These last months have been a big transformational journey for me. Although the circumstances around this journey have not been easy, I am grateful for all the learnings and changes they have and are bringing with them.
When I set out, I don’t think I realized that I was about to go through metamorphosis. And if I would compare myself to a caterpillar, who wraps itself inside a cocoon to reemerge completely changed in all of its new beauty, I would say that I have not yet fully emerged. But big transformation is definitely happening inside that cocoon.
So far I think I can say that becoming a more authentic version of myself, has not just been done by making one major decision that created a dramatic shift. It has been lots of little choices and inspirations that have caused me to look at the patterns and beliefs I have lived by and compare them to what I consider my true nature.
The shift happens, when I get up in the morning and I decide to continue with the new affirmations of self-love and encouragement, even on days when I would rather not see myself. It happens, when I allow myself to step away from my desk at work and take a few minutes to connect with my co-workers on much more personal level (although my parent’s mantra of “work first” still roams in the back of my head, particularly, when the conversations last longer than a few minutes). It happens, when I remind myself that the roles I take on today and the stories that play out in my head are all my interpretations of the actual events. This is what gives me the power to lay the landscapes of the path I will be traveling today. And maybe my path is full of rocks and large roots, but it will be my decision to see them as hardships or look at them through a child’s eye and see lots of opportunity for adventure, jumping and potential joy.
In order to be held accountable and stretch myself into realms that previously have caused me fear, I am currently participating in two different challenges online. What is wonderful about them is that I am provided with prompts and suggestions of things that I hadn’t yet considered. As I am working through the process, the one area where change still seems to be the hardest for me is to let go of the fear of being judged. I think we all hold this fear to a certain extend.
What has been the most eye opening to me though is when I realized that the loudest most judging voice is coming from no one else but me. I have the ability to create endless stories in my head about other people’s thoughts or feelings about me. The fact is though that I have no evidence that the other people actually think or feel this way. Which means, I am making myself feel less worthy, based on an interpretation of my own shortcomings. It is all talk in my head: “I can’t dress this way or people will think….”; “If my co-workers see me look at my phone, even if just ones, they will think I am not a hard worker”; “If my child does xyz, the other people will think I am a bad parent”. I limit my life, based on the potential that others might think or not think a certain way about me, when I have no proof that they will. And that is why I like writing, because, when you write something like this down, you realize how absurd it sounds. Why would I live a less fulfilled life based on a potential of someone disagreeing with it?
Funny enough, when I think about someone outside of myself actually disagreeing with me, it doesn’t bring up the same fears as the potential story for it does in my head. It is the anticipation of misunderstanding and judgment that hurts, rather than someone actually doing it.
And so, I am working on fact checking the stories playing out in my head every single day. I am also allowing myself to speak my mind and stretching the potential for someone actually judging me for my opinions. I am daring to step into the bad stories that I am fabricating in my head, knowing that if it ultimately happens that someone judges me for what I say or what I do, I will take it as a judgment on a particular opinion or behavior, but not a judgment of me as a person as a whole.