Viewing entries tagged
authentic self

Comment

Facing the Fear of Change: Big Risks Can Bring Big Rewards

Opportunity.jpg

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” ~Barack Obama

If someone said to you, “Hey, you know how you are feeling the need for change and you’re not sure what to do? Well, I can’t tell you what to do, but I can guarantee that if you follow where your heart leads you, you’ll create the possibility of more joy than you’ve ever felt before. All you have to do is walk through the doors that will keep opening up for you and trust, completely, that you are on the right track. You may question it at times, but keep going. You’ll be fine no matter what.”

What would you do? Would you follow the guarantee or would you keep doing what you’re doing?

What if the caveat was added, “Oh, you should probably know that if you do this, you run the risk of losing much of what you’ve known and who you think you are now will look completely different the next time you look in the mirror.”

Ummmm… hold up. Let me think about that.

That’s basically what happens when you know it’s time to change up your life and you’re innately scared to do so.

So, what do you do?

I spend a lot of time in deep reflection and introspection. And it’s not because I want to; it’s because I am constantly trying to understand myself, to figure out where I’m headed and what’s potentially holding me back from getting there.

Most of the time, I feel completely in the dark. And while my grandmother always told me that there is nothing in the dark that can hurt you, I’m human; I question this theory. And yet I continue to trust that she’s right. She lived over eighty years and was the most inspirational woman I’ve known; she must’ve learned something pretty valuable to be expressing these bold opinions.

So I had the nudge to change myself and I went with it. No, that’s not accurate—I had the internal and external shove and I went for it.

In the matter of a few short years, I got divorced, bought a house, lived alone with my kids, completely supported myself financially and then left my job, started a business, and changed the majority of my friends. I chose to start completely over in many ways.

On paper, I looked a bit off balanced. Keep Reading...

Comment

Comment

Tired of People Pleasing? Tips to Change It Up

“What do you want to do?” you question regularly.

“I’ll wait till everyone else has gone first.” you’ve said.

“Let me know what everyone decides and I’ll follow.” is your consistent response in the group text.

Do you have an opinion? Yes. Do you have a preference? Sometimes. But perhaps you’re so used to letting everyone else decide for you so you know they will be happy and you will suck it up like you always do.

After all, you are a master sucker upper. You could even list it as a skill on your resume.

Ahhh the life of a “people pleaser.” I know it well. As a recovering “people pleaser” I’m well versed in the signs and symptoms when I see them.

The truth is, you do have an opinion and you don’t always want to say yes when people ask you to help them out. You also don’t want go to the places that “everyone” says are a must, but you feel compelled to follow the pack in that oh so small FOMO….Fear of Missing Out…or worse…FOR…Fear of Rejection (yes, I just made it up).

But it’s true. You know it. All the people pleasers know it.

And since you say yes oh so often, you also feel that familiar pang of ongoing resentment. The one that you feel when you say yes, just to make someone else happy. You know that “yes” that you regret only moments later and resent them for even asking. Because really, don’t they know you don’t want to despite the fact that you always say yes??

Ummm…no. No they do not.

They do not because you haven’t told them. They do not because they are trusting that you will be open and honest with them regarding how you really feel. They do not because you’ve been hiding your true feelings in hopes that they will like you and accept you and think you are wonderful. And you are! You are wonderful! Even if you said no…

So how do you stop the madness? And the accompanying resentment…which is mostly towards yourself for not speaking up.

By practicing saying how you really feel. By checking in with yourself before you answer and asking if you are saying yes that you really want to. By trusting that you are worthy and good enough that people like you for who you are and not what you can offer them. By accepting that even if someone is disappointed in your decision and ability to take care of yourself, that it is not going to ruin you and leave you loveless. 

On the contrary, the more you speak how you feel, the more people will trust and respect you.

The more you share your true feelings in a respectful way, the more people will be drawn to your honesty and value what you bring to the table. They will know what to expect from you and that creates a safety people like. And the more you allow others to see the real you, the more likeable you will be. You don’t have to win anyone over to be good enough. You already are.  Keep Reading...

