perfection was my protection

 

 

Yesterday I heard my coach say, “We are programmed for protection and dying for connection.” 

His statement shook me.

I felt it in my core.

I messaged him back and shared how I had said on a video just a few days prior, my perfection was my protection.

I got what he was saying.

I FELT both the power and the sadness in his words.

So much of who we are is buried underneath who we’re pretending to be.  My belief is if we want to know who we are, we must get intimately connected with the false self we present to the world.  Acknowledgment of this facade is the first step in reconnecting with our core self.

After sitting with his words all day, I wrote the following:

 

{the soul’s slow death}

Pain 

Programming 

Me 

Screaming 

Danger 

Run

Hide 

Dictating 

Me 

Build walls

Suit up 

For safety 

For us 

We must 

We have to 

Survival 

Dependent upon 

The strength of the steel

Stronger 

Stronger 

Singularly focused 

On construction 

Adding 

Layer upon 

Layer upon 

Unaware 

My soul 

Was in lock up 

I’d imprisoned myself   

In a body mask of perfection 

Intricately crafted 

With my own hands 

Built to protect 

Serving its purpose 

Fulfilling its duty 

Standing guard 

At the gates 

Pacing 

Keep out 

Keep out 

Nothing in 

Nothing in 

Blind to the consequence 

Numb to the pain 

Afraid to see 

The enemy I was fleeing 

Was trapped in with me

Death was imminent 

I was suffocating  

Inside the armor 

Collapsing under the weight 

Begging for release 

Voice hoarse from yelling

Silent screams 

Help me 

H E L P 

M E 

Set me free 

Pretending I lacked 

The ability 

To put down 

My shield 

Take off 

My mask 

Melt 

My armor 

Pretending I was trapped 

By an outside hand 

Lungs filled with metal dust 

From a decision made 

Many years ago 

Now 

Longing to connect 

Losing 

My self

My soul

My sanity 

In solitary 

Confinement 

Locked up 

Just the way 

She wanted

 

 

I feel the heaviness– the weight of the words as I read them.  This is my story and yet I know I am not alone.

It’s no longer my reality, but it is part of my past pain.

Owning this truth was the launching point for my transformation– my unbecoming.

There is hope for your healing.

These masks we wear are not who we are.

They are part of our programmed self.

Identities we craft for protection.

However, for most of us, we are moving through this world as adults with wounded little girls and boys locked up inside.  Those children longing to connect with us and with each other.  We can do it.  We can heal.  We can save our souls.  But we have to be willing.

Willing to see.

Willing to really look at the armor.

Willing to confront the costs along with the benefits.

Willing to recognize that it’s a suit we wear– not the soul we are.

Willing to feel the weight in our bones.

Willing get support in removing the layers.

Willing to remove them with love; not rip them off in anger and disgust.

Willing to meet and rediscover who we are underneath the protection.

I am not saying it will be easy.

I am not saying it will be hard.

I am saying it will be worth it.

You are worth it.

You are worthy.

 

xo,

Michelle

 

 

I quit.

 

I recently read an article by Erika Bruhn.  She says, “The truth is, quitting isn’t really giving up. Maybe, when you look further, the words “I quit” could really reflect a person’s self-awareness, mindfulness, and emotional intelligence. What if we, as friends, family, and colleagues, looked at the act of quitting as empowered, one that creates space for self-reflection, dreaming, and appreciation for what no longer serves someone? Could the prospect of saying those two words inspire a healthier path?  To quit might just be a lean into what is possible and hello to your next healthy step.”

 

This topic has been on my heart for the past few weeks.  I mean, intellectually, I “get it”.  To me, it’s sort of like a spring cleaning of my soul.  My commitment to you, my tribe, is to assess the HOW.

 

That’s what you want to know, right?  I mean, if I were you {and I am!} it is absolutely what I’d want to know.

 

In an anxious and high-strung tone I’d probably say something like, “It sounds great Michelle, but what are the exact steps????????????  If you can tell me, I can and will make it happen.  What’s the ‘right’ way to quit?”  

