It’s real easy for me to seek outside myself for the answers.
What should I wear?
What should I say?
What books should I read?
What should I eat?
What course should I take?
Who should I follow?
What should I study?
Who should I trust?
My questions all some version of “What’s the right thing to do?”
One of my biggest drivers is to not be wrong.
In that state, I was at the mercy of everyone else while simultaneously reinforcing the (total BS, but very real) story that I can’t be trusted.
Here’s what I learned to do
Step 1 – I redefined “right”
For me, what’s “right” is what feels good for me at the moment.
My inner protector immediately said, “Absolutely not. We cannot trust ourselves with what feels good.” 👈🏻That’s part of our patriarchal programming.
I listened and acknowledged their fears. “You’re right. It is scary. And, it is going to be super fucking uncomfortable until it’s not and that’s okay. We’re going to be with it together. I’m going to be with you and we’re going to learn how to move with the discomfort and fear.”
And we did.
And we are.
Step 2 – Practice the ask
I ask myself + my body what she wants. Wants to eat, wants to wear, wants to read, wants to study, wants to do at this moment.
I ask her if and how she wants to move, when she wants to wake up, when she wants breaks, who she wants to work with and what she wants to do for fun.
Step 3 – I communicate with her + take action on her desires
Sometimes we take action right away and sometimes it’s later that day and sometimes we negotiate to a different day.
I practice trusting her by letting her lead.
And, sometimes I find myself wanting to ask someone if they think I should take a course or hire a coach or take a program or buy the book and in those moments, I smile and I pause.
I remind myself who I am and what I know and I seek an answer from the only person who knows what I want.
Now I DO believe in external support.
It’s important + necessary.
The support I invest in is support that helps ME tap into MY answers.
Why? Because I’m fucking brilliant about me.
Just like YOU are fucking brilliant about YOU and anyone who has told you differently (even if it’s you) is lying.
They are likely lying because they love you and are trying to keep you safe. And they are lying about you.
You can unlearn the stories.
You can heal your relationship with your reflection.
You can come safely home to who you really are.
i don’t know
it’s not cute
but it is
that beast within
is becoming extinct
and she’s afraid
so she rages
in her attempts
i can smell her fear
i no longer
need the sanctuary of that old story
i no longer
need the high of your attention
i no longer
need the protection of my pretending
i don’t know
the truth is
i do know
i’m done pretending
i am not
she needs me to know me
i get me
she needs me to own me
i got me
she needs me
step-up mic-up pen-up speak-up show-up
i’d been acting
like i’m not
she is begging
but that hit…
as it courses through my brain
settling in my veins
all the things
i’d been contemplating
tell me so
my attachment to the entrapment
of my addiction
seductive on the surface
is but an illusion
the comfort is deception
i no longer need
i see me
i am safe
i am safe
i got me
i am safe
inside my truth
i can expose myself
to see me
and your experience
has no power
to hurt me
full in me
is no longer
I wasn’t born hating myself and honestly, I don’t remember the exact moment that it started. My best guess is that it happened slowly. An unfolding over the course of many many years, events, and small, seemingly insignificant, moments and conversations.
All leading up to the day where I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror.
I felt unworthy. I felt hard to love. I was stuck and I couldn’t see it. What I could see was my behavior. I could see my acting out. I could see my trying too hard. I could see my drug use. I could see my drinking. I could see that I didn’t know how to relax. I could see how tense and angry I was. I could see when I sat still how my legs, feet, hands, and/or arms would shake. I could see my skin scratched red and bleeding from me clawing at myself while I rocked in place. I could see my tears. A lot of tears. I could see my poor health and how sick I was all the time. And, I could see myself shift from seemingly “fine” to hysterical anger in no time flat.
What I was not yet aware of, what I couldn’t yet see, was that I was medicating my emotions to keep up the facade I believed that the world wanted to see.
I remember looking in the mirror and hating who I saw in the reflection.
I was burnt out and exhausted.
I was negative.
I hated my job.
I complained a lot.
I was afraid of failure.
I was afraid of being exposed.
I was afraid of what success would look like.
I was unclear.
I was insecure.
I was stressed out.
And, my head talk was out of control.
