Sometimes we allow people to validate who we are and what we do. That can't be the way to live.
If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud." - Emile Zola
Most of us start our lives living 360 degrees of authenticity. We express what we are feeling in the moment. We cry when we are hurt or slighted; we laugh and enjoy simple pleasures as we whirl through our day. So what happened to our young and passionate selves? We absorb the beliefs, expectations and disapproval of those important others in our lives, usually before the age of reason to fit in, to pretzel ourselves by degrees, in the meanwhile covering up parts of our authentic selves.
Get still for a moment, pull out your journal, breathe and reflect on the following questions:
- When you see your younger self, who do you see?
- How does the younger version of yourself compare with your present self?
- Who are you now?
What did you suppress to get by, to be accepted and loved in your:
Have you heard any of the following phrases?
- What will people think?
- "Get a hold of yourself, you are embarrassing me."
- "Everyone is looking at you!"
Statements like the above tend to push us into a self-protective space, feeling less-than-safe, to show our true selves. We wall off emotionally and stop our authentic way of expression. When we wall off habitually, we may tamper down the anxiety, and vulnerability of not being enough to some degree; however, it is important to realize when we do so, we are also flattening out our good feelings. We cannot selectively pick and choose that which we do not want to feel without beveling the good feelings. Do you then betray yourself to please others?
An important question to ask is: "am I willing to betray others in order to be true to myself?" I have found that people who have found the courage to "live out loud" are also at peace with being true to themselves. They, for the most part, (and I say for the most part, as we are always a work in progress and never finished) have overcome most of the debilitating energy that goes with striving to please others. They have given up the need to strive for perfection realizing that it is a masquerade for seeking approval and acceptance. They may choose excellence, knowing that excellence is for their own fulfillment not to please others.
Something else that I believe is important to mention is people who are at peace with their own lives do not spend precious energy attempting to win others over to their point of view. They may mentor or advise if asked; however, there seems to be an innate respect for people's differences. Having come to terms with their own imperfections they have more compassion for the flaws, and differences of others.
Living out loud usually includes "play" which is more probable when there is permission to look silly, to make mistakes, to be open, flexible, lighthearted and willing to take risks. The ability to play seems to be intertwined with, having found a way to feel an "us-ness" rather than a "we versus them" philosophy of life. There seems to be at the core level a connection and a belief in the goodness of fellow travelers, an inclusiveness if you will, that we are all in the same kettle of soup, on a journey together.
What are your old beliefs and patterns about "play?" Is it as important in your life as your to do list? Many of us grew up in families or situations whereby living day-to-day was such a serious business that play was considered frivolous and something we may get to when everything else is done. When will that be? What do you do about play now that you are grown and have a choice? Is play an important part of your pie of life? Reflect on the importance of play in your life?
It takes courage to be authentic: a courage that is cultivated step-by-step as we let go of our shames, our "not enough-ness," and our imperfections. Living out loud is to find ourselves risking stepping out on the diving board of life to be vulnerable but complete. It is having the courage to say this is who I am, flaws and all. It is saying "I am enough. "My life may be messy, wild at times, out of step, interesting and not easy. My heart has been broken many times; however, I celebrate my life with all the courage I can muster; feeling courageous and fearful, conflicted and confused, I do this thing called life as a rebellious act!"
So, are you ready to live out loud?
Laura’s "Overcome Obstacles and Have an Incredible Life“ offers boundless guidance, addresses doubts, fears and uncertainties that may be keeping you stuck and wondering if you have missed your chance to be happy. You have not! Read or hear more at www.laurabyoung.com
This article was originally published at Laura B. Young . Reprinted with permission from the author.