Recently, I have been thinking a lot about my last blog post that was about feeling apprehensive or fearful at times to share my LIFE. Not just online, but in general. My impulse to hide out and avoid was becoming a problem.
I found myself challenged to dig deep to overcome feeling nervous to share my evolving beliefs and/or opinions, decisions, pursuits, frustrations, failures, and even achievements, in an attempt to avoid critics and the inevitable “vulnerability hangover”.
I had shared that I was feeling myself begin to break free from the prison of those fears, and just simply allow myself to show up and be seen…regardless of the copious “what ifs”.
The challenge has been just letting it all hang out in the open, for all to see and observe, without feeling like I should (or could?!) somehow try to control how I was being perceived or understood. Learning the art of practicing surrendering myself to the change and growth being laid before me, and continuing on my path without owing anyone an explanation.
Ironically, becoming the closest version (so far!) to my most authentic self, has felt like a slow death. I am grieving the person I used to be, while allowing this new, bolder version of myself to come forward and plant her flag in whatever her “thing” may be (shout out to Gary V! #IYKYK) while resisting the urge to seek approval.
However, since posting my thoughts about that, there has been a question I’ve kept asking myself repeatedly, and it’s been gnawing on me ever since:
So, where does this fear COME from?
I eventually found answer to that, looking in the mirror staring right back at me.
I had the realization that the reason I would find myself so paralyzed in fear of what others would say or think of me is because I KNOW EXACTLY THE KIND OF MISERBALE FLASH JUDGEMENTS, ASSUMPTIONS, AND CRITISIZMS I HAVE MADE, THOUGHT AND SAID ABOUT OTHERS.
The unfounded guesses and presumptions I have made?
The mean spirited “jokes” shared with “safe people”?
The audacious speculations and narratives I have created and contributed to?
Gossip camouflaged as concern…sprinkled carelessly about from an unverified, unproven, and unwarranted ego space that felt “okay” as long as it was kept on the down low?
The ugly truth is, the origin of the fear of allowing myself to be fully seen, lies within the admission that I am afraid of receiving back to me…what I have put out there in the world.
Most of the time even allowing the target of conversation be my own friends and family, in the name of venting.
This is a super hard truth that no one wants to admit…me especially!
I am only here to call MYSELF out…but I’m willing to bet that most of us could admit deep down that this is something we do.
And, it is the very reason why (whether consciously or unconsciously) we are hesitant and fearful to share things, because we know the mean things people are capable of thinking and saying…becuase we KNOW what we have thought and said.
What we put out into the world always finds its way back to us.
Our energy is a boomerang.
And, even worse, it’s something that you don’t realize until its too late.
Theres is no avoiding it…eventually everything makes its way back.
When we judge someone else, we have already brought that exact judgement back onto ourselves, even if it doesn’t show itself right away.
This has been one of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn.
And, if we’re lucky, it’s just that- a hard lesson to learn. When you’ve recognized the pattern and behavior, admit it feels like shit, and try to make a change.
It’s a hard habit to break, for many reasons.
TIME magazine wrote an article about the actual reasons people gossip. It even highlighted the social and physiological benefits of gossiping that included a deeper understanding of ones self and those around you stating, “gossip can provide evidence of learning, offering teachable moments and providing people examples of what’s socially acceptable — and what’s not.” On top of the actual hormonal and chemical “reward” response released in the brain upon participating in gossip, making it literally addicting.
I would know.
It takes one, to know one.
So this blog post goes out, into the internet abyss, as a humble apology to those who I had no business judging or talking about, becuase when it comes back around…it just simply sucks.
There is no way to explain, defend or translate our hearts or intentions against those who have already made their minds up about us…and the lesson is to really FEEL the weight of that, once and for all, and try my damndest to NOT be that person to anyone else, ever again.
If what we put out in the world is what comes back to us, then I want to receive grace.
So that’s what I must strive to give.
If I want to continue living my life authentically out loud, in love instead of fear, without concern for what others think of me…than it requires me to withdraw from the fear based behavior that lacks integrity.
Allowing yet another part of my old self to die off and fall away.
The part of me that needed to make myself feel better by taking everyone else’s inventory.
Gossip has NEVER served me. I always regret it, one way or another, and now I know that it has also held me back and kept me living in my own prison of fear.
I’ve got PLENTY of my own stuff to work on without taking on anyone else’s stuff.
It will take a lifetime to try and get it right, but I genuinely want to try becuase the alternative is no longer a cycle I am willing to live in.
The world around me is changing and so am I.
The future I am headed for is unknown, but I am determined to arrive feeling proud of the woman I am becoming.
“Don’t waste your time with explanations: people only hear what they want to hear.” -Paulo Coelho