mindingmybiz

This blog is my shared process in working towards integrating self-awareness with all other aspects of life, while on my way to becoming more authentic and whole.

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Self-Reflections on Real vs. Fake Confidence, In Relationships

I like who I am.  I genuinely do.  Yes, there are parts of me I feel more comfortable with than others, but they all make up who I am.  They all belong to me.  The sum of all my parts make up who I am; deep, passionate, caring, and completely lovable. Not everyone will see me in this way, at least not all the time. I don’t either, and I’m OK with that. 

Others have parts of themselves they’re uncomfortable with too, and when certain parts or emotions are expressed in me, it may provoke a reaction from others which illuminates how they feel or interact with their own similar parts.  It’s very rarely personal, but almost always revealing of how one holds certain parts of themselves, usually unconsciously.  That’s exactly why it isn’t personal, yet to the degree an individual can make space for all their parts it will impact the degree of intimacy or intimate-capacity they have for another.

In conflict, pivotal opportunity arises.  The opportunity to strengthen a connection by showing up with openness.  When the struggle (and it’s often a struggle, hence the conflict) to do this is self-acknowledged, compassionate curiosity can soften the edges.  

As a type 6 on the Enneagram, I can detect extremely subtle emotional energy, for better or for worse.  You see, emotions tell on us. They reveal what we tell ourselves about ourselves, and what we tell ourselves about others, all at lightning speed. Curiosity engages with this process and slows it down, because it all happens so rapidly. Slowing the speed down serves to prevent defensively disengaging and shutting down the process, or reacting to it by going on the offense against whatever or whomever we feel defensive towards. What often happens when we don’t consciously slow down to reflect, is a missed opportunity at best, and a self-sabotaging repeat of things we’ve later come to regret.

When an individual shows up with a non-defensive presence and can attune, or meet me where I’m at with sincere, non-judgmental engagement i.e. empathy – it is extremely subtle but profound. This is how intimacy is built, and it is also where it is lost if someone cannot engage with this process. The capacity to be intimate and emotionally available with themselves, and therefore with others is what’s illuminated in these moments. And with that, the opportunity to grow. And, there is always room to grow individually and relationally.

When the opportunity is seized, it’s truly a gift.  A gift that’s birthed in imperfection. It’s a privilege to witness this. What I’m witnessing is another sacred human’s strength and profound trust in themselves, and the impact of being trusted by them as well. There’s risk involved. I want to show up as honestly and authentically as I can, there’s little room for perfectionism in this process.

The natural slower rhythms of synchronicity within this level of intimacy spring from doing enough of this on an individual level first. When two individuals mutually cultivate this kind of space between each other there’s a shared protectiveness and enjoyment, and it’s quite nice and quite rare! So, treasure it.

And while enduring the experiences where there’s a lack of synchronicity, I’m learning to not take the misattunements personally.  It’s more than likely a ripple effect of the rapid past-time insecurities, anxieties, and defenses at play. The key word is: rapid. It cannot be overemphasized how important slowing down is, in order to engage in this process productively.

In certain cases you may find yourself in isolation when it comes to having the intention to evolve, and strengthen your own self and the relationship. When another individual (of which you have no control over) is more invested in their ego boosting their self-esteem, they will defend and resist with great effort. It’s hard to believe because it feels so personal, and it is, but it’s not about YOUR personhood, it’s about theirs. Their very own sense of self-esteem is dependent on a false self (ego) to feel secure, and there is rigidity, not flexibility, in the ego. It’s ego-preservation vs. self-preservation.

When the True self is the one fueling self-esteem, there’s an openness that emerges because the True Self, knows itself and all of its parts (the good the bad and the ugly) can belong so clearly to itself regardless of how anyone may react. It’s an integrated Self that is self-accepting.

So when you experience resistance, understand this is where you can also grow. And to be clear, resistance and defensive reactions can range anywhere from avoidance to fleeing to going on the offense by becoming either passive-aggressive or blatantly aggressive. This is indicative of ego-preservation, that results from having a fragile source of self-esteem (the ego).

