Today someone told me my first blog post was "eh". And I did a little bit of defensive floundering, explaining that I wanted people to understand the basics of yoga and that's why I went the generic route, but it struck a nerve. After we hung up, I had to really think about why I was bothered, and it didn't take me long to figure out it was because he was right! Valuable information, yes. Great delivery, no; super generic. And when I look closer at that, it's because the more specific I get on a public platform, the more vulnerable I am. Vulnerable to people not liking/being interested in/agreeing with what I have to say.
And I have taught a workshop on being vulnerable, but still find it so hard to do myself. Go figure. Why is it so hard? I think we all fear rejection, some more than others. I've always been drawn to the people who just don't give a shit because I imagine living that way could be so freeing. But then I realize I am the only one holding me back and placing this mental cage on myself. I call it the question mark syndrome: saying statements I know I believe strongly with a question mark afterwards, looking to another person to agree. Or not expressing myself much if I'm not in the company of others that I know would acknowledge what I'm saying. I don't know if it's growing up with a strict and overprotective (but wonderful, Pop you were wonderful) Haitian father, being a woman, or being a therapist that has to work with so many different personalities (chameleon skills on fleek), but I can't yet seem to shake the question mark syndrome. I've noticed this with some other women too, like an apologetic presence. Trying to not take up too much space or be too loud. Shout out to the unapologetic women who make their presence felt and sometimes make others feel uncomfortable, I aspire to be more like you.
Even if this isn't your particular struggle, in my life and my work as a therapist I have noticed there is this universal "waiting" thing that many people tend to do. Waiting for an apology they'll never get, acknowledgment that might never come, validation that they are worthy, etc. etc., and as they're waiting life continues and their perceived suffering continues because of this external "thing" they never got. When we hinge parts of our lives on other people's reactions (which essentially we have no control over), we give up control over those parts of our lives.
I remember taking a yoga class and while in half pigeon pose (if your hips are tight then 1 minute in the pose can feel like forever) the teacher said "noone is coming to save you". In that moment it clicked; I am the only one that can release tension in MY body. I have to give myself permission, I have to breathe. I am me and I am worthy simply because of who I am. And the same goes for you, you are exactly where you're supposed to be in life, right now, and you'll figure it out. But don't wait for anyone else to do it for you, and don't be afraid to fuck it up, and don't be afraid to get vulnerable.
So here's my challenge to you (and myself): Give yourself permission to just be. Don't apologize for who you are and what you've been through. It sounds cliche but it's true: there is noone else on this earth exactly like you, and you are a NECESSARY part of this big collective energy source on earth. Do that thing that scares the shit out of you that you've been wanting to do, and stop taking yourself so seriously (we're all just trying to figure it out).
Bonus Challenge: Put one hand on your heart, one hand on your belly. Make sure the hand on your heart is still while you breathe in and send the inhale all the way to your belly, pushing your belly all the way out as you breathe in (your hand should move outward). Hold your breath at the top of the inhale, close your eyes, and repeat in your mind "I am enough". Exhale as sloooooowly as you can, imagining the air leaving your lungs like air slowly leaving a balloon (bonus self love points if you visualize the balloon a green color for your heart chakra). Repeat this mantra and deep belly breathing for 5-10 rounds of breath.
Love and light,