Letting go of Guilt…

“it’s possible to journey to this moment and forgive your past self.”

A few days ago, I spoke to some women who are reclaiming their lives by taking courageous steps to overcome a past that includes either addiction, treatment programs, incarceration, domestic abuse, or a variety of these challenges.  I feel blessed to be invited to speak to them about one of my favorite topics, “Engaging in Self-Compassion.”  In my past blogs and videos, I’ve been told it’s been one of your favorite topics too.

Afterward, a woman came up and asked if I would return another time and discuss “guilt.”  I said I would be happy to.  She said, “I have so much guilt for everything I’ve done in my past.”  I exhaled.  I get it.  I saw her in me…I am harder on myself for my past choices than anyone has ever been on me.  So, back to my “What if’s…” Remember this one?

What if we forgave ourselves and let go of our past regrets?

Guilt…such a powerful emotion, and one that has great purpose.  It reminds you that, at some point in your earlier life, you made a decision that created pain for yourself and most likely others—a decision with negative consequences.  You now regret that decision.  You “feel” guilty.

Guilt can be a great motivator to teach the consequences of our choices.  I like to think it helps make better future choices that will lead us away from worse consequences.

Guilt gets confused with its cousin, Shame, which carries a deeper emotion of “I am something wrong” as opposed to Guilt, “I did something wrong.”

Are there any remedies for guilt?

I like to think so, but they require an honest look at your “self.”  The first is self-forgiveness.  As I stated in my blog on forgiveness a few years ago, “Although forgiveness (acceptance) might help mend relationships, it’s not for the other person…it’s entirely a process to help release the negative burden of personal imprisonment.”

Guilt is that personal imprisonment.

Forgiving yourself for decisions that you made in your past is not easy.  Beating yourself up might be something that you’re really good at…something that’s very familiar.  There’s a part of you that might feel like you don’t deserve to have a good life, you don’t deserve to be let off the hook, you deserve to keep being punished.

But to what end?  Who makes up the rules on the amount of self-punishment required to overcome our past poor choices? I, for one, believe that we all have done things that we wish we could have a mulligan or a do-over.  But here’s the deal:

What did you learn from making that choice that has resulted in you now feeling guilty?  Can you take that lesson and apply it toward creating a better life for yourself?  Can you help others understand your version of those choices and it’s resulting consequences?  Can you forgive yourself and accept (not approve) that in that time and under those circumstances, that was the choice that you made?

Lastly, I’ll beat a familiar drum.

Along with self-forgiveness, self-compassion goes a long was as one of the remedies for guilt.

Picture this:  A little girl makes the same decision that you currently feel guilty about.  She comes to you for forgiveness.  What would you say?  Would you beat her up (emotionally, I’m hopeful you’re not violent 🙂)?  Would you yell and scream at her?  Would you feel betrayed and make it more about you than her?

What would happen if you looked at her with compassion and empathy?  What if you told her that you wish she had made a different choice, and that it’s okay and that you still love her?  What if you gave her a break, and didn’t have an expectation that she would never make choices that create painful consequences?

And what if, when you looked into her eyes that were looking to you for forgiveness, you saw that it was really yourself seeking peace, forgiveness, understanding, and acceptance?  And what if you forgave yourself in that moment?  What if you let go of your past regrets and had a deep understanding that there is a divine purpose for every inch of your life?  I know it seems like a fantasy, but it’s possible to journey to this moment and forgive your past self.  Your present and future self will thank you for it.

Everyone has an Opinion…

I’m currently traveling on a plane, sitting in the middle seat between two people I don’t know. I have, of course, formed an opinion about them, but I don’t really “know” them.  That’s what we do, right?

We make judgments and form opinions.  It comes naturally, but those opinions say more about me than they do about these two strangers.

Which leads me to today’s topic:

What if you let go of the belief that other people’s opinions of you, good or bad, are your truth?

