How are you showing up?
And I don't mean what kind of transportation you're using or whether or not you glow under fluorescent lighting. What I'm referring to is the way you're being in the world. So, in other words, how are you existing in your space(s) the majority of the time? Sure, there are always different sets of circumstances for which we show up to accordingly, with our own special flare, but what I'm really pointing to is the overarching theme(s) that guide your existence. These themes are essentially stories you've written since you were a kid about who you are and how things go for you. They've formed all kinds of sub-stories and created go-to behaviours and habits and you're likely not even aware of them.
This leads me to discuss one of my most favourite topics: Story-time. I have countless stories (aka my interpretations of facts) up in my head about who I am, who I am not, etc. One of my most favourite stories, my go-to story, is the one about the Good-For-Nothing-Broken-Unfixable-Looooooooooser-Girl. She's the one that wants to do really powerful life changing things but just can't because she isn't as good as everyone else, or as smart, talented, pretty, rich enough, confident, I could go on and on and but you get the picture, right? Sound familiar at all? So that is my go-to, but I actually have a habit of recycling all of the stories as much as possible and sometimes, just when I think I'm done with a story I haul it back out again just to make sure I don't forget it. I'm sure you can agree with me that up there in that noggin of yours, it ain't always a safe and jolly place. A question to ponder: What's the title of your favourite story?
People, let's get real here for a second. Clearly no one consciously chooses to wake up one day and say "I'm going to live my life based on the thought that I, along with the whole world, think that I am a terrible human being" (or whatever your own personal favourite is) BUT WE DO, at times, live that way. Maybe not to that extreme, but there is likely some version of that story floating around up there in your head, that's affecting how you're showing up in the world. So the question is: What do we do about it?
Practice. Practice over and over and over and over again choosing something completely opposite of what that story would have you do. For instance, let's say that you're in a class or at a meeting, somewhere and there is an opportunity for you to speak up (maybe speaking in public isn't the big story-fueling event that would stop you, but there is likely something, probably many things, that you just don't do because you're afraid your story will come true--so just play along). You want to share your voice sooooooo badly but you don't for fear of it coming true; that what you want to say is stupid and everyone will think you're the dumbest human EVER (cue the music... DUN DUN DUNNNN) but this time you do speak up. And then the next time that you're out and there's an opportunity to speak, you share not once, but twice. Feels pretty bad ass right? I hear the voices saying but Heidi, "what if I do speak up in that meeting and so and so tells me that I'm not right?". And so what? You may have emotion come up after being told you were 'wrong', but you get to choose what the emotion means about you, which is nothing, because you are a human and you feel all kinds of stuff but it doesn't need to mean anything at all about who you are.
EMOTIONS ARE NOT BAD, PEOPLE. And neither are you. It's in the resistance of feeling the emotions that things tend to build up and get bigger and bigger and keep us stuck in our stuff, in our thoughts and stories about who we are. Practice just being with all of it. You're gonna have stories, but you owe it to yourself and the world to not play story-time on the regular. Instead practice showing up being you-- the little toddler version of you that wasn't afraid of what people thought, so much so that you cried and screamed when you were hungry and pooped your pants whenever and wherever you were. Sounds pretty freeing if you ask me.