When (not if, but when) this happens, you’ll have an opportunity with yourself to get very clarifying information around your own ego-preservation activities, which we all have to different degrees, and of different levels of awareness and intensity depending on how your personality operates (read up on Enneagram). The cracks in your own armor around this may likely get exposed.  Ouch. And welcome to the human race, once again. How you respond has impact. Invite yourself to become empowered.

Some of us are more easily duped by our egos than others. To those who have very sophisticated egos when it comes to self-awareness and where we are on our growth maps, you may want to ask yourself some discerning questions:

  • Do you value or dismiss what’s triggering you? 
  • Do you engage in vulnerable and compassionate self-reflection, sharing this with at least one individual who will challenge and vet your narrative?

If not, you’ll stay stuck and your evolution will pass this opportunity by, and will return again and again until you’ve worked this through to completion.  And, may then visit your descendents for the opportunity to evolve in the next generation.

Little by little, (which is the pace that organic life grows) you’ll stretch your window of tolerating discomfort as you receive these Divinely inspired opportunities to say yes to building a sense of genuine self-confidence that stems from grace and truth.

This is how ultimately how I see adult development works, whether I like parts of it or not. 

“But, what good is that?”

We’re currently in the midst of a pandemic. “Normal” isn’t happening. In times like these, I find there to be an “illumination effect” in revealing what lurks in the shadows of everyday distractions. Take away the distractions, the daily routines and “normalcy” – you’ll find things you didn’t see or feel so clearly. Or, at least it was more conveniently overlooked. It’s in this space, I wrote this poem regarding my own intimate relationship and taking its pulse, within me.

“But, what good is that?”

I want to share myself as authentically as I can, being fully who I know I am. – With him.

But, what good is that?

I want adventure! I want to be fully awake and alive; spiritually and emotionally, not just physically! – With him.

But, what good is that?

I want to be challenged and stretched graciously yet persistently, to reach for new heights and new depths! – With him.

But, what good is that?

I want to bust free from this goddamn smothering straight-jacket of “status quo” and “fitting in” for crumbs of superficial validation. – With him.

But, what good is that?

I want us to become who we were divinely created to be, not merely who we’ve been “tamed”, “conditioned”, or “raised” to be. – With him.

But, what good is that?

I want to be wildly free, from this cage of mediocrity. – With him.

But, what good is that?

What my heart and soul long for is closeness, beyond merely physicality. – With him.

But, what good is that?

My pursuit and fight for intimacy is a result of an ongoing experience of a partner who resists intimacy, and me resisting his resistance. This is resulting in regression and degeneration – the opposite of what my heart longs for. – With him.

But, what good is that?

Why, do you keep asking me this? I’m trying to have intimacy!

But, what good is that?

The merry-go-round of resistance keeps me from what I’ve been terrified of – acceptance and the grieving through accepting what is. There is shame wrapped up in the grief. This is my inner work of healing, which I’ve been unconsciously avoiding because it’s so damn painful and uncomfortable. We are apart, together. And together, apart.

Go in peace my dear child, grieve. – With me.

“You” & Company

“You” are a complex mosaic of the kind of company (kin and nonkin) you’ve most significantly had (chosen and not chosen) throughout your life. This inner mosaic formation of your “self” began before you had the conscious choice to be aware of it. And, me too.

How you see “You” does not form in isolation but rather within our most significant relationships beginning from the beginning of your existence. Yet, how your unique “You” forms, is also organized and collated in solitude. It’s a complex dynamic of both internal and external exchanges continuously at work. You could also say, it’s a bit of a complex recipe of “nature and nurture”.

You and I are complex social-emotional bonding creatures. This is how we are neurobiologically hardwired. Once we get with this reality of being mammals; not reptiles – we are empowered with accepting reality about or own nature, and the wisdom that flows from that.

The main difference between reptiles and mammals I’m referring to is regarding how our survival depends on at least one other human being to nurture and protect us. Reptiles do little to nothing to care for their offspring, and they survive just fine in the wild. Mammals take complete care of their offspring even producing their food source from their own bodies. For mammals this level of caregiving is about survival, not just ego fortitude. But for human mammals, it gets complicated.

