We thought putting our dreams on hold was the answer.
Bills needed to be paid and families needed our support. We were told we had to act like a grown-up and be responsible. We were told it was better to give than to receive and some of us were told our dreams were foolish and we learned to bury our desires, dreams, and passion.
And we began to make some false assumptions about ourselves and our lives. We assumed dreams (or following our purpose) were folly and we felt unworthy. These false assumptions may have grown over the years to include:
Does any of this sound familiar?
We may feel unworthy, but it isn’t the truth about who we are. We feel unworthy because we feel “less than.”
Let me ask some questions: If you are broke, are you “less than?” If you live in a shack or are homeless, are you “less than?” If you failed at business, are you “less than?” If you are unemployed, are you “less than?” If your kids aren’t successful, are you “less than?” If you are in an abusive relationship, are you “less than?” If you have an addiction, are you “less than.” I don’t know what you silently answered to yourself, but I’m here to tell you the answer is NO.
We are the ones who deem ourselves worthy or unworthy.
It takes an enormous amount of energy to try to be someone you’re not.
Your true self - your AUTHENTIC self - longs to come out and reveal herself (or himself) to the world. The downside of keeping your authentic self in hiding is that it ultimately results in pain: spiritual pain, emotional pain, relationship pain, or even physical pain.
Most of us spend our entire lives avoiding pain, criticism, and rejection. We think by pretending to be something (or someone) we’re not, we’ll avoid being vulnerable. We don’t make waves. We don’t rock the boat. We look for ways to be acceptable to those around us. We bite our tongue and don’t speak up.
Why are we so damn scared of being who we were created to be? Remember, you are a once-in-a-lifetime-never-to-be-repeated-or-duplicated-cosmic-event. Why do we try and pretend to be otherwise? What early messages did we receive (and ultimately believe) that keeps us stuck, small, and in a box?
I share a little of my early days as a shape-shifting people-pleaser in my blog.
Ultimately, if you spend so much of your energy trying to be someone you’re not, you’ll end up self-sabotaging yourself and burning yourself out. What sort of pain will you experience then?
Yes, it’s vulnerable and scary to reveal your heart and soul to the world. But it’s also one of the most courageous and healing things you can do. Our mind gremlins have convinced us that the scariness far outweighs any benefits. We project how other people will react or what they’ll say. Our projections are probably wrong.
You see, when you show up authentically, you give others permission to show up the same way. It’s just that nobody wants to talk about it. Nobody wants to appear vulnerable. Nobody wants to go first. But somebody has to go first. Maybe that can be you.
To say that 2020 has been an unusual, challenging, or tough year would be an understatement. Little did I know when I was enjoying the musical “Chicago” on February 29, that my social calendar was going to take a 180 degree turn.
And I have to admit, I didn’t always take this change in plans with a grin and a shoulder shrug (at least not at first). After all, I had big plans for the summer: season tickets to see 15 minor league baseball games, season tickets for the Coeur d’Alene Summer Theater and the Coeur d’Alene Playhouse, tickets to see Tanya Tucker and ‘Grits and Glamor,’ a trip to Wyoming, and a trip to Arizona. All scrapped. Just like your plans, I imagine.
What ended up happening for me was that I used this ‘extra’ time (the time not spent at ballgames, plays, concerts, community events, etc.) on my business. And while that sounds like a good idea, I forgot one of my most important practices: self-care. You see, part of my self-care practice is going out to these various events where I can change my environment and decompress. I allow myself to get lost in the music and the enjoyment of the people, the scenery, and the scents. Instead, I was spending more and more time in front of my computer.
And by July, I was burned out. The very thing that used to enliven me and give legs to my purpose, felt draining and tiresome. It felt like W.O.R.K. So, I took some time off. No blogs, no content creation, no Facebook posts. I only continued to work with existing groups or clients. It was 4 months before I was ready to show up for my business (and in my business) again.
Lesson learned: I need more balance
But I did have some wins
Let’s face it, I’m busy. How about you?
I keep signing up for more and more classes (the ones I’m interested in, of course). I have a growing ‘to read’ list. I participate in two meditation groups and two coaching support groups. I facilitate the most-wonderful-and-awesome ‘upliftment’ group, write blogs, create classes, work with clients, and work full-time. Whew!
So it can become really easy for me to buy into the lie that “I don’t have enough time.” And when that happens, I can come to nearly a complete standstill. My mind can become so overactive that I don’t know what to do first. And I end up doing nothing. Nada. Zilch.
