For the past few months, I’ve known I needed to make a change.
Fearing ramifications, though, I didn’t want to.
Instead, I carried losses for months. With each loss and piece of unsettling feedback I received; with each time I started to initiate a hard conversation I needed to have but instead (for complicated reasons) avoided, my resentment grew.
I finally made the change…
…. After months of choosing loss and resentment as the better, more attractive, option.
Wow. How powerful are fear and aversion?
That I avoided action is 100% on me. And, I fully hold myself accountable for my own resentment; which according to one of my teachers, is a form of addiction I use to avoid.
I *could* take a look at the ways it serves me to stay stuck in resentment, my strong suit.
Maybe later, though. Instead, I’ll eat a cookie.
I dunno, somewhere between the deep introspection I’d rather avoid today and unpacking why it took me so long to take action, I asked myself: What was I so afraid of?
The answer: I feared shouldering *all* the blame and criticism. Again.
Yay. *Yet another* reason I’m unlikeable.
Taking action means being seen. And being seen can feel like not being enough or too much or unattractive or unlikable or not worthy of empathy. It’s no surprise I choose to avoid until it becomes unbearable: Feeling unworthy of love and support is one of my deepest wounds, actually.
Let’s be honest, I don’t really make it easy on myself. I’m an aggressive and stubborn and outspoken woman (who doesn’t love an aggressive woman, yay!) running a company in the wellness industry. By default, this makes me visible. Or, depending on the day: a lightning rod.
In the wellness space, I regularly watch #goodvibesonly overriding any/all discomfort and spiritual bypassing and pasted-on smiles veiling the ick. I’m also on a mission to personally dial down some of the fraudulent shiny-happy in this business. If you read my blog posts or attend my classes or retreats, they generally follow the theme of: “Oof. Cranky yoga-teacher-who-has-been-studying-this-stuff-for-a-long-time-struggles-to-do-hard-things.”
Why? That all-good/all-the-time exists as an unattainable image for our comparison is heartbreaking. As if we need another “not-enough” to beat ourselves up over.
Plus, childhood issues: Everything was NOT fine.
A topic for another time.
What this process of making a change did do is remind me of the risks all leaders and creatives face every day by putting their work out there.
In this process I recalled every change I ever wanted to make – or creation I wanted to birth – but didn’t, and instead kept myself small for fear of adding to the growing list of my undesirable, unlovable bits.
It reminded me of all my moments of self-doubt. Or denying the knowing in my gut… because the mind doesn’t make it easy to perceive the difference between trusting yourself or slowly backing away from the proverbial knife.
Instead; know what jacked up thing it does all the time? When you know something is off — but then it says, “nah, it’s fine.”
A few other fun variations of this crazy train? “I’m probably overreacting,” “Be nice.” “It’s all good.” “No worries.”
I gotta tell you—it’s terrifying how often our mind overrides our gut and IS ABSOLUTELY WRONG.
This process reminded me, once again, that one of the risks of being seen is that there will be people out there feeling and saying that you aren’t enough. Or too much. Or not enough of this, but too much of that.
And, you know, I get it. I can appreciate a good strategy that it feels safer to blame.
But this experience also allowed me to stick my flag a little deeper in the sand, make a big ass X in the dirt.
I needed to, once again, get right about being seen and renew my own vow to keep creating the way my gut says to create, no matter the risk.
I think we can take comfort in knowing that if you’re a leader, you’ve got to practice taking the heat.
This polarity you don’t have the luxury of turning off: If you’re looked to for answers, you’re also looked to for all blame.
Accepting this as inevitable is a good thing, actually: it’s out of the way, so now there’s nothing to stop you from publishing your book or taking a risk or building your dream or executing your masterpiece. No matter what opinions folks have, it doesn’t have to stop you from creating.
Instead, this knowledge reminds us to be proud of ourselves. For it all: our successes and failures and the applause and the criticism and the vulnerability of putting ourselves out there. Plus, you need not apologize for anyone else’s yuck.
The change I made? It was totally fine. Barely anyone noticed; on the contrary folks applauded the change. So. This story, and all of the energy I wasted in it, was unnecessary.
Now go out and get it, Leaders. 👊