During what we call our “childhood” we begin to form our sense of “self”. Our “internal map” of who we are in this world gradually downloads from our first dependent relationship; our primary caregiver. We often take this for granted because it’s so ingrained in the survival of our species that we don’t think much about it, let alone meditate on this part of reality. This is not to assign blame on our primary caregiver, for the task of raising human offspring is a highly demanding, long-term job that needs a solid support system from other adults, in order to do well at (offspring that thrives vs just survives). In our modern day culture, we often lack that support system.

Now, I’m going to assume some things about you though I obviously don’t know, “you”. I’m assuming that since you’re reading this, you’re a human and therefore a mammal. And since you are a mammal, I’m going to assume that you have a complex and sophisticated nervous system that responds to your social/relational environment by providing you with involuntary (doesn’t require your conscious awareness) biofeedback in terms of how you feel, both bodily and emotionally.

For example, if you’ve been betrayed by an important person in your life you may feel several emotions. One may be anger. Upon discovery, you may experience certain sensations within your body. Perhaps a change in your breathing, heart rate, and muscle tension. Does this make you “weak” because you’re letting something “get to you”? No, you are simply being a mammal, a human one.

But if this happened while you were young and you were treated as if there was something wrong with you for having such a mammalian reaction, this would shape how you see your “self”.

I believe in adulthood, some of us have forgotten what we are, or most likely this was sadly never introduced into our upbringing. We don’t come with manuals so we’re on a lifelong journey of discovering what that would say if we did come with one. Our very own inborn interdependent nature has been sophisticatedly, shamed and denied because we judge what we don’t understand about ourselves – our very nature that needs to be nurtured, not reformed. And that nature consists of gradually forming our sense of “self” while in relation with others based on how we are neurobiologically wired.

Our sense of who we are, our sense of “self” develops in relationships, not in a vacuum. An infant needs to be acknowledged and responded to by another, to know they have a “self” that exists. Without the “other” an infant doesn’t exist. The type of emotional bond or attachment one has with their caregivers, forms the soil in where their sense of “self” starts to emerge. There is no real separation between an infant and their mother (or primary caregiver).

In toddlerhood, this is the first developmental phase where separateness is discovered. When this autonomous-from-mom or caregiver, sense of “self” starts to bud. There is a “peek-a-boo” with this emerging separate “self”. The toddler realizes this new “person” is themselves. How the caregiver responds to this adds onto the young child’s developing sense of who they are. If this get labeled as “naughty” or “mischievous” behavior by mom or significant people the child is bonded and dependent on, this informs the child’s way of seeing this new separate “self”. If the toddler’s exploration gets labeled as “curious” behavior and is welcomed in a positive light more than not at least, this also informs the toddler’s sense of who they are. All of this happens for the child on a subconscious level.

There is a secondary developmental phase of autonomy, and that is what adolescenthood is. It’s another step away from home. It’s a phase where you straddle needs met at home, and outside of home. The human brain is extremely complex and it takes us until we are well into our 20’s to finish developing the prefrontal cortex, which is in charge of our executive functioning. During this pruning phase in the adolescent brain, we are breaking away albeit in practice, from the home. If this is done fully in our teenage years, there is a loss of support that is still needed as we form our perception of who we are, out in the world. You see what I meant when I said that raising humans takes a long time!

As you can see, the mosaic of our sense of “self” develops over many experiences with others. I finally understand this and how difficult it is for many of us in the West to grasp. We get brainwashed into believing we “ought” to operate as reptiles and be able to develop a healthy sense of who we are, independently. Then, to be this independent person in the world who pulls themselves up by the bootstraps and doesn’t let relational upsets “get to them”. Or even our own emotions get to us, which is often signaling to us what kind of relationship we have with our own “Self”.

As an Emotional Empowerment Coach who has been on her own journey of “Self” and am so passionately intrigued with the role that emotions play into this, I take this work to heart. It’s important and integral to mind your own emotional business which is all about “Self development”.

It’s important, but not somber (it can be fun!) work that is truly about coming home and making that full circle journey of development. This is a profound spiritual journey, where you return from a journey out there, back to your “True Self” to find that you are truly at home, in your own skin.

I’m on my own journey of making myself more and more at home in my own skin. I hope this warmly helps with yours.

Know Your Place

Where do you look, in order to know your place?

