“Rather than letting our negativity get the better of us, we could acknowledge that right now we feel like a piece of shit and not be squeamish about taking a good look.” ~ Pema Chödrön
This week was one of those weeks I had to take a good look at myself.
Those low level feelings of sadness, discomfort, anxiety and feeling like complete sh*t were whispering in their insistent, annoying little voices and I was choosing to ignore them.
Because, you know…I’ve got this. This whole working full time, commuting two hours a day, taking on more clients, doing coaching/healing work and trying to be a good friend and a mother and a mentor. Oh…and this new Mastermind class I’m taking.
Yep. I’ve got that too. Squeezed that right in.
And I wasn’t setting boundaries. With anyone, but mainly myself.
Let it be known that I’m phenomenal at telling my clients and friends how to set them. How to honor themselves and what they want in their relationships…whether it be the relationship with themselves, a friend, a co-worker, or a lover. I clearly see where they aren’t being honest.
I listen as they tell me they want one thing, but then can’t communicate that to another person or are accepting so much less than what they truly desire, because they don’t want to come across a certain way. Too demanding, too needy, too straight forward, too something that would actually be honoring who they are and what they’re feeling.
One friend of mine was trying to behave a certain way in front of an ex-boyfriend she still isn’t over. And we’ve all done this at some point to make the other person feel more comfortable. We tell ourselves, “I’m so over this. I’m cool with just hanging out as friends and listening to you talk about your new boyfriend or girlfriend. Whatever works for you, I can make work.”
Except it wasn’t working for her. And after coaching her through what she was really feeling, she was able to clearly see that she was so afraid of letting go of what they still had left of their relationship (the friendship), that she had been unwilling to honor herself and be completely open and honest with him that hanging out as just friends was making her uncomfortable.
So, how many of us are doing that? Right now. Not being honest and up front with ourselves?
Me! Yup…I gotta step up here. I need to call myself out because I always want my breakdowns to create a breakthrough for somebody else down the line.
I met somebody a few months ago that I really connected with. A super sweet, good-hearted, nice guy. I was definitely interested in him and wanted to spend time with him to get to know him better.
As luck would have it, he left for a job that took him out of town for a few months so our time together has been extremely limited. And it was hard for me. The long distance, the not feeling connected, the start and stop, the disappointment every time his schedule changed or got pushed. The not knowing when I would see him next after spending a really great night together.
The way I chose to handle it—and I want to stress that I chose it—was that I opted to not communicate what was there for me. That I missed him, that I had been thinking about him, that I really wanted him to come home. That I wanted to hear from him more often to keep the connection going.
I didn’t honor myself and I didn’t ask for what I needed from him most of the time he was gone, because I didn’t want to come across as (insert the word)—but I’ll just say what the real word is: myself.
I didn’t want to come across as myself. And then I wonder why I’m not getting what I want.
So, my point is, I can’t get what I want in this situation until I start honoring and communicating in the most open way, what it is I truly want and need. And I need not be ashamed of that.
And truth be told, I want this man or any man who wants to be a part of my life to get to know me—as I truly am. Not some photoshopped, airbrushed, filtered version of me that alters all the realness out.
It requires too much energy and work to be anything other than who we authentically are with people. I for one have reached a point in my life where I’m unwilling to not play full out, or to be all in, anymore. This goes for every relationship in my life: my friends, my family, my work relationships, my clients, somebody I’m dating, whomever.
We have to be willing to ask for what we need in every instance. It’s not about us making the other person feel comfortable. It’s about honoring yourself and where you’re at. Not them.
If they can meet you there, great. And if they can’t…it’s not about you.
Yes, the situation may not turn out the way we had hoped. We may be disappointed. We may hurt somebody else’s feelings by expressing our own. We may even lose someone or something that in this moment we feel we can’t live without.
Or we can trust.
We can trust that being ourselves is the only way to live. We can trust that it’s the only path to true happiness.
The people who are meant to be in your life will stick around. Trust me. I have never been more real in my life than I have the past three years. I’ve been messy, imperfect, and at times completely falling apart—in my ego, in my hurt—and yet I’ve been ultimately joyful, exuberant and freer than I was before I started. The people who have been able to meet me where I’m at, with me being authentically who I am—
—they are still here. They are the real deal. These are the people you want to stick around.
So trust that honoring yourself wherever you’re at is okay. And don’t be afraid to move unabashedly forward into self-honoring so all of your relationships can be what you dream of and deserve.
Author: Dina Strada
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Image: Matt Anderson/Flickr