I absolutely love this topic as, when it comes down to it, I have this crazy belief that detaching from other people’s opinions just might be one of the top five remedies to creating world peace.  I’m not joking J

So, my friend, do you believe other people truly know you?  Does everyone in your life see you exactly the same way?  How about your mom, your co-worker, your significant other, your child, your neighbor?

I’m going to answer for you, “No.”

Each of these people has done what I did on the plane, they formed an opinion of who you are to them…who they think you are. They place their good or bad judgment on you, based solely on how they have experienced you. These ideas are theirs — their thoughts, their opinions, their judgments.  Some of them may be on target, but the way they see you is filtered through their ego and their values. Even if they’re not aware of it, they consciously or unconsciously compare everything to their prior experiences, their culture, gender, age, relationship to you, and many other factors.

If that’s true (and it totally is, 100%, without a doubt…you are now hypnotized), then that means how other people see you has very little to do with you and has everything to do with them.

If they like you, they probably feel good and “likeable” when they’re in your presence.  If they dislike you, they don’t feel good in your presence, or they’re avoiding your presence.  Either way, you take on the belief that you have something to do with how they feel.

Here’s two examples of how this can play out:

1. Jimmy says I’m awesome, “Jeepers…thanks Jimmy!”  I own it.  I’m awesome.  Why?  Because Jimmy said I am.  Actually, I think Jimmy’s pretty cool too!

2. Jenny thinks I’m a jerk.  That’s gotta be why she keeps avoiding me and looks so uncomfortable around me. “Screw you, Jenny!”  I get defensive.  I decide that Jenny must be a jerk.  “If Jenny really knew me, she would think I’m awesome.”

So, I accept that Jimmy thinks I’m cool but reject that Jenny seems to think I’m a jerk.  What’s the real difference between the two of them?  Pretty much nothing, because both have nothing to do with me… both are someone else’s opinion…both are their projection.

When I own the belief that another person’s opinion of me is THE truth, I can get stuck in the belief that their truth is my truth.

I’ve given my power away because of someone else’s judgment.  When I can let others have their opinion, and don’t take it on as my truth, I do a service to them and to myself.  I honor them, opinion and all, and I have an awareness that, how other people see me has more to do with who they are…not necessarily who I am.

Okay, here’s the bottom line, the take-away, the meat and potatoes:

If you look to get your self-esteem from anywhere other than within your heart and your connection to a higher power (the universe, the design team, your God (your call), you have fallen into the trap of losing yourself.

Welcome to the human race.  Notice it, have self-compassion for seeking those things from others, and then start looking for areas that you might have some hidden fear or shame.  Because, at the end of the day, not one person on this planet can reject, judge, ignore, or dislike you any more than you may already be doing to yourself.

So, what if maybe, just maybe, we can quit believing that any other person’s opinion of us is our truth?

When people judge you for being awesome, thank them, and know that what they really are telling you is that they feel good about themselves when they’re with you.  And when you’re thinking they judge you as a jerk, acknowledge their experience of you and have an awareness that something about you triggers something within them, some past person or experience, that they struggle with.  Either way, it’s an open-door to self-exploration.  Ask yourself, “What is it that they see in me?” “Do they really know me?”  Easy answer– “Nope.”

Lessons from the Dark Swamp.

Last week my blog was a series of “What if(s)…”  Afterward, a few readers asked me to discuss the specific “if(s)”, of which I’m happy to do so.

The “if” I’m starting with is,

“What if you embraced the awareness, that on the other side of the Dark Swamp, is something more beautiful than your current mind can even come close to imagining?”

So, the Dark Swamp (heavy…dark music just started).

Personally, I’ve spent some incredibly painful time in the swamp. My guess is that you have too. Sometimes the air in the swamp is so thick that you can’t see anything in front of you. Mostly in those moments, it feels like the pain will never end. Things will never be clear again.

Dark Swamps are about survival…about getting through another minute…another day…to have faith that it will eventually be okay, and a light will appear at some point.

