On International Women’s Day I decided to embrace the feminine strength of vulnerability and open up about the things I find myself doing that really displease me. I think everyone is sort of going though this; it seems like a very big call to self-awareness is happening at this moment in time.
The awareness that sexism, racism, etcetera, has prevailed although we’ve made legal changes to incorporate equality is forcing everyone to confront the gap between our authentic selves and our actions in a way we’re completely unprepared for. We don’t have any script for this. No training. Just a bunch of people who sincerely want change but struggle to find the means. We’re rewriting history here & performing each act for the first time. Impromptu. Sure, we’ve discussed our old play and how the theme was a bit wrong for us. But it’s not enough to know our old parts aren’t the ones we want to play anymore. It’s not enough to say we aren’t reusing our old tired lines—not just memorized but ingrained in us—just because we’ve tossed out the script. It’s not productive to put the onus on the set changing in order for us to play our true part. We really do have to be the change. It all starts with me.
I can only identify one attribute that transcends gender & individualism required to rewrite this raggedy old manuscript into a legendary show-stopper: Vulnerability. We need to share our challenges, drop the barriers & judgement, and overcome. Period.
Top 10 things I hate that I do: for 1-5 click here.
6. I get angry.
Red hair is no excuse because getting angry is almost never a solution. Punching a Nazi in the face isn’t going to end racism. In fact, it is more likely to perpetuate it. ‘An eye for an eye’ is more accurately ‘an eye, for an eye, for an eye, for an eye, for an eye, ad infitum’ until someone recognizes anger & revenge solve nothing, and opts for a practical approach. That’s why Martin Luther King jr. is revered. He was smart. It isn’t like he never got angry, he just didn’t let it get the best of him. If the passion of anger can be transmuted into action, productive action that brings benefit to the world, then I’ll let it be fire to the cause and be thankful for the fuel. Otherwise, my anger never really solves anything. In fact, it usually does the opposite of what I want it to do. Anger… just never produces the intended result. I’m not advocating bottling it up, but when I’m super angry it makes me very pleased with myself when I can step back, go write a letter to myself asking wtf, and come back to the situation with tools and a stance that will actually produce the effect which will drive toward the outcome I’m going for. I guess getting angry isn’t really a problem unless I get angry at other people—that’s when it gets harder to get what I want—but it sure doesn’t feel good to be angry anyway, and it strikes me as a waste of energy more often than not. Anger is not an emotion, it’s a reaction to an emotion. I want to find the real emotion & solve that.
7. I judge myself in comparison to other people.
We do it. Our minds work this way. But our hearts don’t. You know that saying that we only feel bad about ourselves because we’re comparing our “behind the scenes” with everyone else’s “highlight reel” (Steve Furtick)? A Victoria’s Secret Angel posted that last week on IG. I follow a lot of supermodels. They make me feel normal. I know that sounds weird, but if you really follow—you get to see that they’re imperfect too. I wish people wanted to see me sitting around in sweats writing & reading, which is my usual, but they don’t so I don’t post it. But if you follow me closely enough, you will see it! As you might with models too. They look like crap sometimes. And they’re insecure (Sara Sampaio posted this quote) just like anyone. Seriously. They make themselves feel bad comparing to others too. So do entrepreneurs. And musicians. Dancers. Academics. We’re on unique paths. We have strengths and we have weaknesses and there is ample room for acceptance, and even celebration, of both. When I compare myself to other people I am putting myself in a constant pendulum swing from feeling better than others to worse and back: all the while the thing I really want, the authentic self I truly want to identify with and compare my growth to, is flying by my face in the middle as I swing from one extreme to the next. No one is the same. And if anyone is, we all are. All judging proves is that my understanding is so small I haven’t even begun to comprehend the whole picture yet. I want to get wise & accept myself and everyone else as is.
