I was afraid of being seen.
One minute we are melting, the next minute we are in the cool stillness of woods.
I put my hands on my knees and step off the pavement away from the blazing sun.
Shadows creep around my red, sweating body like water, pulling me into the moment. I put my hand to my chest and feel the throb of my own heart beating—this is my heart. This is proof that I am alive. Boom-boom, boom-boom.
Running in public used to terrify me. The thought of other people watching me sweat and struggle was too much to handle.
But great stories are sticky like that—they have a temperature to them.
They sound like a heartbeat.
How many times have we rejected our own life’s story because it did not look a certain way?
Self-doubt creeps in and clouds my reality sometimes. It can send me off the rails if I do not stay grounded.
Here are four rules that have helped me learn how to stay grounded and embrace my story as it unfolds.
Risk being seen. What if life is actually good? What if life is here for us?
Stepping out means that there will be failures, but once we understand that life is here for us, we can gear those failures into lessons.
This whole concept made the idea of being seen in all of my imperfections more appealing. I am brave enough to be seen.
Listen to other stories. The thing I learned the most from years in and out of the rooms is that everyone has a story, and if we are lucky enough, we can sit around and listen to those stories.
The more meetings I went to, the more stories I heard, and the more I realized that I was not alone.
Believe it or not, there are others out there with stories that look exactly like ours: better yet, there are people out there with stories that look nothing like ours.
Listen to how it happened. Listen to why it happened. Listen as it happens through new homes, foreclosed homes, weddings, divorces, babies on hips, heartbreaks, funerals, overcoming addictions, and learning to love again.
Everyone we meet has a story.
Tell the truth. What do I really like? We are allowed to answer this honestly without feeling guilty.
Realizing that I could decide who I wanted to be was a major shift in developing my story.
A few years ago, I realized that I was more attracted to being wanted than actually listening to my inner guide. I don’t think I even knew I had an inner guide.
It took years before I started getting honest with myself. Sometimes, I still have to check in and ask—is this who I really am?
For us to tell the truth, we need to take off our blinders. Blinders only helped me continue to lie about what I was okay with. Blinders are like a mute button, and we just mute the part of our brain that thinks we should change something.
Who are we on mute? How many parts of our brains are living on mute?
The truth can be loud and messy, but it is as beautiful as it is painful. To live a great story, it has to be real.
Most people call this an awakening. It is also telling the truth.
Let Go of Expectations. Things will go right; things will go wrong. Life just keeps happening.
The parts of my life that I am the most proud of happened when I was super uncomfortable.
As someone who has struggled with perfectionism, I understand how expectation can turn into a morning ritual if we are not careful. I had a plan for the whole day. I had a game plan for life. Anything outside of the plan was a panic attack waiting to happen.
Letting go of what my life was supposed to look like left room for great things to take place. I took more chances. I started to trust more. Things went wrong, and I did not die: in fact, I became stronger.
How will we ever know what we are made of if we already expect it to look a certain way?
These are rules, or guidelines, that have helped me find out more about myself and open my eyes the great story unfolding within me.
The blue sky imprints like a sheet behind my closed eyes. My breath is heavy as my legs stretch out farther and farther with every step. I make it back to the blazing sun and the uncomfortable pavement.
Cardio is hard, but it gets my heart going. Heartbeats remind me that I am alive and that I did something wild. Maybe this means that I am living a great story.
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