Hiding behind what we think others want us to be prevents healing. It continues this script saying x y and z about me is bad, should be hidden, is unforgivable.
When we try only to put our best foot forward, we’re essentially constantly judging ourselves. Constantly deciding there is a ‘worse foot’ – a part of ourselves that’s not OK. Irredeemable. Must be hidden forever!
That means we can’t forgive ourselves. We can’t heal those wounds. And not only are we preventing anyone from really seeing us, really connecting with us – even if someone made it through that “I’m totally fine!” armor – it prevents real, healthy, amazing relationships from forming because we haven’t healed enough to let them form. Like a big sore spot, that hurts when touched and causes us to feel the need to protect and defend ourselves, right where openness to love and vulnerable connection should be. Would be, if we let ourselves heal.
Sometimes we have to present ourselves a certain way. Like this picture of me at the top of this article, looking all great and embodying my brand. That’s just professional! Sometimes we have to, right?
Hi. This is me, how I look most of the time. Exhausted, dealing with chronic pain, not able to do much. Unwashed hair, no makeup, and what I like to call “lounge wear”. I’m also that bright magical fairy like woman in the amazing professional photos done by my friend Jena. That’s me at my best, and using those pictures is me putting my best foot forward. Sometimes that’s needed.
And sometimes, we need to put our worst foot forward.
I’m self conscious about my injury and the limitations I live with due to chronic pain. It’s tough that I can’t go to concerts or go dancing or stay at parties longer than a few hours (if I’m lucky). Like many people with chronic injury – like anyone who suffers, aka, all of us! – there’s a part of me that feels like it’s my fault. Like if I just tried harder, I could be sunshine makeup me all the time. But I can’t.
It’s not my fault. It’s not yours, either.
When we hide the things we think are worst about us, they gain power over us. Because when they’re hidden, we don’t get to see people being utterly un-phased by them. Accepting them as part of us and moving the f*ck on.
This is me. Real. Reading my book. Watching TV. Singing silly songs. Hugging my boyfriend at every opportunity. This is me every day, most days. Great listener. Brave and strong, managing to smile and find things to enjoy even with migraine level pain. This is who answers the phone when my friends call, who texts my mom, who writes articles like this one, who supports my clients, who names the squirrels in the backyard. This is who lives an enchanted life with heart wild and open. Breathing deeply.
This is just… me.
There’s a Big Life waiting for everybody. But most of us aren’t living it. That’s why I wrote this book: Your Big Life, to support people in overcoming the self sabotage that’s holding them back, by sharing the incredibly powerful tools I’ve been lucky enough to discover through my work as a Mindfulness and Wellness Coach. Check out my book, Your Big Life, on Amazon.
Originally Appeared on Kathryn Hogan.ca