Excuse my book-themed title again. It's from "Advanced Witchcraft" by Ly De Angeles and is a quote I have been trying (with varied results) to live up to for years. It's not always easy and even these days, not perfect. But have this, from someone who thinks far too much:

For most of my life, I have let people tell me who I am and what to do. It's not as if the whole time I didn't think "hang on a minute, why exactly is this happening?", because I did. It really got on my nerves - but as we all know, knowing something to be true and actually doing something about it are two totally different things.

You're stuck in a bad relationship, except you're not really. Your friends point it out, all the countless things that are wrong with it. You know, but it's not something that we have the courage to change until it really hits us. You prioritise someone else's feelings over your own, because you're just that great a person - but it really cannot always work out that way. It rarely ever does. I think most of us are guilty of this; knowing a situation isn't quite how we want it to be and of course we can do something about it, but we don't until it really hits home that we're not being true to ourselves by allowing the situation to stay the same.

Have some fine examples of what I mean...

I had a friend once in school and throughout college, who everyone thought the world of. I really have no idea why. Back then, we were always together and would share everything, but the second we were in a group, I would literally be her shadow (it was fairly ironic, considering I was about a foot taller than her). I never had siblings, so really wanted that best-friend relationship and therefore ignored the fact that she most likely didn't really like me at all and everyone would actually physically look through me, not even seeing me, when she was around. I would speak and it was like I did. not. exist. In brief, she stopped talking to me because she found people who would put up with her and were better for her image at university. She was a narcissist. One day, I asked myself why I was giving my time and energy trying to be there for someone who didn't want to know. She did give me a drunken apology once, when her life was crashing down around her, but is that really good enough? Nope. Not for me and not for you. It's a toxic kind of relationship to have in your life, a one-sided one.

One other "friend" decided that because I wasn't willing to go out all the time and come to his house, be his girlfriend, conform to every single idea he had, I was bad news. Nothing I ever did was good enough. News; they're not good enough for you.

A recent relationship that I ended was so painfully one-sided that it left me ill. Stress and worry can make you physically sick. It's not an urban myth. Instead of drinking myself silly, trying to travel as far away as I can to forget, or hurting myself, I just realised that none of it helps. Not one bit.

Not one cut, one drink, one sunset, is going to help you escape from yourself. You are in your head, whether you like that or not. It's your responsibility to be honest to yourself first, about the things that scare you. Never mind if two different people are trying to pull you in five different directions, what do you want? What do you actually want? Without asking yourself that, you are walking in the shadow of the people who might not have your best interests at heart.

Taking care of yourself starts with being honest, so the world can wait. If you make yourself light, you'll never walk in anyone else's shadow again.

Published by Tiffany Mitchell