You might be currently in a swampland — Addicted and trying to not pick up a drink or a drug to escape — Heartbroken and trying not to contact the person who used to be your everything — Feeling so much loss and trying to negotiate life without the person or pet who is no longer with — Recovering from some form of trauma and hoping to feel safe again.

You’re trying to stay alive…it feels unnatural…you’re trying to cope in a world that doesn’t feel like the world that you’ve known.  You’re lost.  You feel raw.  You want to escape.  It’s the swamp.  It’s a tough place to reside.

Okay, here’s what I know deep in my soul:

Life is life…a series of ups, downs, and sometimes a nice ride hanging out in the middle. Newton’s Third Law of Motion states, “Every action must have an equal and opposite reaction.” I might be crazy (totally am 🙂), but I believe that the depth of your despair in the Dark Swamp will be met with the exact opposing force of grace…of light.

Therefore, I wrote,

“on the other side of the Dark Swamp, is something more beautiful than your current mind can even come close to imagining.”

I wholeheartedly believe that. We break down only to rebuild ourselves stronger. We let go of people and things that don’t serve us, to make room in our lives for what is just waiting for an opening to join us. We come through this painful swampland with wisdom, with self-compassion, with respect and with self-love.  Our lives are changed in ways we never could have imagined.

So, how about you? My guess is that you have your own version of this swampy place. What did you learn about yourself in those dark moments? What did you find when you stepped out of them to discover the world that was waiting for you? Did you imagine that it would look the way it did?  Did you have gratitude and gain self-respect for your awesome inner-warrior? Did you become more in love with your spirit?

Any experience through the Dark Swamp is now a part of the new you.

It was necessary and its purpose was to bring you from where you were to where you are now. It was sent here to show you your humanity, your heart, to connect you with yourself, to find self-compassion and self-acceptance, to show you how strong you are, and to help you rise to a level that you didn’t know was possible.

If you’re currently in the Dark Swamp, please take this in:

The only way find the light that’s on the other side is to keep moving through it.

To ask for help and talk about it.  To acknowledge your pain…the isolation, the heartbreak, the confusion, the anger, the desire to check out. It’s going to get better than you can even come close to imagining.

That’s my truth.  I promise, it will get better.  What you’ve done in the past has predictable outcomes. How about trying something new?

What if…

We Believed that the answers we seek are within us…every single one of them?

We Listened to and respected our feelings as our purest truth?

We Realized that every inch of life…every moment, every celebration, and every heartbreak, has a higher purpose?

We Let Go of believing that other people’s opinion of us, good or bad, is our truth?

We Inhaled a deep appreciation for the gift that one breath of fresh air really is?

We Fell into the eyes of someone we love and fully experienced that intimacy without looking away?

We Embraced the awareness, that on the other side of the dark swamp, is something more beautiful than our current mind can even come close to imagining?

We Honestly came out from hiding and expressed the 100% unique creation that we are?

We Laughed uncontrollably as often as we possibly could?

We Allowed ourselves to be playful, without judgment or conditions?

We Honored experiences more than the words we use to explain those experiences?

We Valued self-acceptance over acceptance and approval from others?

We Recognized vulnerability as incredible courage and not as perceived weakness?

We Forgave ourselves (and others) and let go of our past regrets?

We Trusted that life will unfold tomorrow exactly how it’s supposed to?

We Opened our hearts to experiencing love without fear?

We Cherished our creativity as a message of wisdom coming from somewhere else?

We Connected to nature and experienced our fragility in this powerful, mysterious and amazing world?

We Made conscious choices in the direction of peace, unity and love?

We Quit waiting for a miracle to happen, and expressed gratitude for the miracles already happening?

We Accepted we are as amazing as we truly are?

We Understood that the purpose of life is to live our life?
We Created the world that we seek?

We Loved ourselves as much as we love our God, our child, our partner, or our pet?

We Agreed that we’re the only ones that can?

We Started right now?

