My light has always burned brightly.
A coworker once told me, “When you walk into a room, you shine a light on everyone around you. This causes some people to lash out, because you strive to be better, you make change effortlessly, and you bring others along with you. They don’t want to look that nakedly at themselves, so they try to tear you down. Don’t let them dim your light - the world needs you.”
While I deeply value his kind words and the intention behind them, I couldn't help but think, “What role am I playing in this drama?”
From as early as I can remember, I’ve believed that I can learn to conquer anything. However, my misunderstood martyr complex from growing up in a family with alcoholism and other addiction issues has allowed the thoughts, feelings, and beliefs of others creep in and overpower my own.
As someone who loves to help heal those around me, I’ve subconsciously inserted myself into other people's problems, causing negative reactions. I would then internalize those reactions, and allow them to silence my voice, suppress my fire, and leave me in distress. This often lead to emotional outbursts and deep depressions, disguised by an outward smile and a mask of perfection, which I wore like a heavy suit of armor to keep anyone who might hurt me at arm’s length.
When I first discovered my struggle with codependency and my tendency to be a misunderstood martyr, I was incredibly frustrated with the judgment that came from others. Martyrs can be put down, eye-rolled and snickered at. We're seen as melodramatic, self-imposed victims who are destructive in home and work environments.
I wondered why there was no acknowledgement of the real suffering and struggle that I went through as a martyr. You see, I was addicted to finding my worth in others. At that point, I was still looking outside of myself for the solutions to my unintentionally self-inflicted pain. For me, the acknowledgement came through self-acceptance, a little humor, and unconditional self-love that I still work on every day.
As I moved toward understanding my misunderstood martyr label, I found that I was critical enough of myself – others’ judgments were flawed and completely unhelpful, and therapists’ suggestions to make it better were largely educational, but not sufficient. I didn’t want anyone else to “fix” me, just like I didn’t want to try to fix others anymore.
Instead, I needed to find my own strength and channel my power into being a better, healthier version of myself. I couldn’t continue to be who I thought I had to for my family, boyfriend, friends, coworkers, bosses, or anyone else. I found my sovereign soul; my inner empire for me to rule with absolute authority, confidence, and joy. I now know that I have complete control of processing my emotions, taking responsibility for my choices, and loving myself deeply regardless of what others say, do, think, or feel. Now that is power!
n. A supreme ruler, especially a monarch
adj. Possessing supreme or ultimate power
I’ve walked this path, and still do, when I’m triggered by certain situations. If you’re looking for a judgment-free guide to help you navigate your own path to personal freedom and help you get out of your own way, look no further.
Are you ready to change your story?
If so, I invite you to step into your own light, and change your label from Misunderstood Martyr to Sovereign Soul, allowing it to shine brightly in this world.
Stephanie Myer | The Martyr Coach
What coaching can do for you: Clarify your Core Values; Value and Life Alignment; Create your "Sovereign Soul" (Who I am at my core), "Pathway" (How I reconnect with myself when I'm off track), and "Legacy" (What is my purpose in life) Statements; Career Transformation; Personal Breakthrough; Leadership Transformation.