The Two Sentences That Set Me Free On a Daily Basis
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"Her family is so much more together than mine."
"I dropped the ball... I think I'll jump back in next month."
"She is a rockstar in her business, there's no way I could do what she does."
"I can't keep up with the pace, I must not be good at this."
"I'm not going to say anything. I don't want it to seem like I am bragging."
"Maybe I just can't get pregnant."
"I didn't get started the way I wanted to so I feel like I've missed my chance."
"No one joined or watched my Facebook Live."
"Everyone said no."
Whew. Welcome, sister.
This week's post is an honest peek through the keyhole that we can silently choose to see ourselves through.
How do I know? Well one, because I'm human, just like you are, but two, because I have the honor to be in a supportive role for many in my life and work and hear firsthand the going on's of mind chatter when it comes to creation, trust, surrender, and the big, sometimes hushed one, comparison.
Comparison. It's been called the thief of joy (Theodore Roosevelt). It can destroy confidence. It can ravage the fertile lands of the creation process. It can stop us before we even start.
I want you to think of your own dance, in this moment right now, with comparison and the role it plays in your life experience.
What comes up?
If at first you believe that you're a pro and you've nixed this pesky little distraction, I want to ask you to dig deeper.
- Was there something you chose not to share or say yesterday because you thought it might dim someone else's light or diminish what they were going through?
- Did you have a moment of a brilliant idea this week and within 10 seconds decide it was a horrible, unsuccessful thought?
- Have you not picked up the pen, the phone, or taken the action that you know will move you forward today because it doesn't feel like the right time or you're just not ready yet?
- Have you been staying small in your business, your voice, your relationships, your decisions because you aren't where you think you should be to speak up or make a move like that?
Now.... what is coming up?
Oh yeah, that familiar little tickle inside. It's kind of like a root or a spider web; it starts out small and diminished but as a single moment like the ones above happen and compound, over time it spreads. Before you know it, it just feels too big, too dark. (Stay with me here, we are almost through to the other side.) If you get a peek of it out from the corner of your eye, you make extra effort to walk alllll the way around. Not today! Don't have time for THAT.
Who is feeling me on this? I know I am not the only one.
Let's peek under the hood together (because when we decide that we are not going to go it alone, it does get easier.)
In my experience and learnings, comparison is connected to shame. Shame then morphs into storytelling. Storytelling then becomes the filter, the lens, the snapshot through which we view and encounter the world. Even simpler, it becomes our truth. But friend, that's why we're doing this together.
It's time to reclaim your heart if you are living with more discomfort than contentment, peace, celebration, and love.
The picture below is one that I have been treasuring and keeping to myself since May.
Four months ago, a lot of good was happening in my life. My husband got his dream promotion. We became pregnant. I flew up to New England to take the stage and to serve a sold-out audience with heart-led entrepreneurial and thought leaders. My businesses continued to thrive and grow with what seemed like non-resistance on my part, working around 15 hours a week instead of the break-neck pace I put myself through the year before. I had space and time and the four walls of my loving home to curl up inside when I wasn't feeling well with morning sickness. There were very hard days and crushing moments, but truly friend, I was in a space of ease, abundance, and fun. Sadly, I chose to dim that down.
I squelched my sacred moments in an attempt not to ruffle anyone's feathers, hurt feelings, or come across boastful. What I was experiencing was being in a state of alignment. This is after years of living dysfunctionally, including a lifetime of coping and the not-so-great lifestyle habits that go along with that, like numbing and distracting. I was less and less reliving memories that tormented and made me react, turning into the worst version of myself. So what I am saying is that this discovery and new way of being for me is something to be celebrated and shared. There is no good in not singing for glory.
Shame can go two ways: A patting on top of the head to shush you down or slashed tires before you start, deflating your wings before you even see how far they can spread.
That's where one of my favorite line comes and the two sentences that set me free come in: No shame. No stories.
The first time I heard this, it was coming from one of my inspirations and mentors, Donna Johnson. The context was about meeting people where they are in their Arbonne businesses. Not allowing any kind of energy that belittled someone's pace, dreams, or goals to exist and expanding the definition of success to include why's and desires of all sizes, taking the shiny penny, fast-is-best approach off the table and wrapping loving arms around just being and appreciating each other.
Now, when I'm on the listening end to a friend who's struggling I say, "No shame. No stories." When I'm completely happy with a midwife appointment and grateful for my health I say, "No shame. No stories." When I feel bad about the time that's passed since I've picked up the phone to catch up with an old friend I say, "No shame. No stories." When I'm coaching a business partner on their life balance and goals I say, I say, "No shame. No stories." When it feels like someone has decided to separate or leave me, I say, "No shame. No stories." (I could keep going!)
These two sentences and taking inspired action serves me countless times in the course of my day.
So with gratitude in my heart, I sat down last week to paint the words and the feeling of the branches that can either represent being contained by shame or growing in love through it. Here's what came out on the paper.
I now have the print hanging in my office on my gallery wall, just a glance away. It emboldens me. It serves me. It soothes the mind chatter that so easily could take me down a long, dark road. Maybe it can do the same for you, friend.
As always, we must first know what we need. Second, we must ask for it. I am someone who needs constant and consistent reminders to stay the course, to not want to just start over fresh the next day. We get to begin anew at the beginning of each new breath. It's never too late to start the day over because the opposite of shame is grace.
Over to you: What's something you would love to take action on using "No shame. No stories." to embolden and free you? I'd love to know and cheer you on so let me know in the comments below.