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The Art of Saying “No”

How good are you at saying “no” when you need to?

Do you often say “yes” to please others and then feel overwhelmed and get resentful? If this sounds like something you do, you could be falling prey to giving yourself away to meet other people’s expectations. Instead of saying “no,” you would rather sacrifice yourself and be the best “Rescuer” and “People-Pleaser” you possibly can be…a Wonder Woman or Superman.

I absolutely have my own journey (honestly, a black-belt) as a People-Pleaser, and I’ll share some ideas on a way out of this cycle.

Would you believe me if I told you that learning how to say “no” is one of the kindest and most compassionate things you can do for yourself and for others?

It’s true. When you deliver honest and clear communication about your limitations and availability to other people, you are ultimately honoring yourself. It isn’t bad to want to please, help and assist others. Not at all. I am a big advocate of helping others, of giving where I can, of being a good member of society.

But, where things can go sideways is when we try to please others to “fit in” and be liked, approved of, and accepted.  When we need to be the one that’s always there for others, it’s many times to avoid and escape our own pain. We overcommit, and then become a martyr and become resentful, as we have neglected ourselves.

We rescue or fix other people and their problems to get an addictive “high” of acceptance and approval.

But it’s a short-lived “high.”  If we don’t learn to rescue ourselves first, we will soon feel empty again and look outward for our next person to rescue, our next victim…all in a selfish attempt to avoid our own state of victimhood.

To get out of this painful cycle of rescuing and then becoming a victim, you must learn how to set boundaries.

This can be a huge step in self-growth, because setting clearly-communicated boundaries means you’re nurturing yourself and your needs first. You also set a great example for others that you value and respect yourself and your time (your biggest non-renewable asset). You begin to see where you have been overdoing for others and under-doing for yourself.

You will be more reliable, content and consistent.

And you will be less exhausted, happier and more peaceful.

One of the easiest ways to determine whether you need to set a boundary is to ask yourself, “Does this feel right?” and “If I do this, will I be resentful?”

If you are someone who never (or rarely) says “no” to others, you are probably (pssst…you are definitely) a People-Pleaser. Notice when you say “yes” when deep down you’d rather say “no.”  That “deep down” is your answer, your gut, your intuition. It’s sending you the uncomfortable, but honest, truth (“thanks, but no/not this time/not right now”) that your mouth is unwilling or scared to speak because, as a Combat People-Pleaser, you are afraid of letting others down (#black-belt).

Of course, you want people to like you; that makes you human.

But doing things when you really don’t want to or have the available “bandwidth” is just one way of escaping perceived disappointment from others and creating predictable resentments for yourself.

So, give it a shot.

Add a few boundaries here and there. A few “Not right now” or “I’m just swamped, ask me next time” to see how it feels. It will probably be uncomfortable at first, but once you start honoring your needs first, you will feel lighter and happier.

Mostest (not a word) importantly, you will be a more genuine, honest and authentic human, BEing Unique YOU. It just might feel awesome…and it definitely will be okay, I promise.

Copywrite 2017 by Karen Solt, all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Karen Solt and karensolt.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Why I Grieve…

I did not want to write this blog…

And yet, here I am. I fought it. I started it, and then I set it aside. Then I drafted another “thought-provoking” blog, one that was more “clinical,” one that didn’t rip out my heart, one that helped me disconnect from these feelings. Obviously, since you’re reading this blog and not that one, you know it wasn’t flowing. Why? Because this is my topic. The whole week has brought me back to this topic…this place…my grief…what I’m supposed to express.

58 Dead…

I would guess that many of you woke up this week to the headline, “Las Vegas shooting…58 dead.” I don’t know what the last count was…my truth is that one dead is too many.  It feels like these shootings, these attacks, these tragedies…they’re normalizing. We wake up in outrage. “How could this happen…again?!?”

But it has. And it’s not normal. Normal is people living their lives, going to concerts, walking their dogs, going to nightclubs, socializing with friends and family, going to work, getting a good night of sleep, and doing these things without the fear that someone is going to “open-fire” on them.

