This morning I was sifting through my draft posts figuring out what to write and I grabbed a post about Facebook and the pros and cons of being online. So I just spent the last 30 minutes or so editing it to the ground until I realized that I really didn't care. Not only did I not care what I was writing but I couldn't figure out what the heck I was writing it for.
Actually I do know why I was writing it - I was writing it to produce something, to have something to post up on my networks, to be sure I had blog musings for my newsletter. I was writing it because it was on the schedule and I've been behind on my blogging. It was an obligatory writing assignment like the essays you'd have to turn in when you were in school. There was nothing wrong with the post, I totally would have gotten an 'A' on it, but I deleted it anyhow.
Why? Because it wasn't authentic. It wasn't really who I am or what Living ImPerfect is about. It was just another post for posting sake and honestly, it felt like a fun sucker. And I bet you would have read it and been like - that was okay, there were giggle moments and head nodding moments tossed in there. But would it have moved you? Because if I'm not moved on my end would you feel it in my words on your end? So, this is my second attempt for the day - it's me letting you know that I didn't shine this morning.
I was playing small.
I was acting in a role: blogger, business owner, coach, head inspirational diva - pretending that you would care. How many things do I do each day that are because I'm obliged to so I go through the steps, uninspired? Is it possible to feel like I'm bringing who I really am to the table? I pulled back that post because it wasn't me - and now I'm redoing it. It's the same result - I have a post for my networks and newsletter and all the other things a post does for my business and for you, the reader. The difference is that I can feel these words. I can tell you that approaching this task from a heart felt direction is so much more powerful than just doing something on my list.
And boy do I have a list... it's filled with things I am avoiding because they are un-fun. And like the post I deleted, I can tell that if I do those things with the attitude I had this week, they won't be great.They will just be unfulfilling moments in an already short life and I'm worth more than that. I deserve to be inspired and happy to be doing even the dishes.
The lightbulb comes on... see it's not the tasks or the post or the to do item - it's me and how I approach every single thing in my day. I can look at things like I have been this week, like more crap to do on top of crap. Or I can have a serious AA (attitude adjustment) and trick myself into looking forward to doing the previously dubbed crap. I love writing in this blog but I forgot that when I approached it as an obligation.
No more posts just to post, no more doing stuff because 'I have to' or "I should". It really is as easy as hitting delete and starting with a different attitude. Heart wide open... let's seize this day and make it big and fun and meaningful okay?
Playing small doesn't mean that I'm not doing enough. Playing small means I'm leaving the biggest part of me out of my business... my heart, my soul, my spirit. Doing things through obligation or 'shoulds' serves no one. Doing things that are inspired and aligned? That's going all in.
Big changes in my household and I'm handling it like I always do - I'm painting. Okay, I don't always paint but when things feel as if there is upheaval I usually go into nesting mode where I control the only thing that I am capable of controlling, which is my home.
So last week brought a few biggies, my son broke his collar bone in football, he started Middle School and my daughter moved into her first apartment near her school. Those are big emotional pulls. I mean the kids are growing up before my eyes and I'm one step closer to being totally alone with my husband - heaven help me! It's bitter sweet. I mean it's our job to raise the kids to be independent and we're doing a good job at that. Of course I will miss my baby girl and my boy is no longer a little boy so there's a sadness mixed in.
But at the root of the issue, them growing up is something that I am not in control of - it's going to happen no matter what - and it leaves me feeling a little powerless.
And when I start feeling like something in my life is out of control, I start cleaning, purging closets and cabinets, rearranging furniture, swapping out photos or painting rooms. We moved the girl out on Saturday and I was painting the boy's room on Sunday. Last week I cleaned out my closet and got rid of three huge bags of stuff. Next week I'm painting my daughter's old room (I already picked the color - it's a beautiful warm gray).
My point is, there are times in life when things happen that are beyond our control. Our first instinct is to focus on the chaos and see if we can contain it and make sense of it and yes, to figure out if we can control it. We can't, but we try. If we let go of the need to compartmentalize and just feel the loss that's great, but I've found that unless I grab hold of my present world and dig into something solid I still feel like I'm careening out of whack.