Shortly after that moment in the mirror, I started a home-based business and got introduced to the world of personal development and mindset. For the very first time, I became aware of how I was sabotaging myself. For me, the problem was, WTF was I supposed to DO with that awareness?! The generic affirmations I was being given weren’t enough. They weren’t working. I didn’t have this awareness at the time, but it was almost as if they were making things WORSE because they magnified the distance between where I really was and what I was affirming.
What I really wanted was an “Easy 1,2,3 : Steps to Fix Yourself”. If I could have found anyone selling that anywhere, I’d have snatched it up immediately.
But, they weren’t. No one was. What I’ve come to know as truth is that the healing journey is individual and we must be willing to walk it ourselves.
Simply starting my new business didn’t “fix” anything because the work had to be done internally. I had success, but I was still unhappy. I felt like a loser and a fake.
Pretending to be perfect.
Pretending everything was okay.
Pretending I was happy.
Pretending I wasn’t struggling.
Pretending I wasn’t scared.
The first significant step in my healing was to put my hand up for help. To stop pretending that I had it all figured out and that I could handle everything on my own. How I was living wasn’t working and I needed to come clean.
What I’ve learned is that we cannot solve our “problems” while sitting in the same situation, with the same people, and with the same mind that created the “problems”. We need outside perspective.
Thus began my in depth journey back home to me. I’m not there yet. But, I have come a looooooooooonnnnnng way and I am obsessed with guiding others while I continue to walk out my path.
What follows are a few of the things I’ve learned in my travels…..
1. Be willing to answer the tough questions.
This is a “come to Jesus” moment. Be willing to ask and HONESTLY answer the tough questions.
What’s NOT working? Your career? Your relationship? Your health?
Where in your life are you not playing full out?
Where/when do you shrink back so that others won’t be uncomfortable?
Where in your life are you out of integrity?
How do you speak to yourself? Do you frequently use words like stupid, idiot, klutz, dumb, fat, or ugly?
How much time do you spend on self care?
How negative are you? (Think scale of 1-10)
How often do you experience anger and how quick are you to go there?
How often do you feel sad?
Do you like being alone?
How frequently are you using substances to mask your feelings? (Drugs, alcohol, sex, exercise, food…)
2. Stop pretending and own up to your reality.
Just stop it.
Stop pretending that you’re okay when you’re not. Stop pretending that you have it all together. Stop pretending that you’re always happy. Take off the mask of perfection and take full ownership of what’s REALLY happening in your life. Look at your previous answers and accept that this is your reality. This is what’s real for now. It CAN change, but the first step to change is acknowledgement of what IS.
The next step is taking responsibility for what IS.
WITHOUT JUDGMENT. WITHOUT JUDGMENT. WITHOUT JUDGEMENT. WITHOUT JUDGMENT. WITHOUT JUDGMENT.
Just acknowledge. “This is my reality and I take responsibility for the choices I’ve made that have lead to this moment.”
Maya Angelou said, “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”
There’s no blame in this space. Just acceptance. Beautiful, loving acceptance.
What you must know is that from THIS space, you can take ACTION.
3. Embrace your process and love your exquisite journey.
You didn’t get here overnight. You’re not going to heal overnight either. I have to make a daily effort to stay showing up as the REAL ME. Please give yourself time and trust me when I say you’ll save yourself a lot of energy if you’d simply be willing to drop the story that “you should have it all figured out by now” or “you shouldn’t still be struggling with this”, or whatever other BS lie you’re telling yourself.
I’ve learned exercises where I look at myself in the mirror, celebrate my wins, and tell the little girl I see in the reflection how much I love her and how very proud I am of who she is. NOT what she’s accomplishing or how much money she’s making or how many likes or comments she’s getting on her posts or how many followers she has on IG or subscribers to her blog or emails. None of those things have anything to do with who she is.
My value is innate. It doesn’t increase when I “do good” or decrease when I “do bad”. It’s completely detached from what I am accomplishing or producing.
I am worthy because I am.
I am valuable because I am.
I am enough because I am.
I’ve learned to label my identities as seperate from ME and as I’ve shared in previous articles, I’ve named them and communicate with them as the individuals they are.
I’ve learned to look backwards at how far I’ve come instead of constantly looking ahead to some undetermined place I’ll never reach because even if I get close, I’ll just keep moving the finish line to validate my “not enough” story.