But not this week. A man who seemingly had no problems (non-political, non-religious, no-mental illness, happy-in-a-relationship, wealthy) opened-fire from his hotel room into a crowd of people enjoying a country music festival. The people who survived will never be the same. So many died. The shooter is also dead. Security will heighten, which is a shame. We will talk gun control, which we should. We will dissect it in the news, which we shouldn’t. We will look for others to blame because he is dead, which won’t bring those people back.

There was a day when this would have baffled me…that day has passed, and that makes me sad.

When things like this don’t baffle us, they become normal…chaos becomes an everyday part of our world. It doesn’t have to be that way…but sometimes I wonder if peace and civility and humanity and compassion and kindness have become the oddball way of life?

So, I woke up this morning knowing that this is where I really am.  I figured out, on a much deeper level, that I’m grieving. That’s why it kept “pulling” at me. My grieving didn’t start this week…it’s been going on for a while. It’s been a variety of situations that have me in the “Grief Swampland.”

I’m grieving the lines that have been drawn in my country

The hate that I’ve seen expressed and dismissed, a new ritual of kneeling for the flag, the shootings this week and last year in the nightclub, the way my country is projecting itself in the world, the hurricanes and other natural disasters (where people and animals still need our help).

I’m also grieving personal relationships that are different than I would choose, body changes that are a part of aging and that I can’t control, a father with Alzheimer’s Disease, a mother who has become his caregiver, and on, and on, and on. My world is not what I thought it was…and that’s okay…because I want it to be better than I thought it was anyway.

Thank God, I’m grieving.

When tragedy strikes others, I’m supposed to grieve. With every aspect of life, there is a ripple effect that affects everything in its path: humanity, our environment, every living creature on this planet. I’m not supposed to like the things that I described above…we’re connected…your pain is my pain

That’s why I do the work that I do…because I want to be one more voice of change, of love, of connection. I want us to care that 58 (or more) people were gunned down and do something about it. I want us to see and “feel” what that must be like for the people who were there and the family and friends who lost a loved one. I want us to care about people with mental illness, about environmental changes, about discrimination, about imaginary “lines in the sand.” We are all in this together, whether you’d like to admit that or not. Grieving connects us with humanity.

We grieve because we connect to and understand pain; we grieve because we have lost something that we cared about; we grieve because we have compassion and empathy; we grieve because we are human.

The final stage of grieving is “acceptance.”

What I do accept is that we aren’t where I believe we can get to. And, in this moment, there are things that I simply can’t accept. I don’t accept that we can’t find a way to come together. I don’t accept that we can’t communicate and respect our differences. I don’t accept that a shooter can “legally” own 20 weapons.

I don’t accept that the line that’s been drawn in the sand is unmovable.

I don’t accept that we can’t do things to reverse global warming. I don’t accept that your color of blood is any different than mine. I’m just not there. I haven’t found peace with it and there’s a big part of me that hopes I never do.

I’m going to go walk my dog now. He’ll know what to say…he always does. He’ll tell me that God has this one…he has all of them. And that it’s okay to grieve…

It’s Called “Media” for a Reason.

The question… “Karen, why are you posting less on social media?” Me (exhaling sheepishly), “Man…it’s complicated…”

The analogy…

You arrive at a family reunion and are happy to see your Mom and Dad, your siblings, grandparents, and the rest of your relatives. You’re anticipating an awesome reunion with people you’ve known forever, and who you get to call “family.” But crap, Cousin Billy shows up and starts being completely inappropriate and making degrading comments.

Crazy Aunt Betty is already there…she’s drunk, bumping into things, and talking boisterously about the plight of the world. She brought her new boyfriend, Jimmy (who is edgy…just waiting for someone to disagree with her). Then there’s your niece, Penny, 15. She’s sitting on the couch texting and glares at you if she even thinks you’re coming over to say, “Hi.”

