I know I’m not meant to feel joy every moment of every day, because it’s those times when I don’t that I open myself up for crazy amounts of growth. Experiencing joy is me celebrating my growth. Growth may be painful, but it’s worth it. I always love the image of caterpillars coming a part, then finding new ways to come back together before they get their wings. It in the mucky mess inside the dark chrysalis that the transformation happens. Coming out of the old shell might be painful, but getting to fly is a gift of the pain. This visualization is just my reminder of my truth that wherever I am in any moment is okay.
If there is one thing I know is that it’s easy for someone who is known to be happy, positive, strong, kind, and/or loving to feel an extreme amount of pressure to be that way all the time, but NOBODY can. We are all humans making incremental progress. So, just because we’ve seen someone happy, doesn’t mean they always are. Just because we’ve seen someone strong, doesn’t mean they always feel that way. None of us need to feel that pressure.
Though we put the pressure on ourselves, it’s helpful for those looking on to see as humans. Nobody belongs on a pedestal. As friends, it’s important for us to give a safe space for people to celebrate their incremental progress without making them prisoners of it. Meaning, we can’t dismiss where someone is currently because of something that has happened in the past, whether it be good or bad through our own judgments. Allowing people to be exactly where they are is a gift. We give a safe place for someone to share their truths when we can do that.
I’m forever grateful to my friends and family who accept where I am in the moment. I do not ever feel alone because of it! In my experience, I’ve felt alone when I can’t share my truth with someone. Whether it’s because they try to force me into a place I’m not at that moment or they share an expectation of me that I “shouldn’t be” feeling, experiencing, or being how I am right now. If I’m feeling that way, that’s exactly where I should be. Why? Because that’s what is. A valuable lesson I learned from the AMAZING Bryon Katie in her book, Loving What Is.
Here’s something else I’ve learned about sharing my truth. When I’m processing something, I share it with my trusted people. When I’ve processed it, I share it in public if I feel it will help someone else. I NEVER share publicly before I’m ready. This is a healthy boundary I’ve created as a part of my self-care. In my book and on this blog, I share a lot of intimate truths, but the key is that I don’t share things I still hold any shame around. Why? The reason is simple. If I hold shame around what I’m sharing, I’m using my sharing as a form of self-abuse. Even if I go to the wrong people, I could be using my sharing as a form of self-abuse. I know this about myself, because I used to LOVE to torture myself in this way.
If I’m seeking someone else’s approval through my sharing, and I’m sharing out of a place of lack, I’m doing it because something inside of me doesn’t feel worthy. This is my truth, and I’m responsible and accountable for the consequences if I share from these places. I’m often left feeling horrible about myself if I share from a place of shame or lack.
I’m telling you all of this because lately I’ve been feeling more and more drawn to bring attention to the FACT that it’s okay that I don’t feel happy sometimes. It’s okay that I feel pain, sadness, anxiety, depression, anger, or whatever I feel when I feel it. It’s okay for me not to be this image that other’s have of me, because I’m never who you see. You can only ever see me through your own truths and experiences. How I write this and how you read this are two different perspectives of truth. I’m writing from my personal experience, and you are receiving from yours. I might say words that trigger you, inspire you, or that you find relatable, but that’s not my journey, it’s yours. Our truths can be different, and that’s okay. We can have the same truths in one area and not another. It’s like two gardens having some plants that are different and others that are the same, but they are both still gardens. One isn’t more worthy than the other.
It’s our job to look at how our own truths are serving us. I’ve had to get rid of beliefs that were destroying me and my relationships with others. It’s my job to manage my own garden. What I share is how I’m maintaining my garden. I show you weeds I’ve pulled, poisonous plants I’ve uprooted, and beautiful plant life I’ve planted and nurtured. We each get the choice of what we plant. If my truth doesn’t feel right to you, it’s not something you will plant, and that’s okay. It doesn’t hurt my feelings if people don’t want to live the same way I do. Life would be so boring if we all had to believe and do things exactly the same.
After hearing about multiple suicides of people who were known to be such a light in the world, I’ve just felt this urge for people to see that someone who is described that way, as I have been too, isn’t always going to mean that they are okay at any given moment. We are going to experience challenges that knock us on our asses. We are going to get mad, sad, angry, lonely, tired, amongst many other things.
Some of us may have a plethora of tools, but when we are overwhelmed, we don’t use them. I don’t know a person out there who uses every tool that they KNOW intellectually as useful. We can know something is good for us intellectually and still not apply it to our own lives. I no longer feel pressure to be perfect. If people want to judge me, they will. Like my mom ALWAYS says, “It’s none of your business what people think about you.” The truth is, that’s their journey, not mine.
My truth that is serving me today is that I’m okay not being okay all the time. I love knowing I have people I can talk to when I don’t feel okay. I love me even when I’m overwhelmed, angry, depressed, crying, and miserable. I’m worthy even if I’m not spreading joy. I also understand that joy rushes can happen in the darkness, and I can and will celebrate those too. My point is all of this is not as black and white as we sometimes make it out to be. Knowing where, when, and with who to share my truth is just as important as sharing it.
In tomorrow’s Seeds of Wisdom, Jodie Eckleberry-Hunt talks about how it’s okay to be messy. It was through her inspiration, I felt like sharing my truth today.
With Love and Gratitude,
Rachael Wolff, author of Letters from a Better Me and host of the From A Loving Place with Rachael Wolff podcast