I’ve learned to celebrate progress instead of exhaustively pushing for unattainable perfection.
I’ve learned to recognize that the identities that pop up aren’t ME, they’re simply a PART of me that is feeling unloved.
I’ve learned to love them.
I’ve reframed my fears from something to be avoided at all costs, to signs that I must be growing and confirmation that I’m moving in the right direction.
I’ve learned that I need a support system to help me. I need a coach. I need an accountability partner. I need live events. I need mentors. I cannot do it alone. (I’ve also learned that you can’t either.)
Truth be told, I still battle my dark side. But now, I bring it out to the open. I don’t pretend it’s not there. I don’t shame myself for having a dark side. I’m not embarrassed of that part of me anymore. I actually think she’s beautiful. When I recognize that she’s in control, I reach out to my accountability partners, I post in my support groups, and I receive love, support, and acknowledgement that I am not alone.
I share this so you know you are not alone. I share this to give you hope for what’s possible. I share this to offer a first step or a next step depending on where you’re at in your journey. I share this so that you know I recognize “stuck” as a real place. I share this in the hope to breathe belief in you as you walk out your own healing journey. I share this to offer support and a safe space.
Me? I’m perfectly imperfect. And, more often than not, I am pretty damn proud of that.
Image via Princess-Hanners on DeviantArt
I mean, I’m certain I have heard the word before…
But you know how you hear something that you’ve heard before and for some reason at one particular moment in time it lands with you in a new and different way?
That describes my relationship with identities.
I was at a coaching mastermind just a couple of months ago when I became acutely aware that there are different parts of me that show up in different situations.
Like, distinctly different people.
You see, there’d be moments where I was confident and bold and fierce in my language and advocacy for another and yet, there’d be other moments (in the same day or the same hour) where I felt insignificant and not good enough and like I needed to learn more before I could serve others and fully step into my powerful self.
Does this sound familiar?
In the past I have sometimes felt like a crazy woman, so if you’re thinking the same thing about me, it’s cool. But, keep reading.
Here’s my truth:
I’ve spent over 25 years of my life trying to pretend these parts of me didn’t exist. I shoved them in the closet (Think of it like what you might do when company is coming over and you don’t really have time to clean…) and slammed the door shut in the hopes that no one would see these “less desirable”, “unattractive”, “weak”, and “ugly” sides of me. When my closet was overflowing, I began shoving them under the bed. Shoving, and all the while, smiling at the world. My exterior facade would say, “Everything is perfect. I’m great. I’m handling all aspects of my life brilliantly.”
And yet, internally I was terrified that you might see one of my “under the bed monsters”. And if they happened to sneak out in a vulnerable moment, I would give ’em a low, hard, back kick and through gritted teeth, while I kept smiling, there was a stern, “Get back under there where you belong. I’ll deal with you later.”
What I’ve been able to discover is that the person shoving others in the closet and under the bed, the person who was being verbally, emotionally, and physically abusive to me was not actually me.
Not the REAL me anyway.
She was one of my identities. Keep Up Appearances Kate. She was working in tandem with Perfect Paula. And if I slipped up and into fear, doubt, worry, or had a vulnerable moment where I showed weakness… Punisher Pam was ready to bring on the emotional, mental, and sometimes physical reprimand for my behavior.
And together, they were slowly crushing me. The real me.
I was on a coaching call in 2016 when, for the first time, I shut Paula down. I was DONE. No more pretending. No more acting as if my life was perfect and that I could flawlessly handle all of it. That story was bullshit and I was exhausted and burnt out from telling it. I wasn’t always “okay”. I didn’t always feel “good”. And I was tired of pretending.
Because of this new decision, the next step for me was to square up with my self-described “ugly” identities. The ones waaaaay back in the closet. The ones I didn’t want anyone to know about. The unlovable, mean, fierce, and ferocious ones. The ones no one clapped for. The ones no one was proud of. The parts of me that don’t love me.
Acceptance became my first real step toward attaining the elusive “self-love”. Fully accepting who I was.
All of me.
And now? Shit. I meet new identities daily. Just last week, I met Verbally Abusive Victoria, Self-loathing Sally, and I’m Sorry Stephanie.
The next day? Overwhelmed Ola.