8. I tell myself things I wouldn’t say to someone else.
Self-Talk. I want to speak to myself like a loving parent. It’s amazing how many things go through our minds unchecked. Since I’ve been aware of my control over the things I say to myself, life inside my own mind has become a lot more rainbows-and-unicorns but there’s still a long way to go. In fact, there’s still my-entire-life to go! Because these practices are just that. There is no deliverance day (see #5) there is only the step you’re taking right now on the journey. Self-Talk is like a little pre-recording you can make for yourself when the road gets tough or you need a helping hand that comes from the inside; I want to write myself little love notes for the rocky roads, not passive aggressive buzz kills barking out at me from the forest. The nicer I talk to myself, the nicer I talk to other people. I want to treat myself like a bestie. Sometimes I wouldn’t even be friends with the person who says the sh*t I hear when I’m feeling down. I’m making a conscious effort to turn that voice, my self-talk, into the kind of parent I want to be to myself.
9. I expect people to understand me without explaining.
I have a gift for feeling certain things really clearly. It’s a sixth sense. Some sort of super power. In that, I sometimes do weird things. A small example I’d do growing up is not saying hello and goodbye. To me, I say a very expressive hello and goodbye to everyone in the room with my whole being as I walk in or out. I didn’t get it for the longest time that not everyone could feel that and needed an expressive salutation. Fair enough. But greetings are the tip of the iceberg. The biggest misunderstanding I’ve had is with people I deeply care about. To me, my whole being is interwoven with them. When they feel left in the lurch by me not saying it in whatever way, it shocks me! I’m absolutely gobsmacked that this very obvious thing to me, that is all around & in me at all times, isn’t just a given understanding we both have. But the ‘obviousness’ of this is my understanding. What we think, feel & aspire to is not known to others! Our viewpoints are so different. And we all have super powers and talents which make us see certain things, or things in a certain way, that we need to share with others. Because they don’t get it. They see something else. Being cared about by someone with a similar gift to mine has really opened my eyes to how it makes other people feel when I expect them to understand me in my entirety. Because even with people whose senses are similar to yours, it’s still hard to tell what’s really going on for a person. Open, earnest communication is the most potent tool we have going forward, as we’re shouting back and forth swimming and drifting down the river that never stops, we need to get comfortable about explaining what we’re experiencing so we get a clearer & clearer picture of the whole.
10. I try to change the minds of people who want to hurt.
This is the last thing. And it’s maybe the biggest for me. I’ve always thought that people who hurt others just don’t know what they do. The trolls on social? I thought they were uninformed people, who truly want to be happy deep down, but need more insight—they just needed the information. People who steal loving energy to waste it on garbage, the passive aggressive friend who’s always seeming to put you down—I thought they just didn’t know life could be much better than that and would be different if they saw the truth. The one who needed to see the truth was me: some people want to hurt. There’s no explaining. And it’s a waste of energy. I have spent so much energy practicing arguments to convince these people of my own self-worth, that the things I’m saying are True, that there’s a better way to live and I want them on board. And what’s worse, the people who care about me suffer the deficit these other people have intended to make. When you’ve been hurt so many times by people who want to hurt you, then someone else happens to hurt you, you jump to paranoid conclusions that perhaps they’re saddistic. Then the person who cares for you, who wants to be happy & happens to hurt you, ends up having to own the hurts of 5, or a million, other people because those people never made up for what they took because they intended to take it. This is a harsh reality for me to face: there is no sense trying to help people who don’t want to be helped. Looking back up at #6, I discovered you can’t decide things for people anyways! It’s condescending. Save your good for the good. People will need it. And we only have so much energy to spend, I’m choosing where to invest mine wisely.
All in all, this list has really shown me one major thing: I only want my energy to go towards things that produce something of benefit for me. Things that benefit me include people I care about being happy, the world being in a good place, the environment being lush & healthy. Every single instance on this list is an example of how my finite amount of energy can either be wasted on something that doesn’t bring any benefit to my life, or can be directed to meeting the inevitable challenges concerning things that are worth a damn. I think it’s important to understand that we’re all imperfect, we all make mistakes, we all treat ourselves and other people in a less than perfect way sometimes, but by addressing it—by owning it—we can actually turn it into a strength. Whether it’s the relationship between me and myself or me and other people, being challenged, and rising above, makes us grow stronger. It’s like wind for the trees and other plants—it pushes & pulls to make them become more agile: yielding and firm.
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