Allow me to show you. . .

Please, have a look in the mirror.

Get to know the one staring back at you. Understand the person in the mirror – deeply, intimately, slowly, steadily, and thoroughly. You’ll find your place, inside.

In the words of Maya Angelou: “You only are free when you realize you belong no place – you belong every place – no place at all.”

This used to make no sense to me. Until, I understood for myself that freedom is found within. In making space by letting go of finding your place, outside of you.

When you truly and thoroughly claim yourself, you belong to you. Another person’s disapproval or judgment cannot displace you. You cannot be internally exiled, by another’s exile of you.

This is about personal responsibility, which is what leads to personal freedom.

To truly claim and belong from the inside out, you’ve got to allow yourself to travel the depths of all you are. You’ve got to allow yourself to feel what arises while looking inside yourself. Is there discomfort? Stay there. Gently. This is the gateway to freedom.

To the extent that you disown and deny aspects of yourself when it feels uncomfortable (often subconsciously because it’s what you experienced in your formative years) you’re abandoning yourself. It may feel “familiar” to do so. I know it has for me. I didn’t know any other way. But by doing this I was putting myself, out.

Self-abandonment will keep you in a prison cell, while giving away your power to others to define who you are. Or, to acknowledge that you even exist.

There will be certain aspects of yourself which make you feel uncomfortable. Intensely so. You may feel the urge to reject and shame certain parts of yourself. This is all a part of the healing journey. There’s nothing wrong with you if you experience this discomfort. You can start by being present and curious with your inner-banisher, for this too is a part of you. Why does this part feel the urge to banish certain parts of you? Which parts of you get the boot? Those are parts that need to receive special attention, from you.

When you abandon parts of yourself, you’re likely going to inadvertently depend on an external source to do what you aren’t doing for yourself. Perhaps because you weren’t consciously aware you did this, or haven’t trusted that you’re enough to do this.

You can and you are.

In fact, only you have the power to set yourself free. Accepting the vulnerable parts of you is an act of true inner security, strength, and courage. This is necessary and therapeutic when it happens through another person’s validation who assists in filling developmental gaps from childhood, but don’t stop here. It’s only when you start doing this for yourself, that transformation and freedom unfolds.

If you’re constantly looking for others to accept your vulnerable parts while you reject them, and you get their temporary validation – you’re still not free; regardless of how much another may love or validate you. It can be a great start, but you’ve got to take the baton sooner or later and do this for yourself as a practice. In other words; again and again.

Take note; you cannot bypass parts of yourself which make you feel the most uncomfortable. Actually let me restate that. Of course you can do whatever you want on your journey. You are the one who lives it. But know this – you will be housing a fragile sense of self that gets easily triggered by factors outside of your control. So, consider this side-effect of discomfort-avoidance as you evolve. As you evolve, you’ll likely notice yourself tolerating avoidance less, and becoming more sensitive to what you’re missing out on when bypassing the rich opportunity that discomfort often presents.

I’ve found it’s also immensely empowering to become well acquainted with different aspects within, which seem in direct conflict with one another. Give yourself time and gentleness, and convene. This is profoundly healing work. Work that pays off because it empowers you to trust yourself more and more, which includes owning your right to make mistakes and learn from them.

By doing this inner work, you give yourself the conscious awareness of how these parts have formed your personality and parts of your identity in ways that don’t serve you like they once did, and perhaps you’ve never questioned any of this because you believed “you” were rigidly set in stone. Not so. You are malleable. Neuroscience call this neuroplasticity. As a human being, you are able to form new neural pathways and always add onto your learning, throughout your entire lifespan according to your level of openness. That is how we’ve survived this long. But you don’t just have to merely survive (aka not be dead). You can awaken, thrive, and be fully ALIVE.

I believe all of us formed a “self” as a means to adapt and survive while we were young, within whatever emotional environment we grew up in, by no choice of our own. This is my understanding of what an “ego” is. The ego isn’t inherently good or bad. It’s an adaptation, a pretty sophisticated but manufactured identity or “false self” that was formed without a conscious awareness in order to protect the True-Self, while your brain was still developing, and the mechanisms to defend our True Self got wired in along the way, and often become how we see our “self” vs how we survived our childhood environments which were less than ideal for the True Self to be engage with others. These defensive strategies can also be re-learned to serve us better as we receive feedback from present day life. IF – you are not offended by the feedback because you understand it’s not about your worth, but about your programming.

