Jen Jeffrey

Jen Jeffrey

 
March 03 2015

Ownership Has Its Privileges

Jen Jeffrey

 

We are so afraid to own our place in life for fear of what others might think of us. Oddly, the very people we are afraid to bare our soul to usually are usually the people w don’t need in our lives. How many women feel they are only surviving? How many women have made poor choices and feel they are stuck where they are? These are the lies women who have become empowered want to shed light on so other women can taste life at its fullest too.

To be encumbered by our past, by our mistakes and by the toxicity surrounding us is not living – it is merely existing. I come from a broken family, my parents divorced when I was six. I was the youngest of four sisters. Growing up, I was the baby who must be guided. The women in my family didn’t mean to set my path in life this way, but it happened.

“Little Jenny, do it this way, do it that way…” By the time I was thirty and struggling as a single mother with three sons, I decided I was grown up enough to make my own decisions. The first assertiveness I displayed took my family by surprise. They wondered what was “wrong with me.” They eventually accepted my thinking for myself but I still felt the need to prove to them I was an adult. In striving for my independence, I made wrong turns. I wouldn’t learn why I made those wrong turns until well into my forties.

My first husband and I were way too young to even know what a helpmate was or who we were as individuals, much less as a couple. I had not created an identity for myself at 18 years old. Marrying and starting a family were the only aspirations I had. This marriage inevitably ended in divorce.

Later, I married a second time to a controlling man who was considerably older than me. He was the first man I fell in love with. This relationship came at a time when I had a need for help raising my teenage sons.

I had no idea how to own my part in this relationship. Outwardly, I could see what I thought caused the problems. I saw the problems, but I did not want another divorce so I put up with mistreatment. I allowed these problems to happen, but I didn’t know how to own that.

After my family and friends intervened they helped me see I was not in a healthy relationship. I found the courage to leave. It was a difficult decision because I felt I could not make it on my own. It was going to be hard and I risked losing everything. I did lose everything but that was also when my life began. After years of becoming spineless from all the belittling and abusive behavior, I didn’t think much of myself.

I had to learn to own my part of the failed relationship, though it seemed obvious to everyone who was “the problem.” I found that I too was part of the problem in allowing the first incident of disrespect. I allowed myself to be talked down to. I didn’t believe in myself. As much as I claimed to be a Christian, I did not draw on the resources of my faith. I said I trusted God, yet I kept striving, believing I had to have a man in my life or someone to help me survive in this world.

I had victimized myself. I had convinced myself everything was stacked against me. My parents were divorced, I didn’t finish my education, I had married young and was trying to raise my kids alone. I could not find my role in life. My divorce was very painful. I learned I had to heal. I had to own that what I did and what I did not do was what put me in that position.

After my divorce, I made sure to eat right, be active and get enough sleep to build a strong foundation for healing my mind, body and spirit. There was no room for foreign chemicals in my body. I ditched the anti-depressants with a doctor’s help. This may not be good for someone who really needs medications but it was good for me. I found my body was more resilient than I knew. My body and mind became healthy again with proper foods and activity.

I learned little by little more ways to be assertive. I learned to say no and that I could still be kind. I learned not to place value on my self-worth simply based on what others thought of me. I allowed those who were not good in my life to leave, knowing my life will go on without them. I surrounded myself with positive reinforcements. I had a job I really wanted. People around me encouraged and lifted me up.

I created my identity by going for what was important to me. I trusted that God would provide, no matter how hard it was. If I didn’t see the answers in front of me, I still trusted. I surrendered to Him and that was when my life became easy.

I no longer struggled for control. I trusted that whatever happened, things would still be okay. I listened to my small, quiet inner voice. I set boundaries that were good for me. After quite a few years of healing, I acquired wisdom. I had made a life for myself without the help of a man. I was not bitter toward men but I learned some men were not good for me. I was better alone than to be with someone who didn’t respect me. I learned not to just survive, but to really enjoy my life. I learned that when a woman is truly living – it is then she attracts the right kind of man.

I was a woman who is happy in her life and not looking to be rescued. I became confident in myself. Toxic people cannot be around a strong, happy woman because they cannot manipulate or control her. They will fade away from her life. Positive people who appreciate what a woman has to offer will stay in her life.

Owning the past, the pain and mistakes of what made me a victim was the first step toward freedom. The rest was work, but it got easier and I became stronger. I am now happily married to a man who truly loves and appreciates me. I also own and operate my own horse boarding business.

 

Jen Jeffrey