And even though this doing nothing should alleviate the feeling of ‘busy-ness,’ it doesn’t. It adds to the frustration that I’m getting further and further behind. And I don’t do the things I know will help me feel better, like breathe, or go for a walk, or just unplug. Talk about not ‘living in the moment’ - - big time! (just in case I was wondering why I’ve been writing about that so much for the past few weeks)
I’m writing this today in case you sometimes feel the same way, too. It’s all well and good to read my blogs about how to be present and live in the moment, but what about when we struggle with that? I want you to know that if you are challenged by being consistent in your spiritual practice or with keeping yourself aligned or if you have bad days or bad weeks, it’s okay.
In fact, it’s normal. You’re normal.
You’re not broken. You don’t need to apologize. You’re not weak. You’re doing fine. Don’t let these struggles affect your sense of ‘enoughness’ or sense of self-worth.
Is the practice of ‘trusting the universe’ just another way that we choose to NOT make a decision? Is it a form of giving our power away?
You know how it goes: rather than making a definitive choice or asking ourselves crucial questions, we look for signs and coincidences that verify we’re on the right track. Or not on the right track. If things don’t work out, we can ‘blame’ the universe saying, ‘it wasn’t meant to be.’ But if things do turn out, we applaud our ability to tune in and listen to the Divine! (at least, I’ve done that in the past).
In this week’s reading, Abraham sends his servant Eliezer back to their homeland to find a wife for Isaac. When Eliezer arrives at the city of Nahor, he finds a spring and prays: “Hashem… let the maiden to whom I say, ‘Please lower your jar that I may drink,’ and who replies, ‘Drink, and I will also water your camels,’ let her be the one to whom you have decreed for your servant, for Isaac…”
Is Eliezar taking this opportunity NOT to make a decision on his own? Is he relying on an external sign to tell him what to do, rather than using his own intelligence to find the right wife for Isaac?
Reading carefully, Eliezer says that she should offer water to him and his camels. In other words, she should be a kind, caring, and generous person.
He’s not giving away his power in favor of superstition. He’s actually specifying the exact criteria by which to make his decision - she should be kind, caring, and generous. He doesn’t want Isaac to marry someone who will steal his money and his livestock! If she doesn’t have these qualities, he’s not interested.
If you want to live with clarity and purpose, if you want to truly say “yes” to your life, you’ve got to be able to say a clear “no” as well. The “yes” and the “no” go together!
I wonder if the ‘appearance of God’ is always a welcome sight.
Here’s the scene: Abraham just circumcised himself (ouch) and it’s really hot outside. I imagine he’s in a great deal of pain and discomfort. There’s no morphine drip or pain medication with codeine. And yet, he’s not lounging in bed or recovering inside his tent; he’s sitting at the entrance of his tent, outside and in the heat.
To make matters worse, suddenly three strangers show up. What does he do? He runs out to greet them! I don’t know about you, but when I’m recovering or am in great pain, I can be grouchy, withdrawn, and perhaps a little self-pitying. But not Abraham! Not only did he run out to greet these strangers, he fetches water to wash their feet and he and Sarah prepare a feast. Abraham welcomed the moment!
Whatever the moment brings, it’s all just different forms of the One Reality.
The last couple of weeks, I’ve been writing about living in the moment and staying in the present. And here’s this week’s Torah portion which is telling us the same thing. Imagine that! But what if the present moment seems terrible? What if the present moment is painful and awful? Why would we want to saddle ourselves in the present moment when thinking about a wonderful and exciting future seems so much better and happier?
Have you tried all sorts of ‘formulas’ in order to live a fulfilled, successful, optimistic, positive, and happy life?
Are you a die-hard optimist?
The ‘sound bite’ goes something like this: “Think positive thoughts and you’ll experience a positive outcome.” We believe that if we think only good, high vibration, positive thoughts, we’ll always experience only good, high vibration, positive outcomes. And if we aren’t manifesting what our heart desires, we get discouraged or think there’s something wrong with us and that we aren’t doing things the right way.
We’re taught that our thoughts create our reality. We’re trained that if we simply think ‘positive’ then we’ll have a good outcome or experience. What if this isn’t exactly 100% true?
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE New Thought principles and ideas. It is the path of my life. However, there’s more to it than just positive thinking.