Until consciously examined, the ego is an adaptive autopilot personality or “false self” consisting of various unexamined beliefs which run you. It learned quickly in early childhood about what kind of “person” you should be in order to position yourself to receive external validation at best, or not be abused or neglected (physically and/or emotionally) at worst.

In childhood we develop our sense of “self” from the outside in. Our brain codes our experiences along with the emotions we carry at the time, based on how others (initially our primary caregivers) reflect us back. This starts during our preverbal years. That is how all children start to develop, from the outside in. It takes a long time for our brains and nervous systems to fully mature and develop. During our development, from the time in utero until we are well into our 20’s, lots of experiences happen (lots of which are not optimal) which get wired in as we try to make meaning of our world; internally and externally. When we don’t have caregivers or adults in our lives who can help us make meaning from our experiences in a way that validates our worth (from them knowing their own worth) we are left to fill in a lot of blanks as young kids. That’s a pretty grown-up job for a child to fill in for, so be gentle on yourself. And this isn’t about your parents being consciously and willfully neglectful or incompetent. In most cases it’s done without their conscious awareness. In any case, this is about how you now can consciously respond.

In adulthood we have more choices. We can choose who we reach out to, we’re not confined to our parents, our family of origins ,or school teachers, etc. We have more say-so. Often we filter through who we reach out to with what feels most familiar on an unconscious level. It’s the most energy conserving way, at first. Until life gives us feedback in the form of pain. Learning to expand what is “familiar” takes intention and time. Taking one step at a time through unfamiliarity will eventually lead to new “normals” of to what feels familiar. Again, this takes time. Be patient with yourself.

In adulthood I can practice accepting parts of me that were judged in childhood. They no longer need to hide for protection, they just need connection to the rest of me, and to others who’ve earned my trust.

When you can boldly accept all your parts, even especially the weird ones – you will set yourself up to receive acceptance that is available externally and freely. If you are still not accepted externally and are respectfully being authentic; it is most likely not an issue between you and them, but an issue between that other person and an aspect of themselves they are not accepting. Often without their conscious awareness. Wish them well or farewell, you may need to grieve a loss depending on what is lost but know you are not losing your own place,, within you. It isn’t your place to force another to accept you or to force yourself to contort yourself so they can pseudo “accept” you. You don’t have to do that anymore.

Know that your place is still securely within you regardless of where others place you.

Wherever you go, you belong. Because wherever you go, there you are. And you belong to you. Saith who? Saith you.

To Humanly Exist…

What does it mean to be human?

What does it mean to be “enough”?

To be human is to be enough, and not inherently lacking.  Yet, we have needs.  We have needs that are not always met right away.  How do you cope with unmet longings without letting go of your own heart and soul?  Is it by connecting to your heart and soul, without an agenda other than to just see the soul in its purest and most vulnerable form?  No masks, no pretenses.  

Consider nature.  It shows its bare naked soul, 24/7.  I don’t see the trees trying to cover their tree nature up or hide from being seen as a tree, while trying to imitate the ocean instead.

The wind blows, and doesn’t try to flash like lightning bolts.  The sun shines its bare naked soul, and doesn’t try to alter itself and shine instead, like the moon.  The orchid doesn’t try to be like the rose and strive to grow thorns. Nature exists, naked and unashamed. 

Nature is strong and yet, it is impacted by humans who have free, independent wills.  

Humans are impacted by independent wills, while being also impacting how others use their own wills. 

What is it like to be who you are, and not try to be who you aren’t?  We have so much to learn from nature.

To be contently human means to live in the fluctuating ambiguity of what it means to long for, and yet be satisfied with what is.  It is part of the human experience to feel pain and loss, to love and reach out, while risking rejection, to let go, as well as to passionately embrace.  To experience joy and abundance, grief and dissonance, yet understand that nothing we know as we know it, is permanent.   

