If you’re anything like me, you’ll fully understand what it’s like to constantly feel the need to be more for people. To have family and friends’ approval, to measure up to colleagues, to impress potential business connections, to gain validation from total strangers…. It’s a maddening world.
I realized more than ever how and when I’m taking other people’s potential opinions first and foremost over my own opinion and preferences.
I’ve been doing things solely for myself.
Even just something basic like choosing to something that actually I really want to wear… and then watching the thoughts start to come in. “White will get dirty! You’ll look too dressed up; what’s the point of wearing that if you’re just running errands? You stuck up or something?” …Just watching the thoughts that I am creating to talk myself out of my own preferences. Wow.
I noticed that I like to find a “rational” reason — as if I need a reason why I feel like wearing a favorite piece of clothing. I realized that “because I’ll enjoy wearing it today” is just a good reason as any other. I’ve been practicing noticing my own self-bullying, then standing up for myself.
I’ve been believing in my work.
One of the biggest things that’s been holding me back from going from a menial job to a professional career is a lack of proper focus.
In the very beginning I made it all about who I was for my clients. I wanted to make sure I was perfect enough to coach others, and of course that just lead to extreme self-doubt and paralysis.
Then I made it all about making my clients very happy — which is something I can guide, but is ultimately up to them to carry out for themselves– and that just made me very needy and anxious…and paralyzed.
I’ve wavered between the two, trying to find a balance…then just a few days ago I was finally able to internalize what my coaching school has always taught:
It’s not all about fixing their problems. Nor is it all about me achieving a perfect zen-life.
It’s all about the work I’m doing.
All I can do is give my all for every session. Do my best work for the sake of my work…and my clients…and myself.
That brought me entirely back to the focus of the quality and love of my craft instead of any outcomes.
I’ve been paying attention to the beautiful little details despite moments of chaos.
Taking photos of soy-sauce marks left on a white table [above]. Noticing how the water swishes in the sink. Stopping to enjoy the moment. So damn cliched. But I think I’m finally getting it.
I’m finally seeing how the big goal won’t be forgotten if I stop and be content and amazed by the beauty of the simple everyday moment; and in fact it probably provides me what I need to get closer to achieving that big goal.
Instead of immediately wanting to escape chaotic reality by distracting myself, I surprised myself this week by actually craving a blank white wall to just look at and let my mind relax into enjoying that extreme simplicity. This is big for me.
I’ve been wearing more skirts and dresses this summer than I have in the past 10 years.
The skin on my legs aren’t great, but not wearing dresses had more to do about my fear that looking feminine would give away my weaknesses. It wasn’t about how I perceived women. It was me thinking that I needed to protect myself and put on a tough front. I used my tomboyish preferences to hide the vulnerable things within me.
For the first time I’m feeling more fun and confident in a dress than I ever have before. It’s because how I feel about myself always comes from within. Funny how simple shifts in mindset can affect the seemingly most random changes.
It isn’t easy to write about these things. I’m a naturally private person (…or is it a comfort zone? Hmm..) and these personal notations are not something I am used to expressing.
Part of me definitely feels like I’m over-sharing. The other part of me feels surprisingly relieved. As social animals it takes effort to hide information that one perceives as important, although fear and doubt can keep it hidden away.
I know that my uncomfortable vulnerability is someone else’s natural everyday state, but that’s the thing about inner monsters — with their arms too tightly around us they can shield our minds from realizing that our big fear really isn’t that big a deal at all.