat, get incredibly paranoid, and replay everything in my head over and over.
I had dutifully picked up right where the pain of my childhood left off. Because of this, I started to equate people needing me with them wanting to be with me.
Needing is so much easier for the emotionally impaired because it’s predictable. Wanting requires the scariest risk of them all: Vulnerability.
And although vulnerability is the purest form of strength, if you suffer from low self-esteem, it will always be a gamble that you can’t afford.
All I wanted was for someone to hug me and tell me that I wasn’t as forgettable and defective as I felt. I just wanted someone to tell me that everything was going to be okay and that I was loved.
The people in my life who genuinely said those things, I didn’t believe or respect. And the ones who gave it to me in doses that would make an eyedropper seem like a power hose… I gravitated toward, respected, and did everything to please.
Until they inevitably, spit me out after chewing me up.
How was this all happening to me AGAIN? And if I started off broken, how was I even more broken NOW?
I didn’t know how to cut contact with the most toxic relationship of all – the one I had with myself.
I needed a reinvention.
When it comes to knowing how to reinvent yourself…
The only way I ever really reinvented myself in the past was in my relationships. I would take on a role that was comprised of physically, aesthetically, and emotionally “fitting” and superficially accommodating to whoever I was with.
My hobbies, interests, habits, opinions, and style would be altered in some way to cater to the identity of someone who I needed the association with to feel significant.
It sounds really pathetic and sad because it is.
In fact, I took on a different role in every relationship. I did this with different friend groups, with school, grandparents, parents of friends, work… everything but my dog. There was no need to take on an identity with my dog. The relationship that we have with animals is sacred. It’s always pure because it’s exclusively spoken in the most universal and intimate language known to man: Action. This is why dogs are referred to as “man’s best friend.”
I think that reinventing yourself relationally is something that we all do to an extent. It can be fun until it becomes a problem. Adding a false identity to an already missing one is like putting lipstick on a pig. You’ll always feel like a phony.
The key to reinventing yourself isn’t hard and it doesn’t involve any crazy steps. It’s all about your level of hunger to reinvent, your willingness to identify, and the level of belief you have in your innate ability to unsubscribe from your own bullsh*t.
There are so many pointers out there for reinventing yourself: “get out of your comfort zone,” “time management,” “wake up earlier,” “make lists,” “learn from defeat,” “do something that scares you every day,” and so on.
I’ve reinvented myself relationally more times than I can count. I’ve reinvented myself scholastically and professionally so.many.times it’s insane. I’ve gone from barely being able to pay my bills in jobs I hated to doing something that I love. I’ve gone from feeling totally pointless, unnecessary, and worthless to receiving messages like the one pictured above. Today, I respect myself and the confidence that I feel is no longer conditional.
It’s not that I never feel insecure. It’s that the security I feel in knowing that I will always have my own back helps deactivate the normal triggers that WE ALL have.
It’s about reinventing yourself in the only way that will ever count. This way is much easier than any other program or guide, but it’s rarely executed because it’s a lot scarier than time-management or setting your alarm an hour earlier every morning.
I used to be convinced that before I could reinvent, I had to renovate. This belief is basically as pointless as going to get a defective car detailed before you drop it off at the junkyard.
Renovation is great and can be very beneficial. It’s appealing to most people because if you’re too scared to do the work, it’s basically avoidance wrapped in the cloak of progress. And while renovating is a positive thing, you can only renovate a home on shaky foundation enough times until you have to come to terms with the fact that everything needs to be taken down and rebuilt/reinvented.
Reinventing yourself is a habit. And your psyche will respect anything that you make habitual – even the bad. If you make a habit out of allowing your triggers to be your truth, your psyche will begin to respect those triggers at the expense of your destiny.
SAME goes for reinventing yourself. If you make a habit out of it, you’ll start to build self-respect.
The key to reinventing yourself and your life is nothing more than your story.
Before I reinvented myself, I had to first acknowledge my story.
