I used to spend precious thoughts suspended in worry and embarrassment.
Specifically feeling and questioning that I wasn’t making the best decisions. This visceral response would significantly slow me down or in some cases I would never even get started because I couldn’t see the best direction to go. So I would go nowhere new at all, or I would start something and then quickly stop and flop over to something else OR I would ask someone else what to do and then go do that (which usually ended up in an initial feeling of confidence that others were proud of me and then eventually slid into full blown anxiety because deep down I knew I wasn’t in the right place).
A lot of decisions in my life have been made to make other people feel better. I would lose myself and would lose understanding of what I might really need because my primary focus was on what was best for someone else. Sometimes it would occur around big decisions like attending colleges, or a big purchase. Other times it would show up as not sharing what I wanted to eat, when I needed to go to sleep, when I was tired of being treated a certain way or compromising my posture and back to take care of a patient. I want to be clear though that I also have many examples of being grounded and speaking up for what was best for me. For example- I knew I wanted to become a Physical Therapist. I knew it would be a “jumping off point” for me. I knew when my grandparents took me to dinner with our dear family friend who was a physician and they tried to ALL convince me to become a physician. I listened and then boldly proclaimed to my elders that what I cared about was being able to spend time and get to know the people I would be helping and 10-15 minute physician appointments were of no interest to me.
But I would ebb and flow from being confident and in tune with the path to take and then would suddenly find myself making decisions that I soon realized were only to appease someone else. I realized how I allowed others to convince me what I needed to do. I also allowed myself to assume what was best for someone else and then do that- ending up totally exhausted and feeling unappreciated.
It wasn’t until I was sitting in my Yoga Certification program on a particular day that my teacher, Anna said “perhaps you should become familiar with perfectionism.”
It was a pivotal moment and one that was a definite kick to the gut because I was completely unaware I was SO far away from my own core confidence. Well not totally true- I KNEW I felt lost, I felt frustrated I couldn’t make decisions easily, I felt like there were few good choices, stuck, and I knew that I didn’t feel capable of knowing what was best for me. But I had no idea why and I certainly had NO idea that my response to life could be any different than what I was already doing. I mean- I was attending a yearlong deep dive into self-discovery and development. What more could POSSIBLY be needed?! Isn’t showing up enough?!
So, I did take her up on the study of perfectionism and as I coupled that will practicing the life principles of yoga, as I met with another beloved mentor and sister Mama Girl, and as I started lighting up learning more about the physical and emotional core I began to see more clearly where I really wanted to go all along. I started to step out of toxic thinking, toxic interactions and people pleasing. I started to show up with compassion and more joy than I thought possible. I started to see that challenges can just become simple bumps in the road instead of road blocks. I became un-threatened by admitting my faults and having conversations when I felt hurt. I began to acutely see the symbolism around me, the connection to God and all of the good that is constantly churning and working for me and also for all of those around me. But after a while I realized something- I felt embarrassed to show it to others. What if my new found confidence and peace made someone else feel bad?! This thought has always been a big driver for me. I wish to build others up. I would never intentionally want to make someone feel bad or less than.
Deep down I wanted to share what I had learned with others. I wanted to give others tools to feel empowered and go way beyond the results I was experiencing. But by not letting these gifts and self-respect bubble up and out for others to see, hear and experience, I was not only stifling my soul’s purpose but I was also stifling those unknown people who were needing and wanting the information I had stored inside of me. I have come to realize: Our greatest gifts are meant to be shared. I believe it is our job to pop the cork of our soul and let those gifts come out and bless another person, place or thing. It is not true that my confidence and peace will harm or put down another person. IF the intention is pure (and not a “ha-ha look at me, I am awesome” egocentric love fest) the light in us will help LIFT others up.
So the next time you are feeling good, on top of the world share that energy with the next person who says hello or looks at you as you pass each other in the grocery store. That smile, that WAY you are being can be FELT by the other person and we cannot possibly imagine just how meaningful it can be to someone else.
Also, since all moments are not roses and rubies- I want you to understand that the next time you feel down, overwhelmed or stuck and say to yourself “why can’t this just work out!?” The REAL truth is, it IS working out. It’s just not working out the way that you planned it and expected it. Sometimes even the best plan requires a different plan. Plans are meant to be a guideline. The best plans are flexible and leave room for error. Here is the magic: Invite curiosity and flexible thinking and BE-ing instead of rigidity. Try saying “wow, okay, so this is happening. I know I need to be present right now. Go into a conversation with spirit, going into a conversation with your higher self, with your soul, and go, okay, what? So I know that this isn’t working out, so show me, these are some things that I still feel like I need and some things that I want. How can that happen? How is it going to look? Curiosity and flexibility can bring excitement and possibility. Be open to the possibilities! I used to control and fix the outcomes. I used to assume I knew what was best and was so embarrassed if it didn’t work out. It felt safe, but created more anxiety and confusion.
Be open to the possibilities from ALL experiences: the good, the bad and seemingly insignificant.
I’m sharing this today because I love you and this is what’s possible every single moment of every single day, regardless of what’s going around you. Draw into your mind a visual of a beautiful carousel ride. You’re on the carousel, but the carousel starts going a million miles an hour and all of a sudden this fun, beautiful carousel is very stressful and it feels like you’re out of control and it feels like you’re losing your ability to hold on. You’re losing your connection. You’re out of control.
All you have to do is just step to the center, step to the place of the higher power of the soul, of your heart, of your core. That is where you step. And when you step there, because you can step there, then suddenly you see you have all these choices, possibility and nothing seems like it’s bogging you down or confusing you. You’re open to possibility. You’re in a state of being and all of your communication and relationships, life’s work and community involvement can bloom.