‘We are all of these words and so much more.’
A statement I first heard while I was participating in CTI’s leadership program in California. It is a group of words that dropped into my heart, decided to stay and have had tremendous resonance for me affecting my life.
The words that I am thinking of are the words that we tend to run away from. Words like unhappy, angry, not beautiful, fat, ugly and loser.
Statements dripping with shame, like oops, I made a mistake. How will I ever be able to show my face again? Or, I don’t even want to try because I know I will fail. I never should have done that.
And blame, if it were not for so and so I would be so much more successful. If he or she didn’t do that thing this other bad thing would never have happened.
I am so unhappy! Because I am unhappy I am suffering!
We continuously take a stick and hit ourselves over the self esteem and then wonder, what we are doing still standing here? Nobody else would take it.
We also make statements like; I am so miserable all I want is to be happy. If I were only happy then all of my problems will go away. Gee, if I just moved this here and that there I know I will be happy.
When we finally reach destination happiness – something or somebody spoils it for us or we focus on something even better that will make us even happier.
Sound crazy? It is.
It reminds me of an animated dog running full speed, in a circle, chasing his tail. His back legs rotating faster than his front legs and then he stops and forgets about what he was chasing.
The words I mentioned are not bad but they don’t always work for us either. What would it look like if we changed our language? What would it look like if we examined the shame or shifted the blame?
What would we feel like if we put on the brakes where our language toward ourselves is concerned? What would you do if you witnessed someone calling another person a loser? What would you say? Would you stand by doing nothing while the other person takes the abuse? Most likely, if you had not already stepped in to protect that person you would wait and comfort them and stick around to be sure that they were o.k.
You see we do not always fit our ideal description of what we consider to be the perfect person. We fail. We blame and we feel shame. In a nutshell, we often fail ourselves miserably. We are not always nice and even more often we are unhappy.
We act like we need to control every experience in our lives. We think that when everything is under our control we will then be happy. We have forgotten that when you take the pressure off and stop trying to live up to a standard that you think will make you secure you will find that you are fine. Hell, more than fine.
When you get rid of the self critic and realize that it is impossible to always be happy and yes sometimes you do fall down. Yes, you do make mistakes and no, it is not the other person’s fault. Luckily because we live in a free world it is your beautiful responsibility and you don’t have to feel shame. If you do feel shame it is ok, you are still a marvelous human being who deserves to be loved. It is surprising how quickly shame converts to compassion.
The bottom line is that yes, life is full of challenges. It hurts, it has sugar in it and sometimes it is sour. We gain weight and lose weight. Friends come and go and some stay. We get sick, we die, we give birth, we are born and we cry. Sometimes we even laugh while we are crying or cry while we are laughing.
Being with this is what it takes to be fully alive, to be fully present. This is what life looks like; this is what life feels like.
Put your iron away! Stop trying to take the wrinkles out of your everyday experience.
Be conscious of the times when your inner editor is telling you that you have to be perfect. When you bump your knee and call yourself stupid change your language to something more loving. Forgive the person who put that chair in the way that you just stumbled over.
This is your life. Happiness is not a goal it is something you experience in the present moment. You are so worth the full experience that life has to offer you. You will be surprised when you find that your imperfection is really one of your strengths.
Don’t practice being perfect practice being you.
‘You are all of these words and so much more.’
Theresa Norris, CPCC www.norriscoaching.com
Photo by Theresa Norris