The stories that we tell ourselves and choose to subscribe to are not only what shape our ability/inability to reinvent, but these stories are often our only hope for emotional survival.
Throughout my life, I don’t think that I was ever fully aware of what I was doing but looking back, it’s painfully clear. I had to tell myself a story and I had to choose to subscribe to that story in order to survive trauma, abandonment, and pain that my heart couldn’t make sense of.
I had a lot of un-dealt-with trauma. Most of which stemmed from pain in my childhood. The only way I could ever make sense of losing a loved one, a family member giving me conditional love, a boyfriend cheating on me, being bullied, a friend not choosing me, etc., was by telling myself that the reasons why the trauma occurred was because I wasn’t good enough.
I truly believed that I deserved the pain and abandonment – both from myself and others.
The key to reinventing yourself is identifying your story and understanding that we all tell ourselves and subscribe to these really dysfunctional stories. Not because we want to, but because we have to in order to survive.
The stories that we tell ourselves are all we have. They keep us going and they shape the way we view ourselves, the decisions we make, the people we attract/are attracted to, and our ability to evolve/reinvent ourselves.
At a certain point though, the stories get very old. We either become so worn down that we acquiesce to a lifetime subscription or, we realize that by continuing to subscribe to them, we are hurting ourselves more than anyone else ever has or ever will.
We realize that these subscriptions are disabling our innate ability to reinvent.
And if you can create that much pain, trust me when I say you can create limitless happiness and reinvent yourself beyond your wildest dreams. You can accomplish anything that you want in this life. It’s never too late to reinvent but you’ll never get there if you’re stuck in the minutia of renovation.
Identify your limiting stories and choose to unsubscribe from them. You’ll never regret it. The only thing you’ll ever look back on and regret is being a prisoner to a narrative that was more a reflection of other people’s dysfunction that it ever was one of your value.
Share your story with those who need to hear it. Not as a means to emotionally jerk off, but as a way to help others feel less alone and to solidify the uselessness of that subscription – on your end and theirs.
+ If you need further and more personalized help with your relationships, please look into working with me here.
Such lovely words as always.
I came off my white horse majorly this week. The paralysing embarrassment is killing me. Such a stupid knee jerk reaction.
Right now in finding it hard to see any happiness in me or life ahead. But my lovely dog does give me the courage to keep going. I just can’t see what I’m carrying on for though ?
It’s ok to come off your whit horse but as Natasha said – it’s here n waiting for u. So get on it and move! You are not alone in this! We r all here to back u.
Yes 🙂 Thanks Hemlan – I love seeing this love and support. xo
Yes, Helman! We are here for you, IJ!
I love that your dog gives you courage just like Natasha said ab that kind of action-based relationship!
Have you seen the post ab when you fall off the white horse!? It’s so kind and gentle and inspiring!
“How do you clean the mess you just made? Is there any hope of ever getting your power back?
Is there a way to fix this kind of conscious/under-a-spell subconscious f*ckup?
There is. And it’s simple. Here’s what to do…”
IJ, you haven’t ruined anything. If ANYthing, you’ve reinforced that you don’t want to feel this way again. Sometimes reinforcement pushes us through to our freedom!! When we’ve been a little stuck getting over someone or trying to make changes but our heart isn’t into it 100%…. an embarrassing slip up can be the catalyst to say NO MORE. We ALL make stupid knee jerk reactions. You’re human. You’re normal.
Embarrassment is very soon forgotten by the people who observed it and only remembered by the person who experienced it at their own expense. Let it go!!
So you made a mistake. Your future is asking you to put that aside and take hold of the new you. The new you does not feel shame ab getting off the white horse Bc she’s too busy setting one foot in the stirrup again. Your happiness is not dependent on this guy’s reaction (or non-reaction!) to you. What you’re “carrying on for” is YOU!! Bc you are worth it! Get that part right and you will find your purpose which opens your heart and life to so much joy and love. I’m saying all of this to myself btw. Preaching to the choir!