 

Comment

Comment

Resentment: The Kiss of Death in Relationships...and How to Let It Go

One of my oldest friends called me a few weeks ago to get together. She mentioned it had been 2 years since we had seen each other. That seemed like an awfully long time to not connect with someone who had been such an important part of my life.

I had felt the distance between us for some time and I told myself that this was just another loss I was going to have to accept.  There seemed to be so many. As I changed, the faces of the people I spent time with did too. I know friends drift apart, but I also knew this one felt different. I knew…but I didn’t ask. I didn’t ask because I was scared. If I asked, then I’d have to deal with the discomfort. And that rarely is motivating.

We opted to go for a hike after our 2 year hiatus. The conversation was easy. We caught up a bit and shared some of our recent highlights.  And then the pause…”I’ve been wanting to talk to you about something for the past two years.”  She continued to tell me how hurt she had been when I was not as supportive towards her as I could have been at a time when she needed it. And she was right. I wasn’t. I was juggling so much at the time and what she needed from me was something I was not in a place to give. And instead of telling her that, I kept it to myself. I retreated. I said “I’m here if you need me,” and waited for the request.  But the request didn’t come.

What I didn’t know was that she didn’t want to have to ask for help. She didn’t want to ask for my support. She didn’t want to have tell me that she needed more than I gave. She wanted to “be strong” and deal with it. And that- that feeling- I know oh so well.

So instead, she held it in. She held in the hurt and the resentment and the frustration of unmet expectations. She let it sit in the compartment that keeps us from trusting the ones we love. I hurt her. Was it intentional? Of course not. But I did.

When I told her my angle, I was honest. She had believed I was a good communicator and I am. But not always with the people I’m closest to. It took some deep digging into myself to see it. The more I attach, the more I fear being left and the more I will avoid conflict.  And if I sense conflict or the risk of being rejected, I will detach.  It’s a lifelong pattern I recognize and work through.  The human thing is tough!

But I was also in a place I was not able to be what she needed me to be. Take out my faulty communication, I was still going through some really tough stuff myself. So much so that I didn’t even notice that I was a less than impressive friend. I was wrapped up in my own internal drama. And I also didn’t see it.

We say hindsight is clear and it is. I am grateful for it. Because listening to her hurt reminded me of how painful it is to hold on to resentment towards those we love, or once loved wanting them to be something they are not or can’t be. Or wanting what they are unable to give us at a time because of their own limitations.

I know this feeling. I have held on to strong expectations of others they could not meet. I have felt abandoned many, many times. I have been let down even more. I have detached from those I once loved instead of communicating how I felt. I have retreated and shut down when I could have made another choice….to speak up, to ask for what I need, to be vulnerable and to be loving while doing so. It doesn’t HAVE to be so hard and so painful. There is another way.

And my beautiful friend reminded me of this. By being brave and honest and bold.

How many times have you shut someone out instead of talking to them? How many opportunities have you ignored because they seemed too uncomfortable and you told yourself- I just don’t care. Bullshit. You do care. We all care.

You don’t have to change. I don’t have to change. But what if we did? What if we started to talk to each other regularly with compassion and honesty? What if we shared what we felt instead of shoving it down in hopes it will just go away? What if we spoke out of love instead of out of fear? What if we forgave each other for not meeting our expectations—the ones we can barely meet ourselves?

What would THAT be like?

Being open and vulnerable requires trust. Trust in yourself. Trust in the people around you. It doesn’t always come natural to expose ourselves. But the more we practice and open up, the more we may learn just how good it feels to be authentic…to be true to ourselves…and to feel confident enough to live and love as we are.

Comment

The Growing Pains of Becoming My Authentic Self

I have been writing two or three paragraphs at a time for weeks on various topics and I couldn’t figure out why. I have so many things to share and ideas I know would be helpful, but I just can’t seem to get them out. And no matter how much inspiration I ask for, it’s just not coming.  Why? Because as of late, my world is small. I used to write about experiences I saw and learned from others and right now, most of my experiences on a daily basis are mine and mine alone.

