Are you watering yourself down? Holding yourself back? Becoming less and less of who you really are?
It’s funny, you’d think being yourself would be the easiest thing in the world. Turns out it’s one of the hardest!
It takes some serious work to be real, heart centered and fully alive. But oh my, how it’s worth the journey…
…because it turns out that right smack dab in the middle of that “real, heart centered, fully alive” place lives a giddy, tingly, filled up to the brim with life feeling and that’s a seriously good way to live.
We’re all a bit of ourselves here and there. Just a peak. Looks like full on authenticity; Facebook would surely stamp its approval. But you and I know it’s not. It’s just the tiniest tip of the iceberg.
To really be ourselves? To really express ourselves? To really set ourselves free? Well, that’s a whole other story.
When you stop following your heart, your life force starts to shrink. Remember the picture Michael J. Fox is holding in Back to the Future? He’s fading right out of it. That’s what happens to you and me when we stop listening to our hearts; when we stop really showing up in our lives.
When you stop taking risks your heart starts to shrink and when your heart starts to shrink your life starts to shrink. And that’s not a good feeling, to say the least.
So, honestly, just between you and me, how many times this week have you already:
- shut yourself down?
- held yourself back from saying, being, doing what your heart is longing to say, be and do?
- talked yourself out of something that’s pulling you forward because it feels too scary?
A little “no” here and a little “no” there to those heart impulses that are urging you toward the truest expression of Y.O.U. Those tiny little ways you and I hold ourselves back; they’re so tiny that a lot of times we don’t even notice them. But they add up… and they add up FAST! And they’re major energy vampires.
Something wells up in you, it’s like a kind of energetic pulse—you want to write someone or pick up a guitar and sing a song or skip through a creek or tell someone you really really love them—you can feel the energy pulling you forward. It’s palpable. It’s electric almost. It’s full of life and joy. It’s full of creativity and momentum. And then…
…right in that millisecond when you feel that impulse to LIVE, bam, down comes that proverbial ‘play small’ energy. It’s like something’s on your shoulder pushing/smashing you right back down into your place.
- Who do you think you are?
- You’re not really going to do that are you?
- You’ll look like an idiot.
- People don’t just say things like that.
- Blah… blah… blah.
Wham. Shame slams the lid on that spark that would’ve ignited a field of living—a whole night sky of fireflies.
Or maybe you don’t even hear this inner conversation anymore. You’ve been doing it for so long that the whole thing’s gone undercover. Totally unconscious. The end result is still the same though. Shamed, humiliated, terrorized back into your tiny place. That corner of the galaxy where you’re expected to apologize for taking up too much space and breathing too much air.
…for being me.
…for being alive.
That’s an incredibly tiny place and it makes us sick—literally. You have a voice and a self and it wants to express. It wants to live. And it can’t do it from a smushed into a tiny, “you’re taking up too much space and you don’t deserve a millimeter more” space.
Unabashed living means taking risks. And if you’re going to take risks then you need a different kind of framework. You need some scaffolding and support because living from your heart takes vulnerability and vulnerability takes courage.
Here are a few of my favorites (my clients love these too)…
- Ground your energy. Every day. Non negotiable. You need a home base—a safe, calm, loving home base that is. It can really be scary to step up and be real in a world that’s increasingly fake and sound bitish. Your breath can be your home base. The more you meditate, ground, breathe deeply, the easier it’ll be to find your way back home. Some people don’t leave the house without their make up on; I pretty much don’t leave the house without meditation, some breathing exercises and some yoga.
- Learn to soothe yourself. Deeply. Risk means sometimes you fall. Sometimes you fall hard. Knowing how to pick yourself up (not the kind where you shame yourself for feeling but the kind where you pick yourself up from the most loving, gentle and accepting place you can imagine). Here’s one of my all time favorites and one that I use a lot. Sit down, close your eyes; put your hands on your heart center (right hand over left); and be with yourself with as much love and compassion as you can muster. Sometimes I imagine I’m holding a very young part of myself and that I’m comforting her until the tears stop. Gentle presence.
- Keep your energy moving. Literally. Move your body. Dance. Hike. Swim. Lift weights. Skip. Splash barefoot in a creek. Don’t wait until you’re stuck. Move a lot. Move every day. Be mindful about it. Intentional. Fully present. Make friends with this wonderful body of yours and move it. When your body’s in motion your energy’s in motion. Every feeling/mood has an energy. You can shift your mood and your energy through your physicality. One of my shortcuts back from the brink of the any dark abyss is nature. I can’t be surrounded by nature for more than 10 minutes and not start moving back to center. It’s just not possible. I can’t dive into any kind of water and not reset. You’ve got some shortcuts. Find them. Be curious. Start using them. Cultivate them. They get stronger in time.
So, here we are, you and me. Somewhere on in years. Somewhere beyond toddlerhood when it was kind of easier to be ourselves and full of life—we didn’t have the cement walls and check points built around our hearts yet.
What if, you and I made a pact today? What if you and I decided we were actually really going to support ourselves? We were going to really cherish ourselves as much as we possibly could and we were going to show up in the world as much as possible from the most authentic, truly ourselves places? I’m in. Are you with me?
PS… You’re going to wipe out sometimes, you’re going to get your heart broken sometimes. That’s okay. Live real anyway. It’s the only way to fly!