Focus on the things you can control so that you can let go of the things you can't.
There are things we can control and manipulate. I give myself space to nest like a crazy woman because it gives my brain a place to relax and it makes me feel grounded again. It gives me the space I need to process the changes occurring around me and to feel okay about them. I purge the kitchen cabinets and sometimes tears purge out as well. By fixating on the things in my present world it allows me to let go of the emotions caused my events beyond my control. Sorting through my old clothes gives me the strength to let go of the past. Painting a room helps me look forward to a new space, a new future filled with beauty and inspiration.
So what can you control when you are feeling totally upside down, running around with your hair on fire? How can you ground yourself so that the chaos around you is more manageable? Oh and if you need help then I will be completely selfless and offer up my garage for you to organize - it will totally make you feel better!
This morning I found a gem in the underlying message of an email sent to me by DailyOm about keeping it real. I have to say that I was nodding and agreeing, ignoring the author's inference to let go of makeup and accept my wrinkles (as if that's going to happen!) until I really stopped to think about it. The idea was that we wear masks to cover ourselves and that we'll never truly be authentic until we take off those masks.
"People who keep it real don’t hide behind a mask to keep themselves safe from their fear of how they might be perceived. They don’t present a false self in order to appear more perfect, more powerful, or more independent. People who keep it real present themselves as they truly are, the good parts and the parts most of us would rather hide, sharing their full selves with the people who are lucky enough to know them... Whenever we feel that who we are is not enough and that we need to be bigger, better, or more exciting, we send a message to ourselves that we are not enough."
Makes sense right? I almost totally agree. Almost. I really feel that we can mold ourselves into anything we want to be - outgoing, happy, loving, free. We can be all of those things because they are already a part of us and who we are - sometimes buried deeply in the recesses of our being. And that's great to be able to express those aspects of ourselves, but sometimes it's the mask that helps us live up to that potential.
I'll tell you that one of the things I have always struggled with is being completely myself in every situation. As a child I was extraordinarily shy. Now people who have met me in person always look at me strangely when I say this, as if this outgoing confident woman in front of them could ever have been shy. Actually, it still pains me to meet new people and go into situations where I don't have anchors in the room. Introversion is my natural state and I force myself to get past it.
For many years I would go into full blown panic when I would go to a networking event. I mean what if people found out that I was odd, that my office often looks like a hurricane ran through it, that I hide my dishes in the oven if I don't feel like washing them, if they see that my head is too small for my butt (yes, it's an issue- don't judge me), or that I just wasn't as funny as I am in my own head? It wasn't that I didn't know my own self worth, it's that I just didn't know if others would.
So I put on a mask. I would be a super perfect woman and as long as I had on that mask I would fit in. I would find a role to keep me busy and of use so I wouldn't necessarily have to mingle - no one questions the woman filling the cups. I get that putting on this mask of perfect wasn't being authentic but I also get that it served a really important purpose - it helped me make friends. It helped me get past my fears of meeting new people and being put in new situations. And the more comfortable I felt, the more authentic I became. In a way this mask I was wearing became the gateway to actually being more me.
The more I forced myself to be outgoing, the easier it became to show glimmers of me. I could be my own quirky self, I could admit to being deeply flawed because I started to believe in myself more and more. I could fit in to places where I had previously felt like an outsider. So I totally agree with the message from DailyOm, "Whenever we feel that who we are is not enough and that we need to be bigger, better, or more exciting, we send a message to ourselves that we are not enough".
It's true - I always feared that I wouldn't be enough. But the message is also wrong. Masks serve a purpose when we are on our journey. To assume that we are all strong enough and confident enough to let our true selves out in every moment of our lives isn't realistic. It's something we can strive towards. We can bring more of ourselves into every situation. And we can use our masks to bring out parts of ourselves that we didn't know we were capable of being. Perhaps putting on that mask and starting to act in a way that we want to be ultimately results in a behavior that is second nature.
We can fake it until we make it so to speak. As a means to an end where in the end we are the best version of ourselves, why not use a little stage presence to get there, right?