“Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything, Maybe it’s about unbecoming everything that isn’t really you, so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.” — @createthelove
Over the course of our lives, we build armor around us because we’re afraid of what might happen if the world sees us as we truly are. The armor helps us fit in or look “good.”
The armor is a function of fear. It protects us from the perceived pain associated with the fear of being disliked, criticized, shamed, or judged. So we hide behind it.
When we live in disguise, we’re never fully seen or heard. We never get to experience our true selves. We never know connection at the level of the heart. We never get to be part of a community of like-minded and like-hearted people. And we never get to fulfill our deepest desires.
It’s up to us to shed the armor. It’s vulnerable and scary…and 10000% worth it.
Guess what? Some people won’t like us. Some people will judge, criticize, or ridicule us. That’s okay.
Guess what else? Their opinion of you is none of your business.
Be you. The real you. And don’t try to be anyone else, they’re already taken.
The journey to the real you takes extraordinary courage and a willingness to embrace vulnerability.
On the other side is FREEEEEDOM! True, unimaginable, beautiful freedom.
We start to communicate from the heart effortlessly and authentically connect with others at the level of the heart.
We grow comfortable in our own skin and learn to love ourselves unconditionally.
We get clear about who we are, what we do and don’t want, and honor healthy boundaries.
We finally muster the courage to clear the toxicity that we’ve tolerated for far too long.
How much lighter, more fun, and fulfilling would life be if you could be the real you all the time without the armor and without all those fears?
SO much lighter, more fun, and FULFILLING!
We’re not meant to hide. We’re meant to be seen…fully seen.
The two-part greeting shared by the Zulu people of South Africa powerfully embodies the connection we experience. The first part is “Sikhona” which means “I am here to be seen“; and the response is “Sawubona,” which means “I see you.”
That sounds amazing. So how do we chip away the armor?
By embracing vulnerability and doing so first in a safe and supportive space with someone (or a group of people) we trust. It’s sort of like practicing being the real you. Then take bold steps (which can be tiny bold steps btw) to start communicating and acting in accordance with who YOU really are and how YOU really feel.
A Word About Perfectionism
Perfectionism is woven into the armor. As Brene Brown says, “it’s our 20-ton shame shield” because when we’re perfect there’s no room for shame, blame, judgement, or criticism.
Guess what? You’re not perfect. Sorry to burst your bubble 🙂
Guess what else? Nobody is perfect. It’s okay to make mistakes, to say stupid things, to NOT BE PERFECT. We are human. It’s okay. Give yourself permission to be human. And give others permission to be human, too.
Sometimes I make mistakes. Sometimes I say things I later regret. Sometimes I say things with good intentions, but in a way that upsets the person with whom I’m communicating. That happened to me very recently. I wanted to make it right and rewind time so I could have a do-over. I wanted to be perfect.
I obviously couldn’t — technology just isn’t there yet!
I had to learn what I could, speak my truth from a place of love and service, and continue forward with the intention to do better next time.
I also had to acknowledge that not everyone will appreciate or like me. I’m okay with that. Remaining authentic, serving rather than pleasing, and growth are what’s most important.