A friend said to me earlier this year…
“You are stronger than you think, you know.”
Hmm I pondered. Could this be true? Then I saw this saying in a magazine and I just needed to cut it out and put it on my vision board.
Strength is a funny thing. We often think of strength in terms of physical prowess. We rarely appreciate our how strong we are emotionally and mentally. While I have always felt I am a strong person, the part of me that gets fearful doubts the extent of my strength at times. In general terms, I have been able to get through a lot in life while rolling with the punches. But inside, I don’t always feel that strong. It is probably something that has been with me since childhood.
I have a bit of a secret that most people who didn’t know me WAY back don’t believe……I was actually really shy when I was young. Yup it is true. I was always fairly quiet and to myself. What happened you say? Well probably a lot of different things that helped me come out of that shell; dance classes and performing being the first. Ah you say….yup I can see that. Yes, I know…I get it…I have a flair for the dramatic. I’m Italian…what do you want from me? It’s in my blood I say:)
While life shifts have brought me out of my shell, there still is a part of me that is quiet, shy and timid. It is my Achilles’s heel so to speak, as it is probably the one that that gets in my way these days making life just a little bit harder. I am noticing it more this year as I have been going through a ton of life changes and moving full force into building my business. Stepping right up into the limelight makes it challenging to stay quiet. In fact, it appears that there have been lots of different things occurring to give me the giant heave ho out of that cozy comfort zone. So what is the issue here?
What keeps us in hiding?
What makes us believe that we are not as strong as we actually are?
Well for each of us that may be tied to stuff in our past. The chains that bind us often have to do with our gremlins. You know that ugly monsters from the 80s hit movie “Gremlin?”
Remember how they started out cute like this little guy in this clip and then grew to be all slimy and gross? Well that’s just like the gremlins inside ourselves. At first they don’t feel so bad until they end up taking over our lives reeking havoc throughout all our relationships. They are there inside us lurking until we finally begin to confront them and move through the muck.
Strength builds when we confront our gremlins or demons. Why we often don’t know our own strength is because we have not allowed ourselves to confront the things that feel so scary. We let the slimy monsters get so big that we feel like they are insurmountable. This leads to what therapists call “maladaptive coping skills” which just means that we try to eat, drink, drug, shop, sex the gremlins away. This works for a little bit…like the recent bad habit I have picked up of eating a lot of dark chocolate sugared and salted almonds… but then you are left sick and still having the icky feelings you had but now they are just amplified. It becomes this constant battle of uncomfortable emotions leading to not so good behavior leading to more uncomfortable icky emotions. The hamster in the wheel just keeps going on until you sit still and face the gremlin straight on.
Most recently I have begun the slow process of moving through the muck. “The muck” as I call it represents a complexity of different emotions which basically boil down to fear. Our minds can create fear out of anything rational or irrational. It really doesn’t matter which. For me there are some fears that are totally irrational and right now there are some that are totally based in reality. For those that are real, the only way through is by finding acceptance of what is to come. Life has some harsh realities to it but they become less harsh the more we accept them as a part of life. Interestingly enough this reminds me of something that my grandmother always says…
It is what it is
Yup this is true. Our true strength comes through when we accept what we can change and let go of the things that we cannot. As I discussed in our chat, Acceptance Leads to Freedom, it really is when we learn to accept what we cannot change that we are set free. It is the ole serenity prayer in action. I believe that when we practice this, we find that we are capable of MUCH more than we could ever imagine. Taking the struggle out of life actually really helps us deal head on with the gremlin.
Despite all of the challenges that life has presented lately, today I decided to sit my butt down with a cup of tea and chat with you. I can’t control some of what is happening but what I can control is how I deal with it and THAT makes me feel a hell of a lot stronger than I once did!
For today, what can you do that will help you feel stronger than you have thought you were? Maybe it’s something internal, maybe it’s something external but for today choose one and celebrate your strength! We are all so beautiflly strong, if only we could start being our own cheerleader, imagine what we could conquer!!
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