The reason you feel this way BTW… is Bc he is a fucktard. You wouldn’t feel paralyzing embarrassment if he were a normal kindhearted guy. You would feel cheek-flushed sheepish kindof adorable embarrassment. Whoever this guy is – he’s dead to you startingggg now! Once we cave that first time we think all is lost. It’s not and you have the strength to do this. I believe in you!
Thanks from the bottom of my heart. xo
I fell of mine for the 2nd time last Friday night. I’m so sick of people sending me screen shots of my ex’s FB posts. I tell them to stop, then another one does it. My ex is rebounding hard. He’s got the new girl doing all the same things we did, teaching her to ride, camping in “our” spot, anyway, I finally became enraged once again that night and unloaded on him through text messages. I now realize, thanks to Natasha, that I won’t do it again. I read her post about how he can’t suddenly, after leaving me, be capable of what it takes to be successful in a relationship and she is just a band aid. I read that to myself several times a day. I will be better than that. I love your response here. Take care.
You are carrying on because you have to – we need you, the world needs you, and you matter more than my words could ever even begin to express. You have no idea how many people you have helped and you have saved by having the courage to write what you did. You’ve allowed them (& myself), to feel less alone. And that is the greatest gift you could ever give. You MATTER. Forgive yourself and get right back on your white horse – she’s waiting.
You are loved, supported, believed in, understood, empathized with, needed, valued, and appreciated. Love you. xx
Thank you always for your words of wisdom and encouragement. The world is so much brighter with you in it?
RIGHT BACK AT YOU Julie 🙂 Thank you for shining that beautiful light of yours here and for being a part of this tribe. Love you soul sister. xo
Nicely written post as usual…My journey is a hard one with me trying my max to b best friend with reality. No i am not there still but i am no longer wat i used to b as well. I am no longer impulsive and my obsession to please him and act crazy to be heard or to get an explanation from him is no longer my priority. Whenever i start to feel triggered and my fears to lose control takes me i tell myself – talking is so cheap! i need to talk with my actions and stay on my white horse. Not easy but i am trying. I dunno if the person who has been reckless with my heart and who has never fail to disappoint me can see the changes coz he is shamelessly passive and nonreactive after triggering u but my gut tells me that he knows but too spineless to admit it and prefer to live in denial town with his elephantine ego! N strangely i care a hoot! He does try from time to time to manipulate me by playing the victim but i refuse to get baited. I talk politely, wish him all good n pretend not getting the hint. I was always scared of losing him. I have a problem when ppl abandon me. I make it my mission to get them back. Today i am at a point where i am not interested to make myself accepted. I would go bonkers, weeks back , if he goes MIA. I will lie if i say it doesnt affect me but i control my impulses and i live my life, in my lane and i am ready to accept watever the universe has concocted for me. If he has to get out of my life, so be it… i know one thing. It’s his lost not mine! He is emotionally, financially and watever else bankrupt not me and not having my unflinching support anymore, not having me worshiping him like before and more importantly not being able to guess and predict my reactions must b giving the a*hole insomnia…lol!
Thanks so much Hemlan – for sharing, for being a part of this tribe, and for just being the inspiration and light that you are. Love you 🙂 xo
Natasha, I thank you from the bottom of my black little heart. You have changed my life,. Seriously. I began to see life in a whole new light. My biggest issue is with my codependency and my narcissistic boyfriend. And I’m an Empath…nice, huh? I have, however, begun to see thru some of his little tricks, ha ha, and I am able to dodge some more of his attempts to use me or manipulate me. I totally understand the Gaslighting thing, and he noticed too, and it hasn’t happened much in the past couple months. Oh, did I mention I am a Psychology major at the University ( not actively, but it’s a goal) So I can see thru a lot of this. Now, I’m saving up so I can eventually move out. I really don’t want to break up with him cause I DO see a soft spot in him, I DO love him but I’m afraid it’s not mutual.
Thanks to you I have the knowledge and strength to get my life back where it should be. I also encourage others to read your posts, so maybe they, too, can become as strong as we.
