There was a time when I feared that my true authentic self would cause harm to my relationships.
Hi Sister - I want to talk about a lie. A lie that so many of us women are carrying around, and it's quietly eating away at our ability to show up and be fully alive within our one precious life. I know this lie well, because I lived under it for so many years. It was this...
"If I take up too much space, if I shine too bright, if I'm too real or too much of myself - it will harm the people and relationships in my life. Somehow the full weight of who I am will be too much. My light will dim theirs, my shadows will make them uncomfortable."
The lie showed up in the gremlin voices that said things like...
Will my honest voice crush my marriage?
Can my partner really love and accept all of who I am? Like ALL of it?
If I take up all of the space that I need, will I still have a place in my family?
If I become every bit of who I want to be, can my friendships bare the weight of it?
If I bring my full self to the table, will my work relationships suffer?
This lie kept me small and hiding in my life. It convinced me that it was an either/or. I'd have to choose between being my whole authentic self, or disappointing others and risk the connections I so treasured. So like most of us that believe this lie - I chose what felt safer - I chose to hold back and hide out certain parts of myself. Then one day I woke up- standing right there in the middle of my life, wondering why I felt so alone, exhausted and disconnected.
I'd like to say it's been a dazzling awakening - but the truth is, it's been more like a down and dirty dog fight. It took some really hard life altering stuff to come in and knock me on my ass and wake me up - and even then, I fought it hard.
I craved to belong to myself again, to unapologetically own ALL of who I am - to take up space - to stand with myself and to feel loved for it, not in-spite of it. But the lie ran deep and long, so it's taken a lot of work to root it out.
And Sis - I believe this is true for so many of us. Because Shannon and I see it in the beautiful Soul Chicks that we have the honor of spending time with at our retreats. They walk through the door wanting to find their way back to themselves, to be all of who they are, but they're afraid it will mean having to make a selfish chose between themselves and their relationships - between themselves and the people they love.
Sister...this is an UGLY LIE!! Being more of yourself is never selfish...being more of who you are is your gift to this world. Being more of who you are, means you have more of your unique brand of wonderful to give to your relationships. Not only is it okay - it's your responsibility to give your whole self to this world. It needs ALL of you. That's why YOU are here.
Will being all of who you are be inconvenient and displeasing to some people....yes, sometimes. Will some people not like it and try to push you back into the role you filled for them...yep. But here's the thing...your true people might be a little confused at first, but they'll get the hang of it, and they'll end up celebrating the fact that they get MORE of YOU to love - MORE of YOU in their life. And those that don't simply aren't your people, and that's okay too. Because when you fill your life with the truth of who you are, you actually let in MORE of the LOVE that is meant for you.
I'm going to leave you with this poem by Tanya Markhul from The She Book. I love it so much - it's been a guide on those days when the lie want's to creep back in....it gives light to the truth and reminds me to choose aliveness. I hope it will do the same for you.
"She knows that she'll get her butt kicked if she chooses aliveness. Her light will blind others. Her darkness will not let her fit in. Her success will provoke conflict. Her ways of healing will be judged. Her enemies will want her to cower. And fear will do its best to take her down. So she draws a circle around herself and keeps opening up. Because aliveness is freedom. She's embracing the risk to bypass the ordinary. And she is exactly what the world needs right now."