I am in a healing phase of my life and have been for many months now.  I have been processing years worth of discomfort while trying to get my life in order. It has been a wonderful time of growth and a challenging time of allowing the emotions to come up and out.  I have had to look at my demons and question their purpose as well as hone in on my strengths to see what skills I want to sharpen.  Most days I am equally focused and driven as I am lost and confused. 

The other day I woke up with a determined purpose. I had unfinished business regarding the end of my marriage I had to attend to and I’d been dragging my feet. I had been getting the not so gentle internal nudges, but I can be a turtle when it comes to finalizing painful things.  This was one of them. 

I was feeling proud of myself mid morning for getting it done and then out of nowhere, the pangs of sadness started to jab at me. “No thank you,” I said to myself, “I’ve felt those already, we’ve been over this. Move on already.” I successfully pushed them down to move on to the next task. I had things to do.

It had been snowing all morning and I decided I would get some fresh air and exercise and begin to shovel my 700 foot driveway.  I had my music playing loud to drown out the thoughts and use my anxious energy for a purpose.  It was cold and my back was sore, but that discomfort was nothing compared to what I felt brewing underneath.  

After thirty minutes of shoveling, I realized there was a layer of ice below the snow that was going to make clearing off the rest of the hilly driveway difficult. I stared down the snowy path and questioned if it was safe to even drive on.  How will I get out? What am I going to do? How do I fix this? 

My immediate inclination was to call my ex-husband. The man who was once my practical fixer for all things I couldn’t figure out.  He’d walk me through it. I pondered how we would fix this problem together.  And then a tiny stop sign made its way in my head. “No, you can’t call him. It’s not his job to bail you out. You need to figure this out without him. That’s not your life anymore.” 

“Yes, but I could really use his help. He’ll know what to do.” I argued.

The stop sign grew larger and the voice bolder than before. “Stop! You know it’s time to accept the change. Accept it, Lynn. You’ve got to break this pattern.” 

“But he’s what I know. I can rely on him to fix this.” I wouldn’t back down. 

“Then go ahead and call him. Start the pattern again. You know how it goes.” I calmly replied.

The urges were so strong and I felt myself crumbling under the pressure. One warm tear rolled down my cheek, then another…and another. Little waves of emotions seeping out of me slowly.  I couldn’t stop them. They wouldn’t stop.

I sat on the steps of my garage in the house I bought alone and sobbed.  How did I get here? What am I doing? This is not the life I would have chosen. I felt completely defeated and alone. I prayed for help. I asked for support. I needed to pull it together.

I took enough deep breaths to call my best problem solving side kick…my sister from another mister.  As usual, she calmly took control and offered to fix my problem without even taking a breath.  Only your closest friends can decipher your needs through your sobs.

Seconds after I ended the call with her I heard the teenager I’d recently hired to plow my driveway come flying up it. I hadn’t asked him to come, he just did. Fifteen minutes later my driveway was cleared and additional help was on the way.  Problem solved. 

Once the tears stopped, I re-visited the harsh questions I asked earlier. 

How did I get here? I chose this path.

What am I doing? Following my internal direction that is stronger every day.

This is not the life I would I have chosen?? This is exactly the life I have chosen and I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I am exactly where I need to be and figuring it out as I go along. And forward I will go. 

As for feeling alone, I had help within thirty minutes of asking for it. That’s some seriously good service. I am never, ever alone. 

In my life as a counselor, a healer, a mentor, a mother, a friend, I find it easy to see the patterns in others. I can sense and solve a problem that is not my own in record time when needed. I can feel the pain in others and process it. I can also take the emotion out and see it for what it is. But when it comes to my own life, I am as human as it gets. 

Sometimes I learn from my mistakes quickly. Sometimes I have to repeat them numerous times in various ways to really, fully get the gist.  But always, I am learning and growing and living and teaching everything I pick up along the way.  I believe these are the growing pains of coming into my own authenticity.  I can only imagine it will get easier with more practice and continued dedication. 

And if it doesn’t, I will always have more to learn and learning is one of my favorite things!  For today, I am grateful for the opportunity to practice and to reframe and for the invaluable experience of learning how to heal myself.