"If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud." - Emile Zola
Most of us start our lives at a passionate 360* of authenticity, expressing what we feel in the moment. We cry when we are hurt or slighted, laugh and enjoy simple pleasures as we whirl through our day. What happened to our young and passionate selves along the way?
We tamper down our spontinaiety as we absorb the beliefs, expectations and disapproval of the important others in our lives, our caretakers. Usually the conditioning starts before the age of reason, and we are not able to express. To be loved and protected, we pretzel ourselves to fit in by degrees, To do this we start covering up parts of our authentic selves to get by. Soon it becomes a pattern and we are at the mercy of it without knowing.
Be still for a moment, pull out your journal if you wish,, breathe and reflect on the following questions.
- When you visualize your younger self, who do you see?
- How does the younger version of yourself compare with your present self?
- Who are you now?
- What did you suppress to get by, to be accepted and loved in your:
- Family of origin?
- On your job?
- Do you see where you may have limited expressing yourself in order to keep others comfortable?
- Have you heard any of the following phrases?
- What will people think?
- “Get a hold of yourself, you are embarrassing me”
- “Everyone is looking at you”
Statements as above tend to push us into a self-protective space, feeling less than safe, to show our true selves Most of us wall off emotionally and stop our authentic way of expressing. When we wall off habitually we may tamper down the anxiety, and vulnerability of not being enough to some degree, however it is important to realize that when we do so, we are also flattening out our good feelings. We cannot selectively pick and choose. If we bevel the bad feelings, we at the same time are flattening the expression of good feelings in our life. Do you then betray yourself to please others?
An important question to ask is: “am I willing to betray others in order to be true to myself?” I have found that people who have found the courage to” Live out Loud “are at peace with being true to themselves. They for the most part (and I say for the most part, as we are always a work in progress and never finished) have overcome most of the debilitating stress that goes with striving to please others. They have given up the need to strive for perfection, realizing that it is a masquerade for seeking approval and acceptance. They may choose excellence, knowing that excellence is for their own fulfillment not to please others.
I have found that people who are at peace with their own lives do not spend precious energy attempting to win others over to their point of view. They may mentor or advise if asked; however, there seems to be an innate respect for people’s differences. Having come to terms with their own imperfections they have more compassion for the flaws, and differences of others.
Living out Loud usually includes play which is more probable when there is permission to look silly, to make mistakes, to be open, flexible, lighthearted and willing to take risks. The ability to play seems to be intertwined with, having found a way to feel an “us-ness” rather than a “we versus them” philosophy of life. There seems to be at the core level a connection and a belief in the goodness of fellow travelers, an inclusiveness if you will, that we are all in the same kettle of soup, on a journey together.
What are your old beliefs and patterns about “play?” Is it as important in your life as your “to do list?” Many of us grew up in families or situations whereby living day to day was such a serious business, play was considered frivolous and something we may get to when everything else is done. When will that be? What do you do about play now that you are grown and have a choice? Is play an important part of your pie of life? Reflect on the importance of play in your life?
It takes courage to be authentic, a courage that is cultivated step by step as we let go of our shames, our “not enough-ness,” and our imperfections. To Live out Loud , we have to risk stepping out on the diving board of life, vulnerable but complete. It is having the courage to say this is who I am, flaws and all. It is saying “I am enough.” “My life may be messy, wild at times, out of step, interesting and not easy. My heart has been broken many times; however, I celebrate my life with all the courage I can muster;even when I feel fearful, conflicted and confused. "I do this thing, a rebellious act really!”
Live Out Loud!