The day after that? Self-Doubt Debbie, I Can’t Win Cathy, and Not Good Enough Natasha.
This week I’ve had encounters with many, many, many of my identities. I believe it’s because I’m stretching. I’m growing. I’m expanding. And with that, comes new layers to peel back, new sabotage to square up with, new identities to meet, and old ones to welcome back.
What do I actually DO when they show up? Check out the 5 things that have been working for me lately.
1. Name them.
I opened this conversation in a previous article, (See “Busting Through Your “Not Enough” Story in 4 Steps ) but it is important for you to differentiate your identities from YOU. They are not YOU. They are your sabotage developed by you. Go ahead. Give them a name. As you may have noticed, I take what they “do” and use that in their name. For example, “avoid”, “punish”, “second-guess”, or “busy work” turn into Avoidance Anna, Punisher Pam, Second-Guess Sally, and Busy Work Brenda. I find alliteration to be helpful and fun. My 2 rules? Don’t stress about this part and don’t make them any part of your name. Remember, they’re not you. The objective here is that you’re able to distinguish and address them as a separate identity.
2. Recognize when they’re trying to get your attention.
Notice yourself. Become aware. Pay attention to your urges, your head talk, your language, your gut reactions, and your responses. Notice your habits, your actions, and your behaviors. What are you doing? What are you not doing? What are you languaging? How are you feeling? Just notice. Try and do this with no judgement. Simply observe. Stay as neutral as possible.
For example, how did I know Overwhelmed Ola was trying to get my attention? Well, I heard myself saying things like, “I don’t have time to get everything done… I am so overwhelmed…” I noticed that I felt “off”. I was unusually emotional, easily irritated, and sad. I noticed that I crawled back into bed even though I had things to do. I watched myself be needy and clingy and saw that I was seeking validation.
3. Welcome them and invite them inside.
This may seem counter intuitive, but they’re showing up for a reason. Invite them in. Literally. I said, “Why hello Overwhelm Ola! It’s nice to see you. Come on in.” It may seem absurd, but it works. I can’t speak for you, but personally, I would rather experience the transformation to freedom and come across as a little weird if the alternative option is to stay stuck in my stories while *appearing* cool.
4. Ask them why they showed up, what they need, and engage in conversation.
Again, literally ask the question.
You can do this out loud (my preferred method) or you can journal, but you’ve got to ask the question.
In my case, “Ola may I ask you, why are you here right now? Is there something you need?”
The important piece here is to answer the above question as Overwhelm Ola (or whatever identity/sabotage has presented itself to you).
It is important that you let THEM speak.
In my case, it went something like… “Yes! I need someone to acknowledge that I’m doing a good job. I have a lot on my plate and I’m juggling a lot and I’m getting things done and no one is recognizing that. No one is telling me good job and I’m struggling with getting it all done. I just want someone to notice and recognize my efforts.”
5. Love them.
Love them like you would a child. I said, using a phrase I learned from Matt Kahn, “Ola, I hear you. And I honor your power.” Then, I proceeded to give her what she needed. I said something like, “Ola, you are doing an amazing job. I’m so proud of how you’re handling day to day life as an adult, how your navigating the early stages of buying a home, how you’re writing, coaching, how you’re taking consistent effort to build your business, how you invest time and money in personal coaching and training, and how you work your job all while trying to care for your fur babies, eat well, workout, and show up as the best wife you can. You are crushing it and I while I know it’s not always easy, you keep showing up. You are a champion. A rock star. A bad ass. I love you so much.”
Of course, your personal language will be different, but please allow it to be loving and supportive.
You cannot and will not abuse your identities away.
I know because I’ve tried.
6. Ask for completion.
I said, “Ola, is there anything else that you need from me right now?”
She said, “I’m good.”
I said, “Wonderful. Thank you for stopping by. Stay as long as you’d like. You’re welcome here.”
And you wanna know what happened? SHE LEFT! She didn’t stay because she didn’t need to. She got what she came for.
Please note, if she had said, “No. I’m not good.”, I would have repeated a version of my earlier question asking, “What do you really need right now?” and I would have continued affirming and asking until she was complete.
Of course every identity is different and each one will require individual attention. This isn’t a one size fits all approach and I don’t want to portray it like it is. Sabotage is personal, it’s squirmy, and it takes on different forms in each individual.
