Happy Lunar Eclipse! Today the moon is full and the eclipse is upon us. Are you feeling it? Man am I ready for the next steps. The last couple of days have been like going on retreat within a beautiful hotel in Boston that held a Harvard Medical School conference full of hundreds of people. I know… retreat and Harvard Medical School sound like an odd match up…more like a mash up as they would say on Glee. But it’s true. The Harvard Medical School Coaching in Leadership and Healthcare conference has become this icon of a conference for me. It is where I feel a part of a larger mission. Where the concept of wellness coaching is not only supported but it is where wellness coaching has the spot light.
I have been twice before and had the same transformational experience. You will surely be hearing about this for quite a while as we have LOADS to talk about! But for today, I want to riff off our last tea time chat. Remember the one where I talked about getting over our fear of being big? If you weren’t around day feel free to refresh your memory Release the Fear of Being Big. During that chat I spoke about the theme of playing small and just HOW PERVASIVE it has been throughout my life. During my conference retreat I was given many opportunities to see this in it’s full light. It hasn’t been easy (it never is right?) to see this part of myself. I am being faced with realizing that this whole first part of my life I have been walking around in fear. Fear of authority, fear of losing security, fear of making a mistake (which reared it’s lovely head this weekend,) fear of not being perfect, fear of not being able to have safety and the list goes on and on. There was an exercise that I completed yesterday in a workshop on The Immunity to Change that was given by Lisa Lehey, EdD www.mindsatwork.com. The exercise helped me to see that at the core of my issues with confidence have been a deep seated belief
that it is possible to always rationally/logically know the right decision and that it is possible to not make mistakes.
Hmmmm FOR REALS? When I sat back from that one I thought
“Wow Steph you are really quite the narcissist!”
Yup on some level this is true. Underneath my perfectionistic ways has been this core belief that somehow I knew what was best. The biggest issue that I have had is that I never was listening to my heart. I, like most people, believed that it was possible to know what was right from my head. I have made every rational decision possible throughout my life. Whenever I have made a decision that was based more on my instincts or heart’s desire it was been wrought with fear and judgment; both from myself and others. I have spent so much time in the past going over and over my decisions, obsessing about the end result thinking that somehow if I spent enough time mulling things over I would come to the right decision. But really…
What is the right decision?
What does that even mean?
Good questions. This morning I began to look back in time at this theme of perfectionism, of self esteem and of fear of being truthful with myself. What I came up with is that I never really have loved myself. I have never really fully embraced and accepted myself for being beautiful just as I am. I have spent my whole life achieving as if I was trying to prove something to others. Really I was just trying to prove something to myself. Almost like I was trying to prove that I was worthy of love. The deepest, most painful part of this insight is that I am truly realizing that it was this lack of self love that drew towards me people who couldn’t love me for who I was. People who wanted me to be something I wasn’t, people who were focused on what was hot and what was not, people who themselves struggled very much with self esteem but couldn’t dare to admit to it. These people I drew towards me, while their words and actions felt harmful, they were only mirroring back to me things that I had already said to myself.
That I don’t measure up.
That who I am is not enough.
That other people are more worthy than I am.
That other people are better than I am in some fundamental way.
I spent years in high school trying to connect with people that appeared to be cool. People I thought had status. I spent years in adulthood doing the same; reenacting old hurts and pains. Getting rejected and pushed to the side; kicked around like a cat would do to a mouse. People not wanting to see me shine. Why? Are they just a bunch of Assholes (as an AMAZING conference speaker spoke about yesterday:)? Not really. Their behavior was and has been definitely asshole like but it was me. Me who was being the asshole to myself. Me would couldn’t accept myself. Me who was still that little girl so scared and insecure who was desperately seeing outside validation because she couldn’t validate herself from the inside out. I have spent my whole life picking apart myself and seeing myself only through the harshest of lights. I therefore attracted people who would do the same. People who probably did that to themselves as well. People like me whose hearts were closed down to self love. It was only in this situation that the perfect storm would ensue. Interesting to see that those that have done things to me that have felt harmful, attacking, nasty most likely had the same exact relationship with themselves as I have had. This is not such a huge revelation. I have heard for years from working in addictions treatment…
Hurt People Hurt People
But I think I never really thought how this applied to me. A situation I am currently going through that I am working on extricating myself from is so directly related to this theme. There is no way that this just happened by coincidence. It has been going on so that I could see that if I don’t change my relationship to myself, I will just continue to attract the same people my way.
While I danced from the age of 3 onward, it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I began to become more fluid with myself in my life. Today I still struggle with this but it’s getting better. The only way to transcend this theme is just that…to become more fluid, more, forgiving, and more loving. Ultimately it’s about
Yes when one struggles with perfectionism, their expectations of themselves are so robotic. I run myself as if I were a machine.
The conference had much to teach; both spoken and unspoken. But it was the unspoken that spoke the loudest. It told me to listen. Listen to the beating of my own heart…to listen to the beating of the hearts around me. And I did. I listened, I cried, I wrote (furiously at times) and I breathed. I heard something louder than I had ever heard it before. My heart spoke to me and it said…
You are Loved.
More Than You Could Ever Know.
Because You are Love.
And you are too.
You are love of the purest kind.
You are the kind of love that dark chocolate brings.
That the sunshine evokes.
The kind of love that comes from the Sun and the Moon.
That the breeze whispers and the dog tells you when he kisses you.
You are the rose, the daisy, the beautiful sunflower.
You are living and breathing and you are perfectly imperfect just as you are.
You are loved for who you are, not who you want to be or expect others want you to be.
You do not have to be anything more than you already are.
You are allowed to make mistakes.
To fall down and get up. Dust off your knees and walk again.
You are allowed to follow your heart.
You are allowed to be human.
So go out there. Be Human. Love yourself with the most furious vigor you have ever imagined.
Know that each and every cell of you is here for a reason. And that reason is to be loved and to love.
Go be the YOU BENEATH YOU. The You that was always there waiting for you to notice.
I leave you with this sign that I saw waiting for the T the other day…
Looking for some support along the way towards wellness? Come meet with me in my office in Watertown, Ma for a consultation. Contact me