For a lot of us, 2020 brought big questions about our relationships, our daily lives, and our humanity - what’s working, not working, and the glaring truth of whether our lives have been fulfilling us, or driving us into the ground.
One of the biggest problems I’ve seen so many facing is what to do with this new truth. All this new information about what is wrong around us - the xenophobia, the misogyny, the racism, the classism, ableism, homophobia, religious prejudice, and so many more complex issues our societies are facing finally.
Not only are these realities glaring us in the face, we are struggling with what to do with all of this information and new awareness so as to contribute to the solution, and not be part of the problem. Those are big ideas and in 2021, we are going to dig into them all as we continue our efforts to boldly become our truest selves, which does not include intolerance of any other human based on their race, ethnicity, sexual identity, ability, etc.
But today, I want to talk about the ripple effects of this collective heightened awareness.
There are plenty of opportunities to take action to be part of the global community, and learning to be more involved in dismantling systems that limit opportunities for others.
There is less being discussed about how challenging it has been for so many to integrate this new truth of themselves into a life that is in full motion and momentum.
We have learned so much about ourselves this year. We have had the opportunity to see what our relationships are like when we take away all the buffers of extracurricular activities and are left with just humans being in the space of other humans.
Without the external anchors of GOING to school for your kids, or GOING to work for you or your partner, we have kind of been flopping around like fish out of water. There are so many new decisions we are faced with all day.
What we have allowed to be said and done in our families have been amplified in our homes while we spent the last 290 days together. The patterns and predictability of seasonal shifts from sports, music lessons, and traveling have all been challenged.
Perhaps all this shifting and unpredictability and lack of control in how things flow from day to day has left you feeling depleted or overwhelmed. I certainly have had plenty of these days myself over the last 290 DAYS.
And although there is a lot of shifting, still, again in the world, we can only control what we choose to do in our day to day lives.
We choose how we respond to the chaos. We choose how people we are in relationships treat us, including our children, our partners, our parents and our friends. We choose who gets to have a say in our lives and who is no longer invited to the party. We choose how we spend all 24 hours of our days.
And there is so much power in all these choices - over time, aligning these choices can transform any person’s life. I know because I’ve done it, more than once.
But I want to take a moment to acknowledge that just because you have all these choices does not mean you know how to confidently make them OR that they are easy decisions.
When you realize your family or friends are speaking about a societal concept that contradicts how you see the value in humans - this presents an excruciating choice.When you realize that your partner and you haven’t been on the same page since day 1 or day 9001 and now you need to move on - this is not an easy decision to make. When you realize that the job or community or religion you have poured yourself into for decades is not what truly lights you up and the only way to find what does is to release the job or community or religion - it feels unbearable.
We have been shown through so many avenues that becoming the truest version of yourself is this beautiful journey where angels sing and there is joy and endless smiles for you and everyone around you when you’ve gotten to the finish line. It’s modeled in movies, books, TV shows and my gosh, the online influencers. The overnight successful millionaire who has no problems, a spotless beautiful mansion and 6 private jets - ah, to have those kinds of choices.
But the reality of making changes in your life - to waking up to be your truest, boldest self - is not glamorous. It’s snotty, sobbing, messy grief. It’s going from one extreme of “I can make this work, it’s not that bad, I’ll just work harder at it all and it will be fine - we can find a way to make it work” to the other end “I CANNOT stand this any more, I have to get out of this, I’m suffocating, I’m drowning, I can’t believe I got here.”
It’s exhausting for so many reasons. One of them being that you are now seeing the world with a new filter -- for everything. Once you know these things about your relationship or your community or yourself, you can’t unknow them. It’s not reversible, so the choices you make each day start to feel like betrayal - in so many directions.
Betraying yourself for doing what you’ve always done, betraying the people you love for no longer subscribing to the life you built together, betraying humanity by not speaking up, betraying your family for speaking up...it’s so much.
You cannot try to fit your now self into your old life. You cannot try to squeeze your big, fat heart into the tiny little box that requires you to play small and love in conditional ways.