Much love and thanks!! Sarah D.
Thank you so much for taking the time to share and for being a part of this tribe. I’m happy that the post helped 🙂 With or without the degree – You have a gift my friend, and I am so happy to know that you will use this incredible gift of yours to further help yourself (as I have) by helping others become more aware themselves. There isn’t anything that you can’t do. Thank you for shining your light here and just know that you are never, ever alone. All my love to you soul sis. xx
PS. Thank you for sharing my posts with others. It means the world to me.
I just want to thank you for being vulnerable and sharing the way you have felt most of your life, the same exact way I feel currently. And because of your bravery we are able to understand that these feelings are normal for people who have experienced traumatic family dysfunction in their childhood. You are slowly inspiring me to share my own story, but of course when I am ready. When I have healed some parts of me. I’m currently working with a therapist and doing inner child work seminars to better myself. Like you have in the past, I feel so embarrassed to be 31 years old with all these self love issues. It’s painful to feel like you don’t fit in. Only those going through it get it. Thank you sooooooo much from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for existing.??
You are stronger than you think. I hear it in your words and the way you say them. You’re doing inner child work seminars!? Good for you!! I don’t know anyone in my life who has been so brave to seek that out. We tend to brush all of that under the rug. We all have childhood wounds and it would benefit us so much to explore them and heal them. I think people who have experienced trauma (and explore and rise above) can also experience more healing, joy and peace than people with run of the mill dysfunction who never acknowledge it or deal with it. You are on a good path. Keep on!
I LOVE SEEING THIS KIND OF LOVE AND SUPPORT <3 Love you KP and Mildred. xoxo
I am in tears. Thank you for connecting with me and for having the courage to share. Don’t ever feel embarassed because you’re not alone in this at all. You are incredible.
It takes one to know one – Thank you for existing sister 🙂 xoxo
I’m in love with this post and would be re-reading it this week. I needed this Natasha, I’m on the path to reinventing my life and this is what I need. Thank you Natasha for showing that I’m not alone in this.This blog has been my life saver. I love this blog and I love you????
I love you too Denise! I’m so happy that the post helped 🙂 Thank you for your sisterhood, support, love, and thank you… for just being YOU. xo
Natasha, you are so endearing and inspiring! There’s just something about you…..and I think what it is (well, one of the things!) is you own your past without excuses. You are so honest, while being respectful (not bashing or calling out specific people), and also really humble. It makes you relatable and trustworthy, and your advice has way more impact Bc of it.
I love this card from Amy! It’s all so true, and she even took time to use different colored pens, how thoughtful and fun!
I had an epiphany with this post. I’ve been talking a big talk ab reinventing myself and thought I was attempting it, when what I’ve really been doing (wasting my time on /spinning in circles) is RENOVATING little rooms at a time hoping it would all add up. That explains the crazy and the exhaustion and the lack of joy and the feeling that this is a never-ending uphill project. You just saved me and others so much trouble, time and heartache by figuring out the difference. Genius!
The cracked foundation – I’ve been too scared to acknowledge! This: “avoidance wrapped in the cloak of progress” and this: “Reinventing yourself is a habit.”’ are game changers/ life changing!! And then the kicker: “At a certain point though, the stories get very old. We either become so worn down that we acquiesce to a lifetime subscription or… We realize that by continuing to subscribe to them, we are hurting ourselves more than anyone else ever has or ever will.” YES.
Lifetime subscription (Lifetime!!) OR the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of changing. I’m literally on the brink of choosing.
I was waiting for the list of things to DO per usual here! And then the article was over. But I scrolled back: “The key to reinventing yourself isn’t hard and it doesn’t involve any crazy steps. It’s all about your level of hunger to reinvent, your willingness to identify, and the level of belief you have in your innate ability to unsubscribe from your own bullsh*t “ and I was like damn she stayed true to her post. And I think I will write that down and read it every day. Love to you white horse warriors!