How to live humanly well is to live in acceptance of our power and limitations.  To live in mystery and understanding.  There are not always available answers. And yet to accept this mystery while not shutting down, or tripping up others from getting their own unique answers and experiences, is how to live well, together.

The answers I seek, the security I seek, is found in letting go of that which I cannot control.  I cannot control as much as I try to, yet I can control more than I believe I can.  My power is expansive, yet I feel constriction when I am withholding my own power, from myself.   

I am impacted by my environment, that is not weakness – it is nature at work.  I am a living and evolving creature who is impacted by her environment, and also impacts her environment.

The anchor to life’s ups and downs can be found in the most basic of ways – connection to my soul.  I’m finding my soul is similar to others yet has a uniqueness only I possess.  I can intimately engage with my soul yet, experience she is evolving and can be as mysterious as the night-time sky.  And I find what anchors me in one moment, can shift just like the night-time sky.  And what anchors me, may differ from what anchors you. I can be at peace, with all of this.

Living life well is about living in paradox, well.    

Just like the universe, it is expansive and reaches way out there and is always expanding, yet is right here, within my soul. 

And, I believe it is in your soul as well.

Soul Gardening

my writing inspirator

Relationships are like soul-gardens.  What’s lurking beneath the surface within the soil of the relationship will in time, be revealed in both people, in different ways and will impact and manifest in both individuals according to the uniqueness of each individual soul. 

Depending on how conscious both people are about which seeds are planted in their garden, you’ll either harvest something very close to your desires or, far from them. But, you will harvest whatever seeds have been planted and nurtured consistently. 

What do you want to harvest from your soul-garden? 

Think of this carefully…for the seeds you sow into your soul-garden (relationship) will also be what you reap within your own individual souls to varying degrees.  We are impacted by our relationships, and our relationships are impacted by how we perceive ourselves which in turn impacts how we show up in our relationships and treat one another. These perceptions seem small and insignificant (like seeds) but produce significant things. Think of an acorn.

Seeds have invisible power, naked to the physical eye. They hold immense energy though. Seeds are mini power-houses. What kinds of seeds are you planting into your soul-garden?  Let me say it again: Every seed will produce something, depending on the type of seed you sow.

Plant consciously.

These are some of the seeds we can plant in our soul-gardens (aka – relationships):

  • kindness
  • grace
  • patience
  • respect
  • compassion
  • vulnerability
  • authenticity
  • understanding
  • honesty
  • generosity
  • mutuality
  • passion
  • warmth
  • tenderness
  • sensitivity
  • affection
  • humility
  • freedom
  • responsiveness
  • awareness
  • openness/receptivity
  • curiosity
  • encouragement
  • inspiration

These are weeds we can also plant into our soul-gardens, which all start out in seed form:

  • judgmentalism
  • ridicule
  • defensiveness
  • competition
  • criticism
  • blame
  • withholding
  • distrust
  • shame
  • violation 
  • doubt
  • aggression
  • coldness
  • cruelty
  • secrecy
  • insensitivity
  • deception
  • apathy
  • unforgiving
  • hiding/inauthenticity
  • selfishness
  • control
  • diminishment
  • ignorance
  • resentment

What are you planting in your soul garden?  Get conscious about this, because your significant/intimate relationship is a soul garden. We are shaped by our relationships, and we can also shape our relationships by the seeds we plant. Seeds are powerful, and the more conscious you are of the seeds you plant, the more empowered you will feel as a co-soul-gardner.

Within your most intimate relationships – you have power which impacts how you experience your soul. We live in a soul-making universe, and it is my belief that the gardens of souls are intimate relationships.

I am unapologetically ME.

Sorry, but I’m not sorry for being; me.

Though, I will seek to apologize for my reactions which fall below my behavioral standards as I learn to receive or perceive rejection, judgment, and criticism while being WHO I AM. 

External rejection, judgment, and criticism are all welcome, as I consciously welcome MY AUTHENTICITY’S HOMECOMING.

There’s a cost that comes with being who you truly are.  Minimally, it will cost you the loss of temporary approval.  It could cost you more though, rather than just someone’s temporary approval, it could cost you the entire relationship if the foundation is based on you being a certain “you” that is not even really you.

