As I started this work and began to go deeper, I noticed a shift in my conversations with those around me. I started having conversations with people in my family I have never had about what they're feeling and what's going on. I felt this deep connection with friends or with my partner and was able to go deeper places with my clients because I was finally telling more and more of the truth. I felt like a lantern lighting up the dusty and dark corners that are full of secrets.
I never thought I'd be able to share my selfishness, insecurity, nervousness, jealousy, or, really, any part of me that felt unlovable, unworthy of love. Let alone expose it to light and love. But what I found was that when I told stories, the ones that included those parts of me and the parts I wanted to share, I began to own more and more of it. I poured love on all of it. I started to fall in love with my very human self, and it really made a difference because, even though I could love everyone else in all their imperfection, I still held myself to a standard that said you're only worthy if you do everything right. Never make any mistakes. Never let anyone see any bad, sticky, shameful, or squishy parts of you. Stay on top of it all. Don't let any balls drop. Be, look and act perfect. Say the perfect thing. If you do all of that, everything will work out. You will be worthy of success. Worthy of love. The money can come.
But the result of that is that I was walking around holding my breath, waiting for the other shoe to drop because if one client found out I wasn't perfect, if I made one wrong move, I would reveal what a mess I was on the inside. I felt that if my friends really knew how selfish and insecure I was inside, they would all leave. There was so much fear. It was the puppet-master of everything I did. That is what is tricky and sneaky about this.
I know I'm not alone. Many of us grow up conditioned with this kind of operating system, the "be perfect or die" system. And what's sneaky about it is that we don't always catch it, especially if we're good at getting it "right." I didn't often say the wrong thing. I could mostly keep it together and hide the bad parts. I was attentive and loving. I showed up for people. I asked them what they needed, and I got it for them. So, on the outside, it didn't seem like a cry for help, but on the inside, I was still worried. I was always worried that the secret was going to get out. That I wasn't perfect. It was so much pressure. If I had one moment where I would think, "Oh, I could have done that better," I would go to pieces inside.
Part of our becoming and part of finding the courage to expand is self-love. What I found was when I switched the script, when I moved to believing I was worthy and I didn't need to be perfect, I was able to show up fully. We help by being real, by being imperfect, by telling the truth, and by allowing ourselves to show up anyway. We are the ones that are willing to go first, willing to hold more, and willing to let people see what's behind the curtain. Most of all, we are willing to love ourselves.