For one thing, only thinking positive can help us avoid dealing with core issues and feelings. Feelings of unworthiness, abandonment, rejection (or fill in your own issue you want to avoid talking about or thinking about at all costs) often get covered over and never healed because we pile a ton of affirmations into our day.
For years, I resisted ‘sinking into my heart’ during deep meditations or healing sessions. I was convinced that inside I wasn’t ‘love and light’ but ‘darkness.’ I had a lot of fear about discovering the real me and worried that if I did discover the real me (dark, phony, impostor, flawed, and unworthy), I’d get stuck there and never be able to pull myself out.
So I put on a happy face and followed the positive thinking formula. I fooled myself (or maybe not). I fooled others (or maybe not). And I told myself the story that this was the path to authentic, fulfilled, and joyful living.
Except I was never quite fulfilled. Or happy. Or joyful. And this pretending to be fulfilled, happy, and joyful only cemented the belief that I was filled with darkness inside. Because, after all, I was following the formula but wasn’t getting the life-transforming results I was looking for.
Maybe it’s about the story we’ve been told.
’m writing this blog on Mother’s Day. I had a wonderful homemade brunch my daughter prepared, and was thinking about my own mom. I’m like her in many ways and unlike her in many other ways (aren’t we all like that?).
I remember one particular conversation we had where she shared with me that she wished someone (one of her husbands) would have put her first and really made her feel special and important. I think she abandoned part of herself in order to be loved. Imagine how sad that made me feel.
But she’s not the only one I’ve heard that from.
So many of us are waiting for others to notice our brilliance…to notice our genius. We think it’s arrogant to think of ourselves as special, but if someone else can notice our specialness, our uniqueness, that’s not as bad.
Why do we need permission to shine a light on ourselves and our own gifts and contributions?
Do we sulk and pout if no one is recognizing how special we are? Do we try even harder to earn love? Do we go the extra mile? Do we end up feeling like a doormat, over-giving and being under-appreciated?
It’s time to break out of this trance. It’s time to peel off some of your layers of protection and insecurity and people-pleasing tendencies and love what is special about you. It’s time to be you and color outside the lines!
Self-Confidence and Self-Trust go Hand-in-Hand
Have you ever broken a promise or a commitment you made to YOURSELF?
Maybe you wanted to finish a course you purchased, or learn a new skill, or even spend some time on self-care. And then life kicks in. Someone needs you and you drop everything and respond to their need. Perhaps your internal mind chatter (mind monkeys) convinces you that what you’re trying to do isn’t important or it’s too hard or it’ll take too long, and then you give up on your commitment. Perhaps you’ve promised to meditate or journal or exercise daily…and you don’t (*hand raised here, for the journal and exercise part*)
Every time you break a promise or commitment you’ve made to yourself, it negatively impacts your self-trust. And that leads to a lack of confidence. You see, trust and confidence go hand-in-hand.
It isn’t enough that you always keep your promises to others. Don’t get me wrong, that’s an amazing quality. But it isn’t enough to inspire either self-trust or self-confidence. Being at everyone else’s beck and call leads to a life of servitude, and not a life being of service.
What comes first? Self-confidence or self-trust?
Do you consider yourself ambitious?
In 2015, Goldie Hawn presented Reese Witherspoon with an award for her work creating stronger roles for women in film at Glamour’s Women of the Year Awards. Reese had this to say, “I want everybody to close their eyes and think of a dirty word, like a really dirty word. Now open your eyes. Was any of your words ambition? I didn't think so. See, I just kind of started wondering lately why female ambition is a trait that people are so afraid of. Why do people have prejudiced opinions about women who accomplish things? Why is that perceived as a negative?”
March 8 was ‘International Women’s Day’ and it’s a day to celebrate women’s achievement. I think it’s a day to celebrate your own achievement as well. It’s time to stand tall and proud and embrace all that you’ve accomplished. In the workplace. In the kitchen. In the sewing room. In the classroom. In the boardroom (and maybe even in the bedroom!).
As women, we’ve learned to bury our talents and accomplishments. It’s easy for us to deflect and deny. We don’t want to appear too confident. Or too bossy. Or too self-assured. Or too opinionated. Or too passionate. Or too educated.
So we underestimate ourselves. We devalue ourselves.
Janet Kingsley is an effective 'Belief Change Expert' who helps clients transform frustration to focus, confusion to clarity, and self-doubt to self-confidence.