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Owning Who You Are

You know those effortlessly confident people?

They walk into any room and seem to feel at home. They look entirely comfortable doing the things they do, whatever those things may be. Things just seem to flow easily from them, and no matter what happens they appear poised to handle it.

What we're seeing, of course, is their external self. What goes on behind the scenes may be (which is to say, IS for certain) not what we see onstage.

But what are they doing backstage that allows them to feel so at home in themselves?

Very often, the secret is this: owning all of who they are.

Whatever comes up that feels like it might be squelched, they own it.

Anything that's been used against them to try to force them into smallness, they turn around and own it.

Whatever seems like it's too ugly or shameful to bear, they go ahead and own that too.

But what does it mean to own something that way, and how do we go about it?

To own all parts of ourselves means to accept them as they are. Not when we make the changes we've been meaning to make. Not when we're somehow "better."

Now, exactly as we are.

Say, for example, you have a habit of procrastination. What we do so often, because we've been taught to do it, is chastise and berate ourselves for what we're not doing. Even if we're not aware of this internal chastising, and even if it's relatively gentle, it has an impact on us. We're telling ourselves that something about us is wrong and bad. That it would be better---that WE would be better---if we were different. Changed. More productive, less lazy, more successful, less foot-draggy.

Whatever it is we want to be, it's not what we are now.

But, contrary to what we're taught, all this does is dig us into a deeper pit. How you are now is how you are now for a good reason. Probably for a constellation of many good reasons. What if you said yes to it instead?

What if you befriended your procrastination, and asked it what it needed?

What if you befriended your shame, your fear, your sense that it might all come to nothing? What if eventually you could say yes to every part of who you are?

But, for now, let's just start with one.

What's some part of yourself that you'd normally turn away from? How might you turn towards it today, even just a little bit? What would that look like?

Today, I say yes to my inner procrastinator. I tell her it's okay that she is how she is, and I understand that getting things done is overwhelming and difficult. I know that she'd rather watch Netflix all afternoon, and maybe add a few cookies to the mix. Which would be fine, really.

I ask her if she has anything she'd like to say to me, and when she does, I listen.

Befriending that part of myself helps her relax, and helps her feel less needy of zoning out or numbing. Paying attention to her tells her she matters, and it helps her let me know what else she might need.

Maybe she needs me to lower my expectations. Maybe she needs to work for ten minutes and then be done for today. Maybe she doesn't want to WORK at all, but wants to find a way to make today's project fun.

The only way I can know is to ask. And the only way I get to asking in any effective way, is to accept her and befriend her first.

How does all this sound to you? Might it be interesting to try? Do you have any questions about what it might be like if you do?

If procrastination or perfectionism are part of what holds you back, I have a workshop coming up to help you learn powerful, practical skills to move beyond them and do the creative work you're longing to do. Come join us!

And if you'd like just a little chunk of time to work on (or play with) something you've been procrastinating on, Co-Creation Time might be just the ticket. A group of us gathers on Zoom from all over the world, and we quietly work on our own projects simultaneously. It's magical how much can get done in that little container of space. Come join us to see for yourself!

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