Right on KP!! Much love to you my friend. <3
Wow. Thank you thank you <3 That means everything to me. I agree with you - Amy's card is not only so heartfelt, loving, and thoughtful, but it's just as aesthetically beautiful (I love the different colored pens too).
YES! I did the same for many, many years. There's much more I want to say but I'm too amazed right now at how well you know me KP. I had to re-read your first paragraph a few times and I just know you know. That's all I can type right now without crying my eyes out. I really hope we can meet in person one day.
Thank you for being everything that you are and always were. Love you KP. x
Good God Natasha…read this in the airport while waiting to get on a flight and it made me feel like I’d boarded a rocket into outer space. So good, and for so many reasons!
The biggest (lie) story that I used to tell myself is that I was responsible for other people’s feelings. Believing that only gave me an excuse to indiscriminately people-please, care-take and behave every way except in a manner consistent with my own feelings. With disastrous results. And, leaving the bad outcomes aside, it was a ridiculous story because I never was (and will never be) powerful enough to control others’ feelings. No one is.
The truth is that real power is provided by our own vulnerability. And I can only hope to make vulnerability an unconscious habit one day.
I’m sorry for what you went through to learn these profound lessons but am happy you emerged stronger from those experiences and that you share that strength with all of us.
The first thing I always want to say is how much I love you Brandon. Person to person, human to human, I love you. I love you and I see you so clearly because I’ve been right there as far as carrying the burden/feeling responsible for how others feel/react/act. Seeing how much more aware you’ve become has been one of the greatest joys of my life – It’s allowed me to become even more aware of my own dysfunction as well as the fact that I am not (and was never) alone.
No need to ever be sorry – I am eternally grateful for everything that we have all been through because maybe without even a fraction of it, we wouldn’t have all gotten to connect. Your connection is one that I am grateful for every day. Love you.
This is truly me. I am in the process of acknowledging my story. Not an easy process by any means.
Thank you for this very enlightening post. Every word applies to me. I learn something every time you share a part of your experiences with this tribe. Thank you.
You are a gift and I support you. ????
Big hugs Linda. Miss you my dear. I hope you are doing well.
How’s life for you, lovely?
Happiness to you xx ?
Hello Vicki! I am hanging in there. Thank you. I hope all is well for you. ??
Your story – it’s a beautiful one. Even if you haven’t told it, it’s beautiful because it’s about you.
And we all know how beautiful you are….
Hi Lorelle. It nice to hear from you. Thank you for your kind words. Miss seeing you here and I hope all is well.
My story seems long and complicated but I hope it ends well. ???
It takes one to know one Linda. Thank you for being such a gift to me and us all. Thank you for being an angel in my life. I love you endlessly and my Mom says thank you for the birthday wishes 🙂 That meant so much to us. Love you! xo
????. You are welcome Natasha.
SO true about our connection to animals and children. Their purity and effortless ability to act with genuine intent is some of the most infectious and healing energy to be around.
Love the bit about renovating vs reinventing. We can get so caught up (read: distracted) with superficial renovations, wasting our precious time on things that don’t actually matter in an effort to avoid doing the real work of fixing our foundation. It’s all about the story we conjure up and repeat when faced with life’s inevitable setbacks, heartbreaks, and challenges. It’s why your mom’s word “storyologist” jumped out at me the second I read it – it’s what we ALL do whether we’re conscious of it or not.
I now firmly believe the more contradictions we learn to excise from our narratives, the more solid our foundation becomes. Sometimes it seems like the world wants us to buy into this belief that complexity and contradiction are somehow irresistibly sexy, alluring, mysterious; that simplicity is boring when in reality, simplicity is a rare achievement. I’m sure one of these days we’ll find the time for a 5 hour conversation about the stories we tell ourselves and how we tell them but for now I’ll just say thank you for what you do in this world. Love you so xx
So true Amy.. “I now firmly believe the more contradictions we learn to excise from our narratives, the more solid our foundation becomes”. Couldn’t agree more my friend.
YES! 🙂 Agreed. x
Crying too hard to respond in the kind of depth that I would like to.
