We often don’t have any doubt that we should be better parents/spouses/partners, should strive for a different body, should hold back to keep people from being uncomfortable, should work harder, should exercise more, should keep our mouths shut when we don’t agree, should give up carbs, should respect authority, should believe it when someone tells us “this is how things are”….
We are steeped in messages that tell us we are not enough as we are, or that we can’t trust our own judgement. They are so very much a part of the air we breathe, that we almost don’t realize they are there. These messages are so ingrained, we don’t even stop to question whether they make sense. Whether this thought we are having is really even our own, or whether it’s a set of messages that have been instilled by our culture (and often also by our families) about how we are supposed to look, act, eat, work, and be.
Why? Why do we believe, and not question? Because we’ve been taught that this is the right way to live, the healthy way to live, the way to be a good girl, a good partner or parent, a good employee, a good person. Well, I call bullshit on that.
Question everything. Who are you if you don’t believe the stories anymore?
But, but, but, but, but… what about keeping our jobs, what about keeping people happy, what about looking good, what about being a good mother, what about making sure no one is uncomfortable, what about health, what about being a good spouse who makes your partner happy? What about how unhealthy and soul-crushing it is to be stigmatized (by yourself or others), to be treated as a project or as something in need of fixing (by yourself or others), to be considered damaged or to be hated (by yourself or others)? Yeah, now we’re getting somewhere. That is really what all those “shoulds” are all about.
How much illness and suffering comes from the oppression of being told, from inside and outside, in words and in actions, that you are not okay as you are?
So much of life, and of maturing especially, is about coming to terms with reality. We spend a lot of our life denying reality. Striving, and wishing, and wanting reality to be something other than what it is. This happens with relationships, with work, with our bodies, with so much around us. And within ourselves too.
The work, the hard work, is taking that journey, back to reality as it actually is. Even though there are parts of your personality that may not like that reality. That’s okay. That’s the work. And we need to learn that it’s okay to mourn that other, wished-for reality. A true grief process, until such time as you can let that non-reality go and settle into the reality of what is.
Breathing into Reality
Actually letting go and letting be feels like the biggest sigh that you’ve ever sighed. So much relief, so much gentle, soft caring kindness settling over your body and soul.
We often don’t realize that most of the time we don’t actually breathe. Or at least we don’t breathe with our whole bodies, we only breathe with the tippy-top of our chests, just enough to keep us alive, but not enough to let us really, really let go and be free. We have to let our bellies flop out to really breathe, to take a big sigh, to relax. When we are holding tension in our bodies, we can’t truly let the breath in.
Remembering to breathe is, by itself, a journey to wholeness. A place where we can approach whatever is going on for us in the moment with kindness and curiosity. Where we can find our way back to our true self, to the voice we had before our world came crashing in to tell us we were not enough, just as we are.
And when we breathe, really breathe, all the way into our toes, we can softly, gently find our way back. We can let go of the stories with every breath. And we can come home to what is.
So, I’ll say it again. Who are you if you don’t believe the “shoulds”?
If you don’t believe the stories? Get to know that amazing, powerful person. Intimately. That’s you.
If you want to learn how to let go of the stories, click here to learn how I can support you.
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