We need LIGHT NOW to encourage healing and change! And for the first time in my life, despite the pain I've experienced (and processed) and the pain I see others going through while we witness a devastating, but unsurprising, reality in the #MeToo movement***, I'm no longer afraid to be authentic about how frickin' awesome life can be. I feel called to express this joy as a way to bring light to a dark week, but also to highlight that showing up as our authentic selves fuels change where we need it most.
First, I can't deny, I am unapologetically excited about something. Like so frickin' excited that there have been moments of dancing with my dog, singing "Free Falling" like Jerry McGuire (oh those good old days of Tom Cruise), and going on rants with friends about why I'm so excited.
So you may be asking, WTH are you so excited!?!? Well, I'm feeling the effects of a lot of meaningful shifts in my life. Things that I've needed to do, but have required stepping outside my comfort zone, and truly TRUSTING my GUT. Things like: asking for help when I need it, ditching perfection and allowing myself to show up authentically no matter where I am, and discover what that looks and feels like to me
These shifts have been SERIOUSLY TOUGH! Like shaking in my bones, tears flowing, teeth clenching, tough. But they have all yielded amazing feelings, new friends, stronger relationships, love for the work I do and at the end of the day, peace of mind that I'm on my authentic journey, right where I'm supposed to be. So why was I so scared to get excited about good things happening in my life? I worried that:
- It was too good to be true and would be taken away from me
- Something bad would happen as a result of getting excited... i.e. something was bound to bring me down. And out of fear of that bad thing happening, I would push my excitement into a "joy pit" in my stomach for no one to see and for me to not feel
- People would think I was bragging or self-absorbed and wouldn't want to be around me (even if it was my closest friends and family)
- I'd feel so much guilt around being happy while so many other people in the world were suffering
As you can see, I was legit scared of expressing happiness due to the fear of experiencing loss. And as humans, we require community and connection for survival. We are ALL scared of speaking up. It's totally normal!
But what I didn't see was that I was compromising my authenticity. Humans are born to grow and thrive so when you compromise your authenticity, life ends up boring, really short and even depressing. You've shut down your truth, which in turn zaps curiosity, confidence, and many other life characteristics shown in thriving people.
And it's no coincidence that the same numbing result can happen to us when we don't process and express difficult emotions like sadness, anger or shame. They are all rooted in the same fear of experiencing loss.
I hope that your awareness of these few points below may help you live more in alignment with what feels authentic to you and helps you process your #MeToo moment (whether you are a man or woman***):
- Hearing someone say "me too" can heal shame. Don't be afraid to get vulnerable. Check out Brené Brown's vulnerability talk for an extra push! (it has 31 million views, AKA, it's worth watching)
- Speaking up for yourself in uncomfortable situations is a big part of healing the problem. And being a victim is scary. Remember that that moment does not define you; strong women everywhere are beginning to share their darkness, which sets them free to be in the light.
- We fear that speaking up will cause us to lose something BIG and life altering (a career, friends, family members, etc...) and staying quiet feels more comfortable than risking that loss. Just remember, living your authentic truth (embracing how you feel in a situation, no matter what others think) will set you free. There will be better jobs, stronger relationships and a happier, more exciting life on the other side.
- DO NOT MINIMIZE YOUR EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE - your emotions are warranted, because they are yours and not embracing them will risk your own happiness and wellbeing.
Remember, I'm writing this from a place of light, not a place of fear. I know we have it within us (and I've seen SO much of it this week alone) to look within to better understand ourselves, and ultimately create a more peaceful world for all. Lots of love (and healing) to you.
***#MeToo is focused on women. This is not only a woman's issue. Men experience a different kind of stereotyping. Lewis Howes has a book coming coming out on October 31st, "The Mask of Masculinity: How men can embrace vulnerability, create strong relationships, and live their fullest lives" that sounds like it will be an amazing resource to help overcome some of the stereotypes men encounter.