One of the things I love about the Austin neighborhoods I’ve walked through is how uniquely expressive each home is. You might see a front yard that looks like a junkyard but you *know* that each item was placed intentionally, a yard that has been allowed to grow freely without any hint of upkeep, a yard left unmaintained as to not disturb the turtles laying eggs, yards that has been transformed into garden paradises, yards with Black Lives Matter signs, or something else.
These things stand out to me because I haven’t always felt safe to express myself freely. Years of conditioning led me to believe that I needed to fit myself into other people’s prescribed boxes, that there was a way to succeed that didn’t include who I was, that there was no place for my sensitivity and emotions, that being vocal, different, and visible, resulted in some form of pain. Perhaps you’ve experienced something similar?
When I lived this way, did all the ‘right’ things, achieved the goals I set, all the while hiding what I thought I couldn’t be, I didn’t actually feel successful. It still all felt like a struggle and that I wasn’t enough or doing enough. I would then think that I needed to work harder, work more, become more productive, set a bigger goal, follow someone else’s formula… but doing more of the same didn’t give me different results.
What I discovered eventually is that the more I made room for and stood up for what was important to me… this resulted in me liking myself more, feeling more fulfilled, feeling more grounded and centered, and feeling like I was thriving. These changes in me also changed how I received others. I became more accepting and understanding of how family and other people in my circles behaved.
It hasn’t always felt easy or comfortable to go from what is familiar (i.e. the old conditioned way) to what is unfamiliar (i.e. the new). In fact, it’s often felt quite viscerally uncomfortable. But every time I’ve worked through the discomfort, it’s been completely worth it. I’m happier and the new way I show up impacts those around me. It’s a win-win.
We’re all at a point in our collective lives right now where we’re being called forth to dismantle the old conditioned ways of being (i.e. systemic racism, white supremacy, oppression of women) and inhabit more unconditional ways of being (i.e. embracing our differences, racial and gender equality) so that we can all thrive. We each have our part to play in this transformation and there are many different ways to engage.
However you engage, keep in mind that your individual consciousness contributes to the global consciousness. So while you’re educating yourself, sharing posts, engaging in conversations, standing up for others, making changes in how you run your business, etc… also do the work in being unconditional with yourself. Embrace who you are. Love yourself. Make room for what’s important. Stand up for what matters. Not later, not after you achieve something, or get better, or after you change yourself. But now. You’re worth it.
This ‘work’ you do to embrace who you are unconditionally opens up doors and possibilities for others to do the same.