Once in a while I have times of retreat and reflection and healing, where I withdraw into myself and dive into my shadows to see what treasures hide beneath and to find myself again.
Lately during such a time I couldn't really find consolace in any of my usual guides, teachers or gurus. Instead I found comfort in watching some female hero movies.. something that I'd normally stay away from. I wondered why, and then it occurred to me, that in the latest part of my life I have embraced the archetype of the heroine.
It is a difficult role, and quite contrasting. On the one hand, you are never alone, you have a crowd of people cheering you up at all times, who love you deeply, indeed they deem you their saviour, their angel, a miracle in their life. You are their hope, their life, their lighthouse in the darkness.
On the other hand, when evil comes, you're on your own fighting it. Everyone expects you to take solo the battle, no-body will come with you and face the darkness. This contrast creates a bitter-sweet loneliness that I had grown accustomed to and used to.
The problem is, this role is not my authentic self. So why did I take it on? Growing up as the scapegoat in my family of origin, and taking large amounts of abuse, I had to find a way to fit into the role that was given to me, where I was expected to take on the emotional problems of my family, while at the same time tolerating high levels of pain without any help for myself. As intolerable as this was, embracing the archetype of the heroine not only made it seem more bearable, but it actually made my role seem somewhat important and convinced me I was strong enough to take it.
However, just like any inauthentic aspect, it came with a cost and payback. And this cost became very evident to me in recent times, as thousands of people started to expect me to solve their own darkest problems while giving little to nothing in return.
I worked really hard to keep up, working long straining hours for free, sacrificing my free time and my health, in order to try to reach out to to as many people as I could who screamed for help to me. I dove deeper into a hole of loneliness, where I expected myself to do it all while receiving nothing in return. It took me a wake up call and two of my friends to realize how incredibly unfair I was being towards myself, and to them.
Indeed by responding to every call, and by expecting nothing, I was feeding people's helplessness and irresponsibility while giving them the permission to treat me as an object, as their property, and giving the message that it is ok to treat my time and energy as something invaluable. By doing this I was attracting a lot of people who had no real intention of healing, who did not appreciate and work for my time and energy, and therefore did not value it and maximize its use in the best possible way. Instead I was giving people yet another excuse not to take responsibility for themselves and not to work for their own growth. All while ignoring and sacrificing people who instead might have greatly valued me and wanted to truly invest in growing, including myself.
Thanks to my friends I aligned myself with respecting my time and energy again. I started to prioritize my health and free time again. And I started to set boundaries for people who want to access my time and energy.
This is still a work in progress, but I believe I'm going in a better direction.