Counteracting our basic instinct
Since last writing and committing to writing one post a week, it has been two weeks. I am OK with writing two in order to 'catch up', to me that qualifies, although it does not fall under 'consistent'.
The other night I was with a small group of women, women whom I trust and love very much. I facilitated my first (mini) salon conversation. The topic was 'What do I have to offer?' and I am sure some of you can relate. This question came to me when I was requested to offer something to the group. I recognized that this question often holds me back in life, an excuse per se; and that it stems from one of our most basic instincts, fear.
What came out of that conversation for me was a method in practicing vulnerability. A relatively simple method that anyone could easily use.
Firstly, I need to catch myself thinking 'What do I have to offer?' Personally, I need to slow down and allow myself time to reflect on what I am doing. This is a practice in self awareness, and it may be different for you, so please be patient with yourself.
Once I catch that thought I stop and get really present with the current situation. Getting present can be done more ways than I know of. I need to stop and be still, and allow myself time to think. Taking deep breaths works for pretty much every human body, it's just not always my go to. I'm a thinker through and through.
Once I am present to my current situation, I really pay attention to the little nuances, the things not being said. This is honestly a practice I do almost always, as it helps filter my judgements of people and situations. It is intuitive and when I want or need to confirm something, I get curious and ask questions. This allows the other person to confirm or clarify what is going on, and I learn to tune in better next time. We are all intuitive, the more you allow yourself to believe this and let go of any judgements around it, the more you will actually practice and hone this skill.
Things don't always happen in a beautiful chronological order, and sometimes my instincts are out of whack and need a little exercise. That is precisely when I practice 'letting things go' and 'going with the flow'. Easier said then done and... are you as sick of hearing these catch phrases as I am? I just have to remind myself that life works in flow, always moving, so why fight it.
In order to go with the flow, we need to 'let go' of certain things. Perhaps these are expectations, preferences, biases. What we are letting go of is often our deep seated fears, which act like a chameleon. And let's face it, when do we ever want to admit that we are afraid? It takes work to learn how to let things go, how to go with the flow. It is not learned overnight, and it is even less likely to happen when someone is telling you to do it. Really though, just back off, this catch phrase is not to be used lightly.
There is one other key point that ties all of this together, and that is one's own relationship between perfection and vulnerability. This relationship is the driving factor that fills the gap and makes letting go attainable.
Do you believe perfection exists? As a word in the dictionary, yes. What may seem perfect to you, is indeed not to another. If you have some learned beliefs that it exists and is something you need to attain, this may be the first thing you practice letting go of.
How? Vulnerability. Many of us will never allow ourselves to be vulnerable, to speak up and share our voice, especially if we are attaining for perfection. Perfection is an attempt to protect one self...I'll speak up when... I'll talk to this person when... I'll ask for a raise when...I'll (fill in the blank) when... Sound familiar? Perfection is a made up constrict that stops us from living our lives, it stops us from fulfilling our dreams, it stops us.
In practicing vulnerability... practice self awareness, get really present, if using your intuition be sure to check in and verify, let go (especially of perfection), go with the flow, and just keep practicing. It helps to take some deep breaths once in awhile too, as a reminder to myself.
It may take some deep digging to uncover what is really going on, we each have many layers to work through. Our inner chameleons reveal themselves and the layers are unfolded, one by one. Life changes, our circumstances change and we change. These layers keep being added to, so our self work never ends. Give yourself permission, talk to people you trust (maybe even a professional), cry when you need to for emotional release, scream off the top of a mountain (or roof). Have patience, and remember to love, especially yourself.
And in case you haven't caught on, this pattern is all very cyclical, one new habit feeding into the other. I could talk about this all day, and I will hold the space for you to be vulnerable. I want to see your light shine, I want to see your truth, and I want to see you grow and learn. That is why I put my red pants on.