True vulnerability is simultaneously the thing we must do to achieve real personal growth and also the thing that scares us the most. It’s the quality that attracts our dearest friends into our lives and builds lifelong bonds. Our “people” love us because of our vulnerability – not in spite of it.
In this spirit, I’m sharing my deepest-seated fears, in the event that I can encourage someone else. It’s time to be real.
Two months ago, I lost my job and I have placed pressure on myself to project this image of having it all together and being “good” – not fully acknowledging the nagging self-doubt that creeps in when I get quiet. In those still moments, I wonder if I failed myself at work and simply wasn’t good enough. That somehow I brought this separation on myself. That if I was really good enough, I wouldn’t be in this situation right now…
Does this feel familiar to you too?
We spend so much time and energy pretending that we have everything together and it is exhausting. It limits us from reaching our full potential and it limits our relationships. Our souls cry out for truth and deep connection, yet we often sacrifice what we need to feed our soul, for lies.
We create impossible standards for ourselves that we cannot possibly live up to and then when we don’t reach those goals, we plug those “failures” into our narrative of not being enough.
Guess what friends. We write our own story and we choose our storyline. If this “loop” feels familiar to you, let me tell you right here, right now. You are enough. Period. You are smart enough. You are talented enough. You are good enough. You are brave enough. The world NEEDS what you have to offer.
Remind yourself of the truth and celebrate your long list of successes. Celebrating ourselves can be a lot harder than beating ourselves down and it’s a muscle we must exercise. But it starts with acknowledging how we’re really feeling and being vulnerable enough to share those fears so that we can move on and not wallow in our imperfections.
The past few months have illustrated how little control we really have in our lives, yet we place impossible expectations on ourselves that we cannot possibly meet and then feel deep in our hearts as though we have let ourselves down. We compare ourselves to others and twist the facts to reinforce these false beliefs. We tell ourselves lies in secret and then bury them deep down into our being. How can I even THINK these things…? If other people knew what we tell ourselves in secret, what would they think…?
In secret, lies have power. When secrets are exposed to the light, they lose their power and and healing can begin. Call these limiting beliefs what they are. Lies.
If you have lost your job and are wondering what is next, know that you are not alone. There are millions of us (at least 21 million as of June 2020) trying to figure out what’s next. While you look for your next gig, use this time as an opportunity to figure out what lights you up and feeds your soul. What would you do with your life if you didn’t have to worry about your bills? If you could have any job or career, what would it be?
We often look at life in black and white – all or nothing. But life is rarely like that. What if you didn’t have to choose between paying your bills and doing what you’ve always wanted to do? Can you get creative and negotiate with what you need to live (the money you need to earn), and where you really want to end up (doing that thing that feeds your spirit)?
I write this, knowing that I too must make money and my path does not yet look all that clear. But most importantly, I do not want to look back on this time and miss the opportunities that I had to do more of what lights me up.
Sometimes we limit our ways of thinking by believing something is too far out of reach, not realistic, or we are afraid of what other people might think if we do what we really want to do. You know what usually separates the people who change the world from everybody else? A lot of hard work, belief in themselves and a relentless determination to do the things that scare the sh*t out of them. Every. Single. Day.
I encourage you not to waste this time. If you have a dream, find a way forward. My guess is your dream isn’t going to be a straight line to success or you would have already taken the steps you need to take. The path to your dream will probably be a winding, pothole-filled road with a few detours. The destination isn’t the real goal. The real goal is the journey along the way.
If I can leave you with anything, it’s this:
- You are more than the sum of all your perceived failures and you are perfect just the way God made you. Yes, that’s right. Perfect.
- Know that the world needs what YOU have to offer.
- If your confidence is shaken and you’re questioning everything, know that where you are right now is ok. Don’t judge yourself for these feelings and don’t try to suppress or label them. Just notice them.
- Do not give false narratives unnecessary airtime. Acknowledge your fears and feelings and let them go. They’ll inevitably pop back up – just observe them as they arise and once again, remind yourself of the truth.
- Reach out for help. If you don’t ask for what you need, people often assume you don’t need or want their help, but in reality, they are often more than happy to help you. Over the past few months, I have had many calls with perfect strangers who have been incredibly generous with their time. Make the ask.
- Do not be ashamed to be in the job market right now and do not let shame drive your ship.
- Fear is intended to keep us safe – a little bit is healthy and we need it to survive. But it will also try to limit us to what what’s familiar, which may not take you where you want to go. Recognize fear for what it is and lean into the things that scare the sh*t out of you.
- Let go of what you wanted to happen. What you expected to happen and say “yes” to what’s in front of you.
- Dream big. Dream bigger than what you think you can possibly achieve. We usually dream too small, make ourselves small, don’t achieve what we know in our hearts we are capable of and then feel disappointed in ourselves for not achieving what we know we are made for.
While it may feel like our world is crashing down around us right now, the truth is, we are no less safe today than we were two or three months ago. Lean into this time as an opportunity to take you one step closer to where you really want to go and use this separation as an opportunity to flex those vulnerability muscles – you never know where where it might take you.
Wishing you grace, peace and love today and always. Carpe diem my friends.