You mostly complete tasks. You’re mostly on time. You mostly do what you say you’re gonna do.
Yet somehow life is not fully satisfying. You’re not deeply rewarded for your goodness. Even when you’re praised for being kick-ass, it doesn’t feel quite gratifying.
See, mastery in the world doesn’t always equal happiness. But you knew that didn’t you? Being responsible and proficient means something, for sure. It just doesn’t mean fulfillment, love, joy.
One woman’s experience describes what many of us might feel at some point in our lives. She had trouble receiving and enjoying blessings. In exploring this together we discovered she needed support cultivating a space for herself. She couldn’t fully enjoy her thriving business, her wonderful children, her loyal friends because her inner sense of self was obscured by outward duties and obligations.
Through coaching over the years with women like you (and in working through my own stuff) here is some radical advice:
1. Stop being so self-effacing. Just stop. Stop apologizing. Stop denying praise, a compliment, recognition. Take it in. Say thank you. You get no extra points for being good at what you do and being modest about it. Practice receiving the acknowledgement that you are valuable and treasured. Don’t cut yourself off from the love and admiration someone else sends your way. Contemplate: What would it be like to let myself be affirmed and celebrated? Who am I to deny my gifts?
2. Let yourself be vulnerable. Part of what makes you so efficient and capable is that you often forget or deny just how vulnerable you are. We all are. Life can be challenging, heart-breaking, even tragic. Take time in stillness and quiet contemplation. Feel your soft susceptible parts. Touch the tender, even weak parts of you. Lower your defenses for just a moment and feel the freedom in letting your guard down. As an act of kindness towards yourself consider: In what ways am I weak or defenseless? How can I hold these parts of myself with more love?
3. Change up your routine. Switch it up. Take a different route to work. Sign up for a new class. Try a new recipe. Do something you wouldn’t normally do but maybe have been yearning to do. Honor an impulse. Follow a hunch. Pursue a secret longing. Be a novice. Let yourself be not-so-competent, not-so-skillful, not-such-an-expert. Risk failure. What new, different or challenging thing can I try? What’s stopping me?
4. Be more vain. Strut your stuff. Be selfish. Self-absorbed even. See, what I know about the competent, responsible and sensible women I work with is that it would take A LOT for you to be truly, obnoxiously arrogant and cocky. So stretching yourself in this way is a good and a relatively safe thing. Ask yourself: What’s brilliant about me? What’s my unique contribution? In what ways am I wonderful, fantastic and cool?
5. Get support. I didn’t say any of this would be easy. Of course not. Transformation is difficult. Patterns are hard to shift. After all, you’ve built up your identity around being competent. You’d be crazy to change at this point, right? Yet, the desire for more wholeness and freedom is nagging you. Reach out to someone who can lovingly guide you in your journey.