“It sounds like your feeling insecure”, my friend says to me. I’m babbling. I know I am. I can feel it in my body. I’m going on in that frantic kind of way I do when I’m not grounded and running from something inside myself.
I pause. I want to tell her to fuck off but I love and respect her too much. I take a few moments. I know she’s hit the mark. I know it because I want to fight or run.
I tell her, yes. I am feeling insecure.
And something in me shifts. I’ve dropped the shiny little lie.
I heard that phrase from another wise woman in my life. She’s someone who is doing the deep work of learning to love herself. Not just the part of her that her partner wants to see. Not just the part that her mother or father wants to see. She’s finding what her whole self looks and feels like in the world. A woman, just like me, showing up to the sometimes messy work of finding her self.
I was a fairly compliant child. In a large family with a good deal of chaos that trait served me well. Add to that a society that likes its women and girls to make nice and I was all set to buy into the shiny little lie.
For me that lie says there is a precise way for me to be and if I were to just figure that out I would finally feel like I’m enough. If I could just get the rulebook I would finally feel like I was deserving of being here. For me, these are the warning signals that the lie is active:
- trying to control outcomes
- diminishing myself
- being compliant
- staying small
- being afraid to ask for help
- self criticism
For me, the antidote is:
- Tell the truth. First to yourself and then to a trusted friend. It may be in the moment and it may be the next day that you figure it out. Sisterhood is essential for this process.
- Practice self compassion. Through meditation and body movement/awareness I have found a deep appreciation for the uniquely deliciously different parts of myself.
- Find your tribe. I’m an introvert. Big time. But even I have found a group of misfits that I’m happy to call my people. It’s not always easy. I resist their love and companionship at times. Especially when I am in a spiral around the shiny little lie.
- Breathe. Pause. Practice slowing down.
- Observe your words. Am I saying “I’m sorry” frequently for random things I have little or nothing to do with? When I’m in a group and I’m sharing my thoughts I try and notice if I diminish my words by statements like, “I know this might be wrong but……”. This tells me I am acting small.
- Connect with trees and water. For me, nature brings healing. It nourishes me. Sustains me. It reminds me of something greater than myself that I’m connected to.
In the end, finding what the doorway into compassion looks like is key for me. Compassion allows me to be just another human. It says, “I love you”, even when there doesn’t seem like there is much to love. In the end, it’s truly a radical act to show up to ourselves in this way.