Why couldn’t I just say it? “I talk to… ghosts?” Were they ghosts? I didn’t even know. It wasn’t that I was ashamed to say it, it was that I was afraid. And the more I recognized the fear, the more I realized how much fear had been running my life. I was afraid of what people might think, especially the people that were in charge of granting me my Graduate degree in counseling at the time… You tend not to say things like that around folks in charge. And when you are an empath who struggles with self-acceptance and using your voice, you tend not to say things like that at all for fear of the glances you might receive.

The month my Mediumship abilities blew wide open was the same month the chronic infections started. For years I didn’t tell anyone that entities were visiting me almost nightly. I was afraid. The infections and the fear and lack of sleep wreaked havoc on my life. Until I found a Spiritual Healer for help, learned I was a Medium, learned I was in control, and shut that all down. I didn’t want to be a Medium, I didn’t want to talk to Spirit. I just wanted to live a normal life. Oddly enough, when I shut down my abilities, my infections disappeared immediately. I didn’t give it much thought at the time, I was just happy to be free from both. And yet, normal life felt like something was missing. I still felt like I didn’t belong and there was a gnawing at my heart not to abandon my gifts, not to continue living disconnected in this way. And so I would spend the next six years shedding pieces of myself; letting go of everything I thought I knew in order to remember who I was and what I wanted so that I could live the very opposite of normal.

And when I was ready, my abilities came back. But with them, so did my infections. I couldn’t understand why this was happening, but I finally realized they were connected. I realized they were both messengers; Spirit and Symptoms. I made a decision to stop running, surrender, and deeply listen. The underlying message was that I had to stop abandoning myself. I had to learn to truly accept myself, and to use my voice. I had to learn that my sensitive nature was in fact a strength and I had to learn to honor that strength. It was time to stop overriding my body and my soul. It was time to take big steps in reclaiming my power: I was going on a self-acceptance journey!

I had this brilliant idea in my head that when I could finally say out loud to other humans that I was, in fact, a Medium, I would have reached a level of self-acceptance that would allow me to kick back and cruise in self-love mode. My infections would go away and I would have achieved the goal: I was totally comfortable with who I was. Only, that didn’t happen. Instead, the first time I said out loud to a close family member that I was a Medium, I had a panic attack… This was not going to be as easy as I thought. I cautiously kept at it, slowly sharing with safe family and friends that, yes, I could see the deceased, and I talked to Angels. Mostly everyone was open to it and supportive, but I couldn’t understand why I was still battling infection after infection. I was becoming discouraged and irritated with Spirit; here I was doing the work, holding up my end of the bargain, owning my story, committing to my purpose but I wasn’t getting any better. When I peeled back the layers I realized underneath I was still really afraid. I was worried what others were thinking or saying about me being a Medium. I was withholding my truth based on whose presence I was in. I was still searching for external validation and acceptance. And don’t get me wrong, it’s ok to want to be accepted by people around us, it’s human nature. It can become problematic when we need that validation in order to accept ourselves. *Cue actual, much more difficult self-acceptance journey*

As sensitives and empaths, we are no strangers to needing to know what others are feeling, doing, and thinking at all times. From a young age we became accustomed to managing others energy and emotions in order to feel safe; hypervigilant of the slightest shift in energy around us. But the thing is, there is no way to control what others are thinking or doing, it’s impossible. And we give up a piece of ourselves when we shrink and contort who we are and what we say just to make others feel comfortable. It’s a false control and we will always be left in the same spot: completely and utterly exhausted.

What I have learned along the way is that self acceptance must come from an inner place of love, not from external validations, not from subtle aggressions towards ourselves in the form of constant achievements. Because like a house of cards, when it falls, you will still be left with yourself. And if you relied on those accolades, those titles, those external validations, for your worth and love, you will be left feeling empty.

If you are starting from scratch with this whole self-acceptance thing, as I was, give yourself a whole ton of grace and start small. When we have spent a lifetime shrinking ourselves and making ourselves agreeable, it can feel incredibly terrifying when we actually start to show up as ourselves, state our needs, and speak our truth. Show yourself kindness and compassion. Go for small wins and let go of perfection. Know there will be endless bumps in the road but every step toward self-acceptance is a step back home to yourself.

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