Here’s how my high-functioning, super-detailed, over-achiever, highly intellectual, perfectionistic brain works:

I want to know…

  • EXACTLY HOW do I do this?
  • What are the EXACT steps I NEED to follow?
  • EXACTLY HOW do I quit?
  • HOW do I figure out EXACTLY what to quit?
  • HOW EXACTLY do I deal with the reactions/responses from those things and people I do quit?
  • Please just tell me EXACTLY HOW to do alllllllllll of it!?!?
  • In fact, why don’t you just tell me what to quit and I’ll do that…

 

On the off chance that you are anything like the me I used to be and the me I sometimes still be, I invite you to read on.

 

But first, take a breath.  {Inhale and exhale through your nose}

And another.  {Inhale and exhale through your nose}

And one more.

But this time make it bigger.

Deeper.

Really breathe.

 

 

Okay, here’s the honest truth, I don’t have all the answers.

BUT WAIT!!!!!!

I’m committed to working through it.  I’m committed to asking questions.  Better questions.  I’m committed to sharing what’s working for me and what’s not.  I’m committed to guiding while I travel and sharing along the way.

With that being said….

 

1.  Get clear on what it actually means to quit.

Quitting has multiple definitions.  Here are a few:

To stop, cease, or discontinue

To give up or resign; let go; relinquish

To free or rid oneself

 

Choose the definition that feels the best to you and add on one {or more} of the following:

… spending time with or on any person, situation, environment, or thing that I actually don’t care about.

… from any person, situation, environment, or thing that depletes my joy.

… any person, situation, environment, or thing that I don’t enjoy or even like.

From this new space, quitting actually becomes imperative to your success, happiness, and overall fulfillment.

2.  Get detailed, specific awareness on what you love and what you don’t love.

It may sound elementary, but make a list.

2 lists actually.

Inspired by both Mark Manson and Sarah Knight and their work in this conversation, I started writing down what I love and what I don’t love.  Things I give a f*ck about and things I simply don’t.  It sounds easy, but from my research, very few of us actually take the time to gain this detailed clarity.

And it’s imperative that you do this before moving to the next step….

 

3.  Stop giving your f*cks to the things you don’t love.

Say what?!

Yup.

We tend to waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy overcomplicate things.

You want the simple solution?

Stop doing sh*t you hate.

Why are you spending any of your time, energy, and effort on things, circumstances, and people that don’t even have the capacity to bring you the joy you’re craving?

If you don’t care about it, if it doesn’t bring you joy, if you’re drained energetically by it, if you hate it.. why are you spending your time there?

Obligation?

Who says?

Who says you HAVE to do a thing?

Can you find another way to make money?

Can you get help doing tasks you don’t enjoy?

Can you trade or barter services?

If you need to remain in a situation or circumstance for a bit longer, can you change your attitude about it?

Let me give you an example…

I realized that I don’t give a f*ck about the restaurant where I work.

WAIT.  Don’t judge.  Or you know what?  Go ahead and judge.

I genuinely don’t care.

You see, the truth is, I care about the guests I serve.  I care about the money I make from that service.  I care about many of the people I work with.   But I don’t care about the company.  It may sound harsh and at first I didn’t want to allow that to be true, but I don’t.  I don’t care.

And when I began to recognize the amount of time, energy, and emotional output I was pouring into a thing that I don’t love or care about I was stunned into silence.  I was mortified.  I was embarrassed at how frivously I was spending my precious f*cks.

And you know what was happening to me energetically?  I was irritated.  Annoyed.  In a bad mood.  Frustrated.  Unhappy.  No fun to work with and no fun to be around.  Why?  Because I was freely throwing my f*cks out and into an environment where I didn’t care.  {facepalm}

And as soon as I stopped?  Wow.  Immediately, I was happier and more fun to work with.  I had an ease and joy about my energy that was palpable.  I took better care of the guests.  I made more money.  I didn’t spend my whole shift fighting.

So.  Much.  Better.

 

 

 

So, it starts with understanding that winners DO quit.  They just quit the right things.

Next comes the clarity.  What do you enjoy?  What drains you?  What do you love?  What do you hate?  What do you REALLY give a f*ck about?

Finally, comes the choice.  Do MORE of what you LOVE and less of what drains you.  Do MORE of what you ENJOY and less of what you hate.  Stop spending your precious time, your mental, spiritual, physical energy, emotional energy, and limited number of f*cks on the things you don’t actually care about.

 

I get that it might not be an immediate switch, but if the things that you’re doing, the conversations you’re having, and the work you’re committed to don’t even have the CAPACITY to fulfill you, it might be time to start packing….

 

xo,

Michelle