I spent much of my life thinking I needed to be fixed, healed, or changed. I read ever self-help book, listened to hundreds of webinars, had therapy, did coaching, and attended many retreats. I knew I was broken and I thought the answer was something outside of me. Until I could find that magical solution, I tried to cover up all my flaws through hustling and striving, only to realize I always came up short.
I was constantly avoiding the parts of myself I didn’t approve of, walling myself off and becoming more and more robotic. It was exhausting.
Things shifted when I finally started listening to myself. Really listening. I realized maybe the answer wasn’t going to be found out there; maybe I needed to start getting to know me. Warts and all.
When my Monger would start talking, I began using the phrase, “What if I am?”
My Monger would say, “You are so lazy! You SHOULD be pulling weeds rather than sitting on the couch.” And I would ask myself, “What if I am lazy? Is that the worst thing in the world? Being lazy?”
At first it was a little jarring—and to be honest it still is—because internally I gasp and tell myself: you can’t be lazy; you can’t admit that! You are a hard worker. You are the person everyone goes to get stuff done! What if your neighbors see how lazy you are?!
The truth is both are true: I am lazy sometimes, and I am a hard worker sometimes. When it comes to weeding, I am definitely lazy. My neighbors definitely know that. And that’s okay. If they want to judge me for my weedy lawn, that is on them. That is their wasted energy, not mine. So freeing.
I realized that my anxiety tells me if I pretend it isn’t true, it must not be true. It is the same logic as a two-year-old who thinks you disappear when they close their eyes. It sounds absolutely crazy as I type this, but I see it in my clients all the time.
When I ask, “What if you are lazy?,” they look at me aghast. Then I follow it with, “that wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. You are human. And from time to time humans are lazy.” Then they have the look of freedom come across their face, and they smile and say, “Yes, I am a bad mom sometimes and I am also a fantastic mom.” BOTH are true.
There is so much freedom in realizing you aren’t broken. You aren’t doing it wrong. You are human. Humans are complex. Humans are imperfect. Humans are messy. So let’s be human together.
The next time you hear your Monger criticizing you, ask yourself, “What if I am?” and give yourself room to be human.
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