Self-doubt. It can be a cancer to our soul and an inhibitor to forward movement. It holds you back and causes you to see things from a tainted lens. Everyone has a little bit of self-doubt, some more than others. When it is consuming you, it takes over all areas of your life. It is hard to be full of doubt in your personal life and not have it affect your professional life, and vice versa.
The truth, though, is that there is more to you than anyone has so far discovered – that ‘anyone’ includes you. How much have you limited yourself from discovering your full potential? How often do we hide parts of ourselves out of fear of revealing our vulnerabilities? How much do we stay within the safe spaces we have created in order to not have to dive deeper into what could be uncomfortable or to guard our hearts?
Recently I had an interaction with someone who forced me to put a mirror up to myself. The interaction was unexpected and the self-reflection wasn’t exactly easy. This person is younger than me, and it made me question attitude changes that I have taken on over the last ten years and wonder why they have happened. It made me realize, whether or not I like it, that I have indeed hardened, become more rigid and lost important parts of me that are worth gaining back – because I do not believe that they are completely lost.
This short but sweet interaction forced me to ask myself, “What do you really want?” Not what I think I want, or what I think I should want or what I’ve told myself I need, but what I truly-truly want. This question then lead to the heart of the matter, which is how do I want to be in this world? Although this question is the foundation of Chapter Be, I am not sure that I have really allowed myself to answer that. I have been going through the motions, but I am not entirely sure if I have pushed myself to truly live it.
So, in an effort to make it all the more real and discover the “more” that lies within, I have started an attempt at answering this question. I want to be…
To be a good friend, sister, partner, connector, community member, etc. – you have to be present. Truly present. Social media does not = being present. It is nothing but a fancy cover. Take time to really connect. Write letters. Make phone calls. Take a friend a sweet treat for no reason at all. Return to this, because you know it makes you happy. Don’t do it to get something in return, but because the action brings you joy. Return to the days when you did not have Facebook to know what was going on, and take the time to truly connect in the now. Be present in the moment. Stop carrying around the past, which is weighing you down or worrying about the future, which does nothing but cause you anxiety.
Stop trying to force things. If it is meant to be, then it will be. You do not have the power to change things, and trying only makes it worse. Trust that good things will happen and do not be bitter when things do not turn out in the way you have pre-constructed them to in your head. Those pre-determined thoughts are doing you way more harm then they are good. Let go of creating them, and instead trust that things will turn out even better then your constructs!
Stop being afraid that your creations won’t be perfect. Pick up that calligraphy pen or paint brush and just start creating. Stop picturing it and actually do it. Try to create something every day – even if it is just sketching a quote in a notepad. Create a habit out of it, and be okay that it is going to be imperfect and kind of ugly in the beginning.
That gratitude journal that you have filled out two pages in – start writing in it. Before you go to bed at night think about the simple things that you have to be grateful for in your life. When you have a frustrating day or someone disappoints you, instead of seeing all the bad in the situation, chose to see what you have to be grateful for having learned through the experience. This change in perspective will be HUGE.
5. True to my muchness
We all have an inner spark within us. It is that light that warms us and allows us to shine. When we are living our muchness, we are living our truth. It not only affects you, but all those you come in contact with each day. Many times we push our muchness down in order to fit in or quiet it based on bad experiences we have had in the past. You have lost your muchness – take the time to find it again.
6. Approaching life with an open heart
You’ve closed your heart off. You’ve become angry and carrying anger around is nothing but a big nasty weight. Let it go. Pain is evitable in life. Protecting your heart will not keep you safe from pain – it is going to come regardless. Try to remember that you’ll never find the answers, until you set your old heart free.
7. Less serious
There are a lot of horrible things happening in the world. Turn on the news and it is easy to perseverate, worry and see all of the evil. Be aware, but also find reasons to laugh and be silly. There is a goofy side of you – tap into that crazy inner seven year old and let yourself be authentically playful.
8. Endlessly curious
Never settle. There is always more for you to learn. As you get older, this means that you have to be vulnerable. You have to be willing to say, “I don’t know. Teach me.” This means putting yourself in new and different situations, and not being the expert. It means creating a time and space to step out of your boundaries and try to understand someone else’s perspective.
The trick is to return to these as a reminder and to use them as a metric. I believe that if I live a life where I am all of these things, then everything else will fall into place exactly the way it is meant to. I have to feel them and live them, and truly believe that there is more to myself than anyone has discovered.
Images via Ulrika Sparre and The New Yorker