27 ~ Action

After I wrote my blog post about shame I felt that being conscious about my shame and also being able to let go of it did a lot in my sense of being able to be my authentic self. It became easier for me to be my free self without my fear constantly holding me back.  

Yet, like most times, it wasn’t long before the next life lesson loomed.  

Just a few days after writing the blog post I started, like most days, the day in a cheerful mood. I put my earbuds in and started playing the song Kelly Clarkson – Broken & Beautiful from my female empowerment music playlist. While dancing and singing, I moved around the house. I felt free, confident, and on top of the world. In good spirits I decided to walk up to my husband and surprise him with a loud, free and spontaneous serenade. Let’s do this! Out of my comfort zone, out of my harness and confidently let my authentic, full of life energy shine! I knocked on the door of my husband’s office and the moment my husband opened the door I was standing in the doorway with mischievous and sparkling eyes. A small sense of uncertainty had penetrated my emotions and the accompanying doubt caused me to doubt whether I actually dared to let myself go. Could I do it? Would I dare to open my mouth and make my vocal cords sound uninhibited? Now? Right now? Just do it?  

My consciousness didn’t have to answer, because my subconscious had already done that, and before I knew it, the words “I am broken and I am beautiful” were vociferously flying out of my throat. Oh yes, I was confident! Nothing could upset me! 

Then, my husband’s little, affectionate joke. A joke that was of no meaning, but with which my amygdala went straight to panic mode, brought out all kinds of nasty feelings and immediately set off all the alarm bells.  

The emotions of shame, the fear of being laughed at and the sadness of perhaps being a worthless outcast of society flooded my body and my eyes were immediately filled with tears. I took off my earplugs and slumped against a door crying on the floor.  

My husband was shocked and didn’t know what just had happened and that was exactly the same for me as well. Why could such a small event have such a huge impact on my emotions?  

While my husband lovingly said that he liked it so much that I was enjoying myself so freely, I kept asking myself what it was that had led me to suddenly go from happy dancing to crying on the floor and the answer came when my husband said that I just had to continue expressing myself. A strong wave of fear swept through my body. A fear that screamed through my thoughts; “No! I’m not going to show myself anymore! I’ve tried it now, I’ve tried to get out of my comfort zone and be my own free self, but this is what happens. I embarrass myself, get laughed at, and I’m sure I’ll be disowned again. No way I’m going to let that happen again!”  

The traumas of the past turned out to be much stronger than my self-assurance from the present and that was what made me break so quickly and so suddenly.  

“I am done with it!” Said my ego. “Let’s go back in the harness!”  

But it wasn’t done. Not if it was up to my husband. With tears of love in his eyes, he told me that he felt so sorry for me because I’m always hidden behind that harness. That I am such a beautiful person and that I should dare to express myself much more. “Please keep being yourself.” He said, and those words stuck.  

Just keep being myself, that’s what I wanted to do in the first place, right? Letting go of shame, thinking of a zombie apocalypse, deciding what I did an did not approve of myself and then just being my own free self. At least, that was the original plan. Then why would I have suddenly broken into tears because of something so minor? 

I began to think more deeply about my learning process and thought back to an explanation I had given to a friend the other day. I said to him that if you compare the climb of the personal development with climbing a mountain then it is as if first a straight stretch of climb emerges and then a stretch where you climb to the plateau. The stretch to the plateau is no longer straight. The stretch to the plateau protrudes from the straight stretch and you will have to climb the last part, the last part up to the plateau, a very difficult stretch. A part where you have to put all your fears aside and learn to rely on the knowledge you have amassed on the straight stretch.  

The straight part of the climb is about the gathering of knowledge and the second, difficult part is the part of actually applying it. It is the part where you have to let go of the fear and rely on your own inner strength.  

 

The more you climb the difficult stretch towards a plateau, the more agile you become. This makes it easier to put fears aside and rely on your own ability. 

Not long after I shared my vision with my friend, all kinds of questions arose in my mind. “What about my own emotional development from this past year? I’m not where I was a year ago, so what about the plateaus I did achieve? What is the difference between the plateaus of knowledge and the plateaus of action?” And there, in my question, I found my answer. The first emotional growth I had achieved through knowledge and the second emotional growth I can achieve through taking action. Deliberately turning fear into action. 