But what I know for sure is that my identities want to be heard, loved, and welcomed. They want to be celebrated and embraced. They’re seeking nurturing and reassurance. The ONLY reason they are yelling is because they’re trying to get my attention. When I fulfill their desire to be heard, there is no reason for the yelling to continue.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Let me know if this resonates, if you’re willing to begin the process of awareness and acceptance of your identities, or if you have any questions!
I realized today that I don’t trust myself.
How do I know? Well, let me share my (old) pattern. First, I take a step into something new. This could be a new group, a new training, a new entrepreneurial endeavor, or a new ANYTHING where I am unfamiliar. Subconsciously I say, “I don’t know how to do this…” and my actions are to ask for help and or research. As my coach pointed out to me today, neither of those things are necessarily bad, but my pattern of “I don’t know how to do this…” needs to stop.
Because if it doesn’t, I can (and I will and I have) stay stuck in preparation mode. Not acting. Not launching. Not producing. Not sharing. Not teaching. Not empowering. Not living out my purpose of transforming the planet.
Here’s what’s crazy. It’s been so much a part of who I am for so long, until it was pointed out to me today, I didn’t even realize I was doing it. My sabotage was literally on auto-pilot.
In this post, I want to teach you what I’ve learned about how to move from your “not enough story” into action.
1. Set yourself up with a support team.
We all have our blind spots. It’s as if our heads are stuck inside a box that sits on our shoulders and we cannot see anything outside of our box. All of our problems and struggles are inside the walls of our box, while all of our solutions are on the outside. So, we need support in seeing what we cannot see. From my experience, a support team has 5 elements: an accountability partner, a mastermind group, a private coach, live events, and a mentor. We need these people to help us become aware of the things we’re simply unable to see. Without my coach and my mastermind, I wouldn’t have come to recognize this pattern today. And, if I remain unaware, I stay stuck.
2. Identify that this sabotage is part of you, but it’s not the real you.
Something that’s really helpful is to name the parts of you that are sabotaging your success. I’m made up of Never Ready Nancy, Not Good Enough Natasha, Insecure Ingrid, Too Stupid Stephanie, Need To Learn More Naomi, Student Sabrina, Perfect Paula, Punisher Pam, Seeking Approval Astrid, Validation Val, and many more… Once I recognize these people as PART of me, but not the REAL ME, I can distinguish when one of them is taking the lead. It’s okay that they’re all traveling with me in the van, the important question is, who is in the driver’s seat?
3. Honor and accept these parts of you with love.
Recognize that while there are these parts of you that are sabotaging yourself, it’s all in an effort to protect the real you. Think of them as different identities that were developed to keep you safe and love them for that. Love them hard. I love Never Ready Nancy and how she makes sure that I’m prepared for whatever I am doing. I love Not Good Enough Natasha and the fact that she causes me to practice again and again in an effort to perfect my craft. I love Insecure Ingrid and how vulnerable she is. I love Too Stupid Stephanie and how she causes me to work hard and study more and make sure that I’m knowledgeable. I love Need To Learn More Naomi and Student Sabrina for the same reasons. I love Perfect Paula and how she wants me to put my very best foot forward. I love Punisher Pam and how she ultimately just wants me to be excellent. I love Seeking Approval Astrid and Validation Val and how much they love receiving praise from others and how the yearning for that praise pushes them to work so hard. I love the little girl who makes up all of these identities and how she’s afraid of being wrong, afraid of making a mistake, afraid of speaking up and saying the wrong thing, and afraid of not being good enough or smart enough to figure things out herself. I know that these parts of me that pretend not to know what to do are all acting from love and protection and I love them for that. I love them so much. They are doing a phenomenal job.
4. Identify what’s most important and take an action step.
What’s the ONE THING that will give you the biggest leap forward if you took action on it? What’s the ONE THING that you KNOW if you did it, would get you closer to your goal? Start there. With that one thing. Stop pretending that you’re going to execute 100 things and then using that as an excuse as to why you can’t do anything and simply focus on the ONE THING. For me today it was to make calls about booking speaking engagements. I decided to move Never Ready Nancy to the back of the van and put the REAL ME in the driver’s seat. Once I did that, it was easy to pick up the phone and dial. When I felt doubt creep in, I reassured Need To Learn More Naomi that we already knew enough and reminded Perfect Paula that even if we “messed up” we were still moving forward and that it was safe to take this step toward our dreams.