There is also a cost to NOT living authentically.  And this comes through managing the effectiveness of all the ways to numb the pain that is calling you to live in alignment with YOU and to stop living a life in self-betrayal, to varying degrees.

Living inauthentically can cause you to develop a dependency on whatever in life may make you temporarily APPEAR to be secure and self-confident. You will need to invest more and more resources towards appearing this way (to others or yourself) by altering your image or even your own moods in some form to fool yourself, until YOU say – “ENOUGH”. Until then, you may settle with living a deeply insecure life, where you depend entirely on numbing out from this insecure and painful place.

In short – this insecure relationship you have with yourself is built on bullshit, and builds relationships with others built on more bullshit.  For some, a bullshit relationship is the only kind of acceptable relationship. It’s the only way they can feel safe because it’s so damn familiar; showing up in various masks, with familiar scripts. I’ve done this.  I empathize with the masked life. AND, I want more out of life than what my masks can deliver, no matter how sophisticated or glamorous they may look.

One of the masks I most comfortably wore (unconsciously) was this religious mask, mine happened to be “Christian”. While I still loosely identify as a Progressive Christian, hiding behind a rigid religious identity paid off for awhile, until my heart desired more

I’m consciously deconstructing and reconstructing my way of relating to all aspects of me, which is deep spiritual work. It no longer satisfies my soul to turn to a system of religious beliefs and practices defined by others in order to feel acceptable to the Divine and therefore, myself. Because I consciously resonant with the belief that I, as a human being am innately of the Divine.

I’m seeking to be more authentic, not “Christian” or even “spiritual”. This is what I see when I contemplate the life of Jesus or other spiritual beings who lived human lives, which inspire me.

I’ve been on this journey for a little bit. I’m finding that my tolerance level for numbing out and buying into bullshit becomes lower and lower. Simultaneously my appetite for deeper and more authentic connection internally and with others, expands.

I’m practicing authenticity, one imperfect step at a time. For me, this is what it means to be a spiritual being, having my unique human experience.

Your Secret Power-Potion: self-validation

You have an emotionally intelligence-based gift if you’re able to own the need to validate yourself (grant your emotions sacred space away from the inner-critic even especially, uncomfortable emotions). This is the basis for emotional self-care. Living with the emotional intelligence to perceive this need is a privilege which provides you with inconspicuous but indispensable benefits. And while it’s a gift for those who are emotionally sensitive (not fragile, but sensitive) it’s also a responsibility that when left unattended for too long, will create suffering. A disconnect from your source of internal power that’s waiting to be tapped into will persist, the more you resist this need.

Instead of believing this need for validation is wreaking your life because it somehow means that you’re defective, weak, or too needy – see it as an opportunity to reclaim your power.  All humans need this, because humans are more than just physical matter. Whether they see it or not for themselves, you can own this for yourself.  Does having an emotional need make you vulnerable? It depends. If you deny them – yes. Very. If you take ownership of them – then it’s a source of power. Why? Because the most powerful potion lies within you. You just need to drink it up.  

For many of us who grew up in the emotional Stone Age, our emotional need for validation has been such a tragically, undeservingly, shamed part of us. Yet, is worthy of the utmost respect.  Why? Because it’s a core aspect of what it means to be HUMAN.

If your internal well-being depends on externals in order to feel good, are you OK with feeling extremely vulnerable and powerless?

For whatever it’s worth to you – I validate your need for validation!  But trust me, you don’t need me or anyone else to validate this for you, in order to survive. You can learn to do this for yourself, with compassion and consistency.

Just as your body needs oxygen, food, and water – your soul needs validation. And you are more than just a body made up of physical matter. You have a soul, and THAT matters. 

You can feed your soul validation (which is the most powerful form of validation for you).  And THEN, you’re able to gratefully receive (versus grab onto for dear life) whatever external validation is being served up your way. External validation is based on a variety of things outside of you. For instance, how much or how little others feel validated.  External validation isn’t an accurate portrayal of your worth.  Receiving external validation in addition to yours, is an important supplement. But when external validation is your ONLY source, this is when you unwittingly become extremely vulnerable, all while you bullshit yourself into believing you’re invulnerable. When you do not practice or let alone, acknowledge your own emotional self-care needs – this leaves you wide open to being needlessly and precariously, emotionally dependent. Even if you feel you’re getting this outside of an intimate relationship like through meeting certain societal or external standards for being “good enough”, it’s still not coming from YOU. When you depend on external sources of validation, you easily become manipulated and/or destabilized either by individuals, group-think, or cultural/societal standards of your worthiness because you’ve lost connection to your internal source of power – YOU. And you let your worth be defined by others.

