David Whyte has said that humans are the only part of creation that can refuse to be themselves. A fox is always a fox, a tree is always a tree....but we humans can fail to show up as who we really are....sometimes because we don't yet know who we are, & sometimes because we think other humans wouldn't accept or like who we are.
There are so many ways to 'hide' ourselves; in service to others, in solitude, in the zealous single minded pursuit of a goal.....
What if, the key to bringing what only we uniquely can bring to the world; the unique configuration of our characteristics, experience, gifts, talents, perspective, questions, was in allowing ourselves to 'be' who we are in all our strengths & mixed up frailties? To show up in the world, with our stories, our scars, our confusions, our victories, our honest endeavours?
What If, when we did that & others could actually 'see' us...we give others 'permission' to show up as themselves too?
What kind of world might we build then?
"And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our fear
Our presence automatically liberates others" Attributed to Marianne Williamson.
Over many years of coaching, I've never ever met or worked with anyone I didn't like. No, really. When, in the process of really listening, really paying attention & really 'seeing' another unique & complex human being, I start to 'get' who they are...& also how that process took place in their evolution....I really couldn't help but like them, even if I tried not to. And why would I?
And that, of course is partly how the alchemy of coaching, therapy, mentoring, facilitation, occurs.
"At some point, the practitioner 'loves' the client, the client knows it, & the healing begins" Rogers.
I know the 'not enough' syndrome. I often feel anxious & unsure about whether I'm 'good', 'intelligent', knowledgeable, clear, likeable, understandable, experienced, funny...enough.....& yet I know that when I can allow myself to be really me, without consciously editing or hiding the bits I think might not be 'enough' or at the other extreme....attempting to create an illusion of 'enough' in some areas....then I enjoy my life & other people more, & I get better results towards the change I want to see in the world.
Besides which, I fully believe that being in a profession which invites others to show up, honest, transparent, vulnerable, contradictory & confused when I won't or can't (in my ordinary life) lacks integrity & blocks my effectiveness in.......being human.
In coaching, the coach is modelling being human. Not 'there' yet, not complete, not perfect, not 'fixed', but on the journey, having learned & regularly practicing ways of supporting ourselves to stay on the journey towards the best version of ourselves that we can be.
My mentor, now in her tenth decade has learned a thing or two in that time. She says that the best advice she was ever given is:
"What other people think of me is none of my business"
It's tough......but I think I'm beginning to see how it works!
So, I stick with this advice below. And I look really hard at others, remembering that in any given situation they are absolutely doing the best they can in the circumstances. And I love them.
"Some people will like me & some people won't like me. So, I might as well be 'me' then at least the people who like me, like me!" Hugh Prather
Checkout Oprahs' articulate expression of your first responsibility in the world!
Great post. This reminds me of an autobiographical storytelling holiday I once took. 15 or so people in a room on day 1 and I was wondering what on earth had possessed me to spend a week with strangers. Day 7 - listening in awe to 15 of the most amazing individuals and stories I can imagine. Unforgettable.
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I love to notice, & to wonder & to journal on the things I wonder about: as the poet David Whyte says ~to "overhear myself saying things I didn't know I knew"