The Analogy Correlation…

I believe that social media’s “intention” is to create that family reunion…a quick way to connect with your family and friends to see what everyone is up to, and to share things that are meaningful.  But this “Social Media Family Reunion” also has a noticeable downside…your relatives are sometimes crazy and you don’t know who’s going to show up.

Let’s say you were feeling disconnected, so you placed your thumb on an icon, a habitual deflection from your feelings of disconnection, and BAM!!!, you’ve been blindsided by a picture, comment, or a video that confuses and shocks you. “He/She posted that?!? Wow…” Now your heart is racing, you sink, you feel beat up and bruised, weary and defeated. This is how social media has evolved for me (and I’ll be the first to admit that it takes two to tango…so back up, boyfriend Jimmy 😊).

On these “quick update” social media sites, we post things others didn’t ask for and we also absorb things we didn’t ask for.

Some of it feels icky and some of it feels good…that’s the chance you take. I’m curious how much of it serves our higher good and is creating the connection that we seek, as (to me) it often parallels the news. It is called “media” for a reason, as many times it’s sensationalized, polarizing, shocking, and depressing.

So, what if… we created relationships that were mutually beneficial…a choice, not at the mercy of some algorithm that we can’t control and frankly, don’t even understand? Having clarity that MY agenda might push your boundaries, just as YOUR agenda might push my boundaries, opens the door for conscious choice as to what you want to place into the world or bring into your life. This isn’t a family that you’re obligated to join for family reunions…it’s a family of invitation…your choice and my choice. Your boundaries are your call.

A request…

Please do some “social media soul searching” (as if that’s a “thing”), as I have. Is your social media time filling you up and creating a happier, healthier, more connected you? A life with deeper meaning and purpose? If so, keep scrolling through your newsfeed and rock on! And if not, I’ll invite you to join me in spending less time getting pulled into other people’s agendas and more time getting pulled into your heart, your purpose, your agenda. How does that “feel?” It feels better for me…so I assume it must also for you (and now I have broken the “Don’t Make Assumptions” agreement of “The Four Agreements”…crap!)

My higher self wrote this part:

Run your own show. Choose where your time and energy will be spent. You will thank you…a lot. If something doesn’t feel right, trust that. Start your own mission of removing those things that are blocking your path, so that you will see your North Star with more focus and clarity.

I’m back: I’m hopeful. There is important work to be done in this place we call “home.”  In a perfect world, I’d say, “Let’s not place our heads in the sand…let’s be aware and proactive and not consumed and reactive.” I’m beyond grateful to be on this ride of co-creating a better world with you, for all of us, no matter who you are, where you live, or who you love.  I will continue to advocate for a world where we treat each other with kindness, equality, and respect (and yes, social media can also play a role in this).

Finding Your Truth.

“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” Carl Jung

I’ll bet you’ve heard someone say, “I’m just trying to find myself.” Or maybe you have said that statement enough that that you’ve become convinced that you’re also trying to find your “self.” Guess what?

You are not lost.

That person you seek is in there, waiting for you to come back and reclaim the “true” you. If you’d like to reconnect with your lost parts, I have some thoughts about why those parts might be in hiding and how you can integrate them back into your life, with self-awareness and self-compassion.

“Finding yourself” means that you have lost you, which pretty much makes you human.

It means that you have created a false story about who you are, a secret, one that you even believe by now, and that secret has created shame about your perfect, authentic self. Exactly where and how does that happen? A great question…the confusion with this is very real…and it’s very confusing (nailed that point :-)).

If you’re looking for you, my guess would be that, at some point, you lost the ability, courage, or the vulnerability to feel safe being you. Then the questions arise, “Who am I really?” and “What is authentic for me?” and “How can I be authentic if I don’t even know who I am?”