The truth is, this work isn’t easy. I won’t lie and say it is. I cried today as I unloaded all of my overwhelm on my Mastermind sisters. But then, after the awareness, I came to this beautiful place of acceptance. After that came the overwhelming love. And after that, came incredible clarity. Clarity in my message as I picked up the phone and called for more opportunities to speak. Clarity in the words to share here in this blog to teach and empower you. And clarity for a program I want to launch in the new year.
This shit is awesome and hard and amazing and it works and it’s worth it.
You’re worth it.
Let me know in the comments if any of this resonated with you and if you’re willing to name your sabotaging identities!
Image via Pinterest. Quote by Rebecca Ray.
I am sitting here at my desk, listening to YouTube play “Tibetan Singing Bowls Chakra Healing Meditation Music”, all in an attempt to open my 5th chakra and allow myself to speak my truth, while simultaneously over-thinking what I’ll type for my first ever blog post.
Here’s a backstage pass to my head talk…
I’m worried that I’m “not ready” to write for you, I am concerned about saying the “right” thing, I’m wondering if you’re even going to read this, and if you do, what judgements you’ll make, and I am beating myself up for spending a large amount of my afternoon sabotaging myself by focusing on dumb shit like what my title, tagline, theme, background, or widget (WTH is this anyway?!) should be…
Procrastination, I see you and I honor your power.
I’ve recently returned from an incredible Mastermind in NYC where one of my coaches asked me the following, “What if you believed you were enough right now?”
What if I stopped pretending that I need to learn more or study more or rehearse more and I simply decided that I am enough? As is.
Then I’d be forced to answer the uncomfortable question, “Michelle, if you owned that as your belief, if you decided that you were enough right now as is, what would you be doing that you’re not currently doing? What would you be creating that you’re not currently creating?”
That hurt a little.
And by “a little” I mean a lot.
Squaring up with the truth of how I wasn’t showing up made me sick to my stomach.
The truth is, I had become comfortable in “student” mode. It was easier for me to cling to the belief that I wasn’t enough. I was stuck in “not ready”. I was desperately holding onto this twisted “truth” that I didn’t have anything of value to say.
There was more to learn.
There had to be.
More to study.
More to practice.
It was as if I was waiting to hear this booming voice shout down from the heavens, “NOW YOU ARE READY! YOU HAVE LEARNED ENOUGH. YOU ARE WORTHY. YOU MAY NOW STEP FORWARD.” It sounds absurd when I put it like that, but it’s how I had been showing up, or rather, NOT showing up.
Of course, I believe in continual personal growth. That’s my passion! I’m in a constant state of learning, self-reflection, growth, and expansion, BUT I was using all of those things as an EXCUSE to stay stuck in inaction.
Pretending I wasn’t ready.
Pretending I needed more.
Pretending I wasn’t enough.
Pretending that you wanted me to be perfect.
It’s actually pretty brilliant sabotage because it’s never-ending. I will never be “enough” according to those standards. In fact, I’m not even able to define “ready”, “more”, or “enough” so how are they actually achievable?
It was with that awareness that I made the decision to call bullshit on my story, to stop pretending, and to start taking action.
I believe, the more you do something, the more it becomes a part of who you are and the better you get. The more you swing the bat, the more you’ll find your rhythm and the more likely you are to hit the ball. The more you perform, the more the words and gestures become your own and naturally flow. The more you dance, the more connected you become to the music and you find your own groove.
And for me?
The more I write, the more my message and personal style will evolve.
The more I speak, the more I will grow into a stronger and more influential speaker.
So, I’m unleashing myself. Reins off.
I am Michelle Moore. I am perfectly imperfect. I am scared and excited to be throwing my ass over the DOING THE THING line. I am the essence of fierce determination and persistence. I am courageous. I am a kick ass coach, a teacher, a writer, and a speaker. I am still walking out my own personal journey, but I am obsessed with guiding others as I travel.
I’d LOVE to hear from YOU! In what areas of YOUR LIFE are you pretending to “need more” before you move forward?
Image via Pinterest – themetapicture.com