I had a coaching session with my coach and mentor the other day and he asked me a lot of questions about my life.
What are the 5 biggest struggles you’ve ever faced?
List every country you’ve ever been to….and next to each one write down what the most important thing you learned was from that country. (There were 18 countries total)
List all your family members, and name the biggest lesson you have learned from each one
The biggest lesson I’ve learned from each of my ‘loves’?
The biggest ‘smiles’ of my life
The hardest laughs of my life
The hardest cries of my life
My biggest fears
My biggest dreams
The questions I most wish I had the answers to in life.
It was such an interesting experience for me to partake in.
First off, it made me realize how well I actually DO know myself. We all have those days that we feel lost….or feel like we have no idea how to put one foot in front of the other….but in reality, we actually do have all the answers right in front of us. Maybe that next step hasn’t ‘lit up’ for us just yet, but we know more about our lives and ourselves then we give ourselves credit for.
Another thing it made me realize is how good it feels to be authentic…to be able to look at a list of things like struggles, fears, and biggest sob-fests….and not let them make me feel weak, scared, or lost (or any other number of things we may tell ourselves when we feel things that don’t necessarily feel pleasant at the time).
It also made me realize I have a lot of love in my life, a lot to be happy about, a past to be proud of, and a ‘future so bright I gotta wear shades’ (yes, I tend to steal lines from cheesy 80’s songs).
One thing that stood out in particular to me though was how EASY it was to answer the questions and look back on the answers (he made me go over them at the end). Oftentimes we tend to avoid holding a mirror up to our own faces and our own lives out of fear that we won’t like what we see.
What if it reminds me of my failures?
What if it makes me feel like I’m not doing ‘enough’?
What if it gives me anxiety or depresses me?
What if I don’t like what I see?
But what about all those things in our lives and in our past and future we are turning a blind eye to? What about all those things that if given the opportunity to stare us in the face would actually make us feel excited and happy and proud of who we have become? Things like:
Wow! I’ve lived a lot….and laughed a lot…and cried a lot!
Wow! I have a lot of people in my life that love me and accept my love for them!
Wow! I have a lot of dreams and hopes and desires….that even if I haven’t reached all of them yet, I still have plenty of time!
Wow! I’ve worked my ass off and have a lot to show for it!
Here’s the truth: If we shield ourselves from all the bad….we have not choice but to shield our minds from all the good too.
Then I don’t even have to remind you of the voices in our heads that REMIND us that we are ‘avoiding’ things…or ‘procrastinating’….or ‘delaying the inevitable’….or (my personal go-to) ‘waiting until the time is right to deal with things’.
And of course those voices shield us even MORE from letting the good in.
What I’m saying is this: Have the courage to simply hold the mirror up to your own face….look at ALL of it square in the eye….and just let it all be there…the good and the bad.
For all the ‘shouldas, wouldas, couldas’, I give you permission to simply chalk it up to: “I only knew what I knew, and didn’t know what I didn’t know.” See how less PERSONAL that is than calling yourself a failure, unsuccessful, or any other number of names?
For all the things you see that you are proud of and make you smile, look at all of those too! Make a little bookmark in your brain to do MORE of those things….or show up MORE as that person that you are proud to be….or have MORE of those experiences that you love and make you laugh and smile.
Either way, the mirror is still going to be held up to your face– even if it’s just the voices in the back of your head naysaying yourself (to yourself) — the mirror will still be there.
I have a feeling you’ll find that the things you are afraid to look at will actually not seem so scary at all. Thing things you’d rather ‘wait until X’ to look at, probably won’t cause as much panic or anxiety as you think it might….and the uber-awesome flipside is that when you hold that proverbial ‘mirror’ up to your face, you’ll also get to see the amazing things you’ve done, experiences you’ve had, and version of YOU that you’ve become.