Occasionally along our growth journey we may get ‘stuck’ and I often discover it’s related to our unwillingness to OWN some element of our ‘selves’ – one of those little hidden ‘secrets’ that keeps us wading through bouts of internal shame and feeling “not good enough”. Rarely is it black and white or out there – simple…. it’s often tucked into something we feel we have resolved or something we’ve shelved for another time.
Owning our thoughts and behavior is about acknowledging that they exist even when we don’t really like that they are there. It’s the FIRST step in dealing with it – potentially ridding ourselves of them. It can be as simple as a little inner discrepancy…. one that our inner self would rather not admit. I’ll share this example from my own life…..
I don’t consider myself a judgmental person at all. In fact, I feel that I’ve come head to head in an ugly (but necessary) way with judgments. I’ve been judged and I don’t like it – I have realized that in attempting to avoid being judged, I have behaved in ways that are completely UN-authentic to my true self. I went with the crowd a time or two and held on to shame for doing so. I’ve allowed the ‘general consensus’ to blur the view of my own beliefs. I’ve allowed others perspectives to keep me from honoring myself – I’ve been my own critic to the extent that I was judging myself against others perceptions of me and not honoring my inner voice.
I am in a profession that necessitates a lack of judgment. People trust that when they share themselves with me that I will honor the professional state of objectivity and I strive to exist in that space each hour that I am with clients. Yet recently in a private and personal conversation, I made the comment that “you are old enough to know better” – a judgmental statement. In that statement I imposed my standard of what someone “should” know by a certain age. Thankfully I was open to the critique when it was brought to my attention and I am so grateful that I have a partner with whom I can feel safe (another post).
In that moment it was necessary for me to acknowledge that I was judging… me – a non-judgmental person, someone who needs, who demands of oneself, to have the attribute of complete objectivity. I was imperfect, I had failed my goal and someone caught me. In that moment I had a choice…. I could SHAME my inner self or I could OWN the action…. the fact is – I am still human. I am always influenced by my culture and by my habits. I actively choose to address this particular element of my reality and change out pieces when they show up so I owned it, I forgave myself, and moved on.
Therein lies the key when we discover those elements about ourselves that are less than….. First – OWN it. Acknowledge it. Look at it – stand up to it and stare it down. Be brave enough to notice that it exists, that it is woven into the fabric of you. But know too, that you are NOT defined by it – that you can consciously work to change any behavior that is no longer consistent with WHO you choose to be. You are, good enough – always.