I was having a conversation with myself this morning as I cooked breakfast about how we choose to show up in the world – and the different between a carefully crafted appearance vs. allowing yourself to truly stand in your own light.
For many years, my presence in the world was that of a pre-rehearsed, glossed over and highly ambitious woman. I pulled myself together. I showed up. I worked through things in private so that I would have an answer for every question and every angle worked out ahead of time.
On the outside, I was successful, but on the inside I was crumbling beneath mounting expectations, a penchant for perfectionism, and a white-knuckled grasp on being seen as good as possible – all of the time.
I valued being perceived as good more than living authentically, because my center of power was external. It was in the approving smiles, validating words, and high grades for performance.
But, when I was alone – without the A’s and the you are so wonderfuls – I felt like I was deeply flawed and unlovable.
When I was alone, I was a project to be fixed.
When I was alone, I found myself in a constant state of apologizing for who I was, at the core of it all.
But, now, I give myself permission to show up messy.
This “messiness” is the unfiltered, unrehearsed, and operating from the heart version of myself. It means that, sometimes, I spill coffee on my shirt or scream out of anger or publish something only partially formed.
But it also means that I am, for that moment, free from the grip of perfectionism.
And that I am allowing myself, again and again, to be who I am and that, in this allowance, I am blossoming into my own fullness.
Acceptance does not mean stagnation. It does not mean that you stop striving for more or better. It doesn’t mean that you just lay yourself down on the couch and surrender to a life of bonbons and daytime TV.
To be good… and angry.
To be pulled together… and still not have all of the answers.
To love yourself now… and want to work harder to take better care of your body.
Possibility lives within this realm of permission and acceptance. The chance to be seen truly as you are – and to be loved for exactly that. The opportunity to show up in the world and contribute your essence – without the constant urge to shrink yourself in the fear that you might fail.
But, most importantly, this is where freedom lives.
Freedom to choose how you want to be in the world, to recalibrate your own definition of what is and what is not good enough.
Freedom to say: This is me. This is good. And I’m going to keep going.
Today, as you are preparing yourself to move out into the world or damning yourself for a perceived failure… be gentle with yourself. Allow yourself a moment to drop down out of your head and into your body, into your heart.
Give yourself permission to see all of the good that lies deep inside of you.
Give yourself permission to know that you building your capacity for allowance in order to allow yourself the chance to shine fully, as all that you are.