I again thought back to the blog post about shame and thought back to the piece in which I wrote that I am slowly leaving my comfort zone; Slowly, step by step, I am freeing myself from the armor that has always protected me, but has no purpose anymore. I don’t dare to leave the armor completely just jet, but I’m sure I will be able to do it someday. and then I realized that I was still trying to leave my comfort zone on mere knowledge and that I let my emotional development depend on unexpected situations. I had crammed myself with knowledge and hoped that I could apply it in times when difficult situations arose, but I reacted instead of anticipated and if I had not anticipated enough then situations as described earlier happened. Situations where I would be suddenly overtaken by all the fear that still lies within my subconscious. 

“First you hate these walls, then you get used to them, and eventually you can’t live without them. That’s being institutionalized” (Shawshank Redemption)  

I am still institutionalized in my own fear and as long as I only choose for the safety of collecting knowledge I will never really be able to free myself from the walls of my comfort zone.  

Time for actual action. 

The first steps I’m going to take come from the book Love yourself like your life depends on it – Kamal Ravikant, a book I got recommended some time ago by a friend because this author also gradually looks for his own way towards emotional development. 

At the beginning of the book the author tells about the first three actions he set himself as a goal at the beginning of his process, namely; 

  • Expressing affirmation of self-love in the mirror. 
  • Apply affirmation of self-love during meditation. 
  • Apply affirmation of self-love throughout the day. 

I decided to start by taking this form of action myself and that I wanted to add a fourth action, namely;  

  • Affirmation of self-love in times of stress. 

The affirmation that the author uses is very simple; “I love myself” and he uses this affirmation in all his actions.  

In the action ‘expressing self-love in the mirror’, he agrees that he will look at himself in the mirror for five minutes a day and in the meantime utter the words ‘I love myself’. 

In the action ‘applying affirmation of self-love during meditation’, the author expresses the words in his mind as he inhales and lets go of any unnecessary thoughts present as he exhales. During this meditation, the author listens to a particular piece of music and uses this piece of music consistently in each of his meditations.  

And in the action ‘apply affirmation of self-love throughout the day’, the author tries to make it a habit to pronounce the affirmation as often as possible during the day. Both in mind and out loud.  

The self-conceived action ‘affirmation of self-love in times of stress’ speaks for itself. I want to try to apply the affirmation as much as possible when I experience emotional stress. 

I will set all four actions, for a period of one month, as daily goals and to let myself be very conscious about it I have also decided that I will write about it daily in a separate journal.  

As soon as the month is up, I’m also going to post (part of) that journal on my blog so I can share possible findings from those actions as well. Not only the acquired knowledge from thoughts but also the acquired knowledge from actions.  

My first objective of taking action may not seem to have much to do with actually taking action, but if I think about it; I have never looked straight at myself in a mirror for five minutes, and certainly not while giving myself unconditional love.  

In order to be emotionally free, I will have to go beyond the limits of my fear. 

 

I never held my hand out
And asked for something free
I got pride, I could roll out
For miles in front of me
I don’t need your help
And I don’t need sympathy
I don’t need you to lower the bar for me

I know I’m superwoman
I know I’m strong
I know I’ve got this
Cause I’ve had it all along
I’m phenomenal and I’m enough
I don’t need you to tell me who to be

Can someone just hold me?
Don’t fix me
Don’t try to change a thing
Can someone just know me?
‘Cause underneath
I’m broken and it’s beautiful

I’m broken and it’s beautiful
I’m broken and it’s beautiful
I’m broken and it’s beautiful
I’m broken and it’s beautiful

We walking on the ocean
Turning water into wine
We bury our emotion
And pretend that we’re just fine
The only way to live now
Is to know you’re gonna fly
Don’t listen to the lying liars and their lies

I know I’m superwoman
I know I’m strong
I know I’ve got this
Cause I’ve had it all along
I’m phenomenal, I’m enough
I don’t need you to tell me who to be

Can someone just hold me?
Don’t fix me
Don’t try to change a thing
Can someone just know me?
‘Cause underneath
I’m broken and it’s beautiful

Hey, I’m broken and it’s beautiful
I’m broken and it’s beautiful
Hey, I’m broken and it’s beautiful
I’m broken and it’s beautiful

I’m tired
Can I just be tired?
Without piling on all sad and scared and out of time
I’m wild
Can I just be wild?
Without feeling like I’m failing and I’m losing my mind

Can someone just hold me?
Don’t fix me
Don’t try to change a thing
Someone just know me?
‘Cause underneath
I’m broken and it’s beautiful

I’m broken and it’s beautiful
I’m broken and it’s beautiful
I’m broken and it’s beautiful

It’s beautiful
It’s beautiful
It’s beautiful
I’m broken and it’s beautiful

It’s beautiful
It’s beautiful
It’s beautiful
I’m broken and it’s beautiful 

(Kelly Clarkson – Broken and Beautiful)