Amy – I love you, I value you, I appreciate you, and you’ve got me always.
Thank you for your beautiful card and for being the family that we all, always wanted and never thought existed. XX
I’ve been opening your articles all day (at work, for shame) and they have slowly helped me stand up taller today. Your article on staying on that White Horse moved me to tears, which I haven’t experienced with writing in a very long time.
Thank you for standing up for yourself and then standing up for hundreds of thousands of us that are trying to do so as well.
I know that I will get out of my rut. I’m trying to send a text message to my emotionally unavailable man as I type this that I need a break, but I just can’t seem to do it. I’m not sure if today is the day, but I am damn sure that I am incredible and worth the world, and I thank you for telling all of us that. You are an inspiration and I look forward to reading/being pushed by your strong ass words, Natasha. Thank you again. and again. and fuck it, again.
This made me tear up. It was, is, and will always be my pleasure and honor to help in any way. You are loved, supported, valued, understood, and never alone. Keep coming back here to the blog and just know that if I can get through it, SO.CAN.YOU.
All my love to you soul sister. xx
Stories. Yes. Those chapters we re read again and again, because we don’t understand them.
The sections we pore over, because we are still trying to read between the lines as we are certain we have missed something.
But the stories of yesteryear, they don’t change. They are powerful though. And as destructive as they can be, they can also be rewritten to create healing and new journeys
Write down what you want your story to be. Throw out those old books and unsubscribe.
So beautiful, Natasha. I love this post.
I too have felt totally worthless. From this I have learnt:
Suicide doesn’t kill people.
Being lied to does.
Being used does.
Being ignored does.
Being taken advantage of does.
Being neglected does.
Being rejected does.
But I also know this. When you feel like there’s not enough love in the world, that you don’t belong here, that you are nothing, that you aren’t valued, worthless – that’s not true.
The lowest ebb is the turn of the tide. Always. I say this because I have been there and brokenness just shows you that your current story is all wrong. The broken pieces happen because the shell of your story breaks open, to set you free.
Get up. Walk away from those broken bits. Look for love, and love yourself. When you give up those stories, the characters in them magically disappear from your life too.
I used to be like a puppy in a window, hoping someone would walk past and pick me. That I would be chosen. Deemed good enough to be noticed. But, that never served me. It just left me rejected. I didn’t see at the time it was because I couldn’t even choose myself.
But now I choose. I decide. I’m not a puppy. I’m powerful in a compassionate way.
And I am so grateful for Natasha and the whole tribe here, because this is the space I learnt to be vulnerable in.
I stopped pretending in. I am grateful for all of it.
I found my voice here, and so much love.
So stories can be written and rewritten – discarded, changed and ended.
Be who you are. You’re enough. You are full of worth. So much worth, that you don’t die, even when part of you inside feels like it has.
Thank you Natasha, and to the whole tribe.
We have the most beautiful stories of all.
Love you xxxx
Lorelle – you are the true definition of a wonderful human being. Your empathy and love for others comes from a pure place inside your soul. Don’t ever change my dear friend. Your light shines bright and has been an inspiration for me throughout this painful journey. You and Natasha have given me more hope and strength than I ever thought I could have. Your words and pure honesty inspire me more than you will ever know. I really do hope the three of us can get together someday soon and just enjoy our time together talking and laughing. It will be something I won’t ever foget.
much love and respect my friend.
Thank you Vicki. I smiled when I saw your reply. Absolutely we would have a beautiful get together, can you imagine it? That’s something that could happen one day. ?? It would be unforgettable. ??
Your words are beautiful and I thank you for them. Xxx Much love to you xx
AND THIS IS WHY I trust you with my baby, this blog. I love and appreciate you endlessly Lorelle. This (and you) are pure magic. xx
Natasha, thank you but you gave me, and all of us, this amazing place.
You’re such a beautiful treasure. You change lives.
Xxx love ?
Love you <3 xx
I love you too Catherine! So happy that the post helped 🙂 I love your blog too!