Being emotionally sensitive supports you to being exquisitely in touch with this universal human need for validation. And this may feel like a curse, but it is a GIFT which is worthy of being unapologetically owned, cared for, enjoyed, and talked about.    

You are no victim to your emotional needs! Though you can interpret this from a victim standpoint when you deny and shun this sacred part of you.

You possess a source of power that nobody can outright steal from you. Nobody. Consider Jesus, Nelson Mandela, or other humanitarian martyrs around the world, throughout history.

In our emotionally avoidant culture, it’s safe to say that the emotional part of you has been poorly misunderstood. You don’t have to buy into it anymore. Again – accepting your need for validation; isn’t what makes you vulnerable; quite the opposite!  It’s what connects you to your power.  

When you connect deeply to the Divine Lifesource from within, notice how this impacts how you react to external slights or invalidations (perceived or real). You’ll still notice them, but you won’t lose your footing.

Others who envy this secret potion and don’t realize they have it to, may get their sense of power/control from provoking or manipulating you. They may consciously or unconsciously invalidate it. Let them!  We’ve all been there before, and can easily slip back into that insecure place.  And still, find the courage to press on as you evolve consciously, imperfectly, and as authentically as you can – one step at a time.  

This is your secret power-potion, because when this practice of emotional self-care is done in secret, it’s powerful.

Benefits of Rejection and Disapproval…

Allowing yourself to be on the receiving end of rejection and disapproval from some, while tolerating embracing your authentic expression from self-love is a transformational yet, intense internal workout. 

Expect to sweat. And yet – KEEP SHOWING UP.

Divine opportunities often present in crises.  You’re faced with a fork in the road. You can see your circumstance from a victim-standpoint swaying to the “Woe is Me” dirge, while indignantly blaming others. Or you can reclaim your personal power in making a conscious choice. Your move here matters. Therefore; you DO have power.

If you choose to remain a victim of life at least observe honestly. Ask yourself if you enjoy blame, shame, and playing the win/lose game with life, yourself, and others. And if so, for how long and at what cost?

If you want to reclaim your personal power, even if you currently feel as if your circumstances have flushed you down the toilet bowl, well then…grab hold of a plunger. Start to unclog the conspicuous beliefs inside which no longer serve you, and keep tripping you up or keep you bound up.  You don’t need to buy into these beliefs anymore my dear. Try imagining these beliefs about you and how the Universe operates being placed in “quotation marks” or ending with a question mark, instead of a period. Even if these beliefs did serve you at one point prior, push back a little. If they can withstand the present-day experiential litmus tests of serving your highest goals in life, keep them! If you’re not sure, ask yourself if you can see where buying into these beliefs has kept you protected on some level, but now; stuck in being stuck.

You can always numb out of from frustration until it’s unbearable because it won’t disappear unless you put a lot of energy into numbing out. Even, to the point of wanting to disappear right alongside of your emotions (some call this Depression). Or, let it energize and awaken you to DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT, especially if it’s uncomfortable (some call this a Breakthrough).

I compassionately, and fiercely DARE you to STEP UP. STEP OUT of an anachronistic north star with self-preservation as the bottom-line, often selling out as staying small to avoid giving it your all.

Please, don’t sell out on yourself. Find YOUR CONSCIOUS North Star from within, and set sail. You are worth it, and your world needs uniquely you to live this one life you have, authentically. Which means, receiving rejection and disapproval as a benefit, freeing you up to receiving something greater than mere fickle approval and acceptance.

Someday, your soul will feel the quiet but clear “Thank you’s” from others for stepping outside of your comfort zone. And, your soul will thank you too.

Creative Expression of My Highest Self (in memes) – My Imago Dei

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