Let’s go back in time…to a time in your life when you were 100% authentically you…

A time that you probably don’t remember. My guess would be that you were a cute, little, barely-had-hair kid in diapers…pooping, farting, burping little bubbles, giggling, crying (I mean, screaming at the top of your lungs!), and doing whatever you wanted to without consideration, hesitation, fear of rejection or self-judgment. You were you…not caring about anything or anyone other than getting your needs met and living your pea-perfect little life.

Screech!!!!! Something happened: Rejection, judgment, abandonment, abuse…something that scared you or made you feel isolated and ashamed. You might have cried for attention and been ignored (and today being ignored is unbearable). You might have been the kid that was picked last for the team (and today you are fitter than fit…or a perfectionist…or an overachiever). You might have been rejected by a friend who you were goofy with and who you trusted (and today you struggle with trust and fear of abandonment).

So, you felt rejected when you were being you…but your true rejection happened when you quit being you.

That’s when you truly lost yourself…when you started acting cool to fit in, quit dancing that weird dance that you used to love, or you tried to cover up that laugh that made you sometimes snort. Getting back to that place where you know, trust, and value weird, goofy, unique you, 100% of the time, is a lifelong journey of experiencing self-rejection, then engaging in self-compassion, and ultimately discovering beautiful moments of self-acceptance.

So, this journey of reconnecting with True You.

Where does one start? First, by getting honest…by getting real with yourself, and mixing in a heavy dose of self-compassion. You have been living a lie. That lie kicked off at some point when you didn’t feel safe to be you, it began out of self-preservation and has woven itself into your life ever since. It has become such a big part of you, that you don’t know where “True You” ends and where “Faking-it You” begins.

Find a time when you became who you needed to be out of self-preservation, even though it could be a time or a place where you were too young to remember. Find a time where you recall feeling rejected, where you hid deep in your shell. Can you place your finger on it? What happened and how did you feel? Do you recall adapting to fit in to not experience that rejection again? Did you become stronger, cooler, smarter, or did you hide in sports, addictions or perfectionism?

Who were you before that moment?

After acknowledging that you let a part of you go to keep things copacetic, to fit in, to be accepted, or even to survive in your family, here’s some thoughts about how to reclaim unique you, find belonging, and ultimately find self-acceptance:

  • Notice when you don’t feel safe being 100% yourself and get curious. If you’re being arrogant or if you’re hiding in the corner, that means you don’t feel safe simply being you. Where are you hiding and trying to fit in? At work, on social media, with friends, or even at home? What are you afraid or ashamed of? What do you think will happen if they know the real you?
  • Check in with your heart, your gut, your intuition, your feelings. If something doesn’t “feel” right, it probably is not right for you. When we betray that feeling or message from our center, we betray our True Self.
  • Step into your values…the things that you stand for, the things that inspire you. And on the other hand, be okay letting things go that don’t serve you. You do not have to do anything like anyone else…you have your own path, your own route…honor that.
  • Notice how you’re hooked and distracted from being with you. Through addictions, social media, television, perfectionism, or people pleasing? When you get uncomfortable in silence, where do you run? How do you escape being with you? Sit and be present with you…have compassion for you…your heart, your feelings, your sadness, …that a part of you is lost and scared.

That thing you seek? It’s within you.

It is you…your heart…your childlike curious, playful, giggling, dance-like-a-dork, goofy self. It is waiting for you to come back, and it is tired of being rejected and keeping your secret…the one that keeps you trying to fit in so that you feel like you belong.

You belong. Period.

You not only can come out from hiding, your heart and the world needs you to…it’s crucial that you do so. We have too many unhappy people trying to be like other seemingly happy, but probably unhappy, people to fit in. By embracing unique you, you will bring more love and peace to this world than you can ever imagine.

Lastly, you were given a one-of-a-kind human code, which means there is not one other person exactly like you…you’re special…precisely who you’re supposed to be, and where you’re supposed to be. Love that person. He or she will feel safe enough to come out from hiding when self-compassion and self-acceptance override fear and self-rejection. I’d like to meet that person someday.