I tell people I am a recovering perfectionist. Quintessential oldest child, I wanted to set the example, follow the rules, make more rules to follow, and do it all with ease and perfection. People pleasing was how I thought you were supposed to live your life.
Rules are easy. There are clear boundaries you have to follow. I was good at rules. I did as I was told all the time.
Fear is strong. I was terrified of failure, disappointing others and not being accepted. Fitting in meant a great deal. Unfortunately, I was not super great at that. But I could look the part and just try to be as small as possible so that I would be plastered against the wall and blend in. I blended in so well in most places I was almost invisible. And I kept my thoughts to myself. I said as little as possible about myself or what I thought. That was better. Smile and nod, little girl, smile and nod.
It is no surprise that I failed miserably at life in the first half of it, because that is not what life is about.
Life is messy. Life is learning. Life is meant to be lived, and done any way that suits you best. But life is not meant to be lived in secret, or by the rules you think others want you to follow.
I wish I could tell you why we tell ourselves false stories. I think there are too many reasons, really.
I wish I could tell you why we lie to ourselves. I think are too many reasons, really.
I wish I could tell you why others feel they can tell us what to do. What do those bossey-bossers think they know that we don’t?
But at the end of the day the one thing we lose when we listen to the false stories, lies, the things others tell us, and we keep ourselves secret; the only thing we lose is self respect. And it is a great loss. What we think of ourselves matters way more than what anyone else will ever think of us.
What the world loses is also great. It loses the gift we would breathe life into if we would just believe and be our authentic selves.
Each of us has the ability to change our own small corner of the world. Each of us has the ability to make one life better. Each of us has the ability to be satisfied with our time here.
Our purpose, our light begins to shine the day we let ourselves be. The day we drop the false stories, let go of the lies, and stop listening to what other people tell us should be.
At a recent retreat, I was asked to look at a picture of myself and describe the girl I saw. This wasn’t a new activity for me, but this time the words that came tumbling out left me wanting more of that girl in my day to day life. Of course, the girl in the picture was three and she was already beginning to hide secrets about herself and live a life she thought others expected of her, but there will still pieces of her soul that were visible to the outside world.
That three-year-old girl never apologized for taking up space. She posed for pictures in ruffled shirts and plaid jumpsuits. Her laugh filled her soul completely. She loved her sister so much she didn’t hesitate to wake her up, take her hand and lead her downstairs to watch Saturday Morning Cartoons together in their feetsy pajamas. She played Barbie’s like it was her job and her imagination had no limits. Impromptu dance parties were her jam and she was an epic dancer. She loved to learn and couldn’t wait to go to school, where she knew without a doubt she would find a very, best friend to share her time with.
The last few weeks I have been striving to let this three-year-old dreamer call the shots in my life. She is pretty right on when it comes to what makes me happy. She is the girl that laughs out loud with my kids. It is her idea to bake things and try new recipes. It was also her idea to be silly and take funny snapchat photos. I love laughing at them!
She also brilliantly tells me to quiet down and listen. When I do that, my people come to me. I have had more conversations with my husband in these two weeks than in the last few months. She is also the mastermind who tells me to reach out and hold my husband’s hand. She also insisted the other night it was okay to cuddle my teenage daughter, and to my surprise my teenage daughter loved the cuddle and started talking and talking. It was like magic!
What would your three-year-old dreamer tell you to do? What would you do if you could be fearlessly authentic? What if you stopped listening to the bossey bossers in life? What do they know that you don’t? Nothing! Nothing at all. They usually have it all wrong. They like control and life isn’t about that.
Try it today. Listen for that three-year-old dreamer voice and see what kind of magic opens up in your life.