You can’t go back to the YOU that was before the pandemic and social awareness of 2020.
You don’t want to. And I know you are scared of all that is ahead when you start making some of these heart-wrenching decisions.
You have everything you need to do this work - to take this journey. You have always known some of these things - and now you are honoring your own knowing - your intuition and inner wisdom of what feels good and right and aligned.
You’ve been told and shown that if you rock the boat, they will sink YOU. But you are your own damn ship. You have weathered storms that broke other people in half. You don’t need their freaking boat, my friend.
What you don’t see in yourself that I do is that your light is shining again. Maybe you can’t see it most days, but I see it. You can’t see it under all the debris of your old self’s armor breaking off and crumbling around you - the rules and expectations of what you had to be to be loved, accepted and maybe even appreciated sometimes.
But I see the light getting brighter. I know your heart and it’s not dangerous - it’s healing. And as you grieve the losses and the upcoming releases of your past life, you will breathe easier, you will feel physically lighter. You will remember who you were before they told you to stop being so much, before you tried to crack the code of security and connection and love from the people around you.
Take the time to pick up each piece, one at a time, and hold it, identify the gratitude in what you gained from it - what you learned about yourself from that relationship, that project, that location, those moments - and then honor the feelings that come up as you let it go. Maybe it’s grief, maybe it’s relief - it might even be exciting and make you feel hopeful or confident. Whatever it is, observe the feeling, process it with curiosity, and remove any judgment from the original experience or your closure with it now.
Your journey is going to look nothing like mine or anyone else’s. And sometimes it will feel or look identical, from my experience in sharing my moments of letting go. Regardless of what you see happening around you, people telling you to just leave or what you should have done or what you “should” do to move forward, only YOU can determine what that will be. Being mindful will help - staying present and giving yourself grace is crucial for this journey. Your humanity is messy (just like the rest of ours), so please set up some reminder for yourself to say “You are exactly where you are supposed to be and have everything that you need”.
Although your journey is 100% yours, humans need one another. We need connection and support to not get stuck or ruminate on what has happened. Find your village - be open to creating and attracting your new village as you become this truest version of yourself. Our relationships are vital components to us becoming the most authentic versions of ourselves and having the meaningful impact we are each designed to have.
This may actually be the hardest part, and it’s what you need to do anyway. It doesn’t make you weak or codependent, it makes you human and smart for trusting the fastest path to your dreams, and internal peace, is not a one lane road. It can sound like “I don’t know what I need but I feel alone in this journey, can we talk?” or ask the question you are scared to ask. Remember in school when the kid in your class would ask the question you didn’t want to raise your hand to ask? So grateful and relieved - be that person sometimes in your new village or community.
Flood your brain, and your feed, with their stuff - invest in their programs, courses, and books, consume their social media content - give your mind the food and fuel it craves to be the confident version of yourself. Who inspires you? Who is advocating and celebrating the growth you want to have? Who is REAL about their journey? Honest about the difficulties? Raw about human emotions and their own messy awakening? Soak that shit up.
Be open to the many ways you will manifest this beautiful new life you are creating for yourself. We forget that before the gorgeous butterfly became the beautiful icon of transformation, she was a puddle of messy goo in her cocoon. Don’t rush out of the goo before you are ready. When the butterfly is given the appropriate time to fully transform, she always emerges stronger than hell and ready to fly.
I know this year has been challenging for all of us, AND we gained so much simply by living it. This year of chaos was many months of opening our eyes and looking up for the first time in decades for some of us.
As we close out this calendar year, I’m going to invite you to take a few moments to write down, bullet-point style, what you are leaving behind. It can be big ideas and small specific factors of your life. But give yourself this gift and get clear on what stays in 2020, so you can create the void to fill yourself up and become the boldest you to ever exist in 2021.
Thank you for the love and support this year as I continued my journey, and I’m grateful beyond any words I could express for the opportunity to stay connected in the new year. I love you, my friend. You’ve got this, and I’m here with you every step of the way.