What wakes you up? What makes you feel most alive and excited to show up in the world as "you" -- just the way you are?
And when you feel insecure, what do you hide behind?
When you are scared, lonely or lost, do you try to numb the pain, smile and say "I'm fine," because that's the acceptable thing to do?
Glennon Doyle Melton is the New York Times bestselling author of Carry On, Warrior, a HuffPost blogger, and the founder of the exploding online community Momastery.com. On Waking Up In America we talk about how becoming a mother was her wake-up call to seek healing from addiction, and about her view that all beautiful things in life come with our ability to sit with the pain.
I hadn't heard about Glennon until my friend, health and wellness coach Ken Fried from Naples, Florida, ran into her. Ken was giving Free Hugs at the local market, when Glennon, being her beautiful self, paused for the opportunity to get a hug and show appreciation for Ken's gift. Upon meeting her he immediately sent me a message that I needed to check out her website and her blog.
Ken and I both believe that we are all connected, and that nothing is a coincidence. So I dove into Glennon's work. I knew there would be something I needed to hear.
DO YOU ALWAYS JUST SMILE AND SAY "I'M FINE"?
I've been pondering those first questions and exploring different answers through my blogs and music for a while.
Glennon's gift is her unapologetic and disarmingly honest self. Here are three permissions I realized Glennon helped me to give myself.
Permission #1 -- You don't have to apologize for who you are.
It sounds so simple and obvious, but it's actually not. In Glennon's story, she is a sensitive soul who thought that somehow that was a bad thing. Many of us feel that if we don't fit a certain mold we need to apologize for it. I am a social introvert who needs a lot of quiet time. I can't always be "up" and "entertaining." No apology needed. Each of us is made unique and different.
Permission #2 -- You don't have to run all the time. Sitting still is okay.
When we have a fever or a flu we rest. Sure we can load up on symptom-relieving medicine, but the illness needs to pass its course. It's the same with emotional pain. Feeling insecure about our pain is okay. Don't run from it. It's all a part of growing. Hiding, or numbing ourselves from our pain is not going to help us in the long run. It will only take the pain away for a moment. Sitting still through it, acknowledging it and letting it flow along with the love and grace in our lives helps us to grow and become more of the person we are created to be. In Glennon's words: "Everything is dependent upon our ability to sit with discomfort. And not numb it, and not reject it and not use it to hurt other people... but just sit with pain. Everything beautiful comes from there."
Permission #3 -- "I'm scared" is a perfectly acceptable answer.
In her TEDx talk Glennon relates how as a child she was taught that the only appropriate answer to question "How are you?" is: "I'm fine." I learned that as an adult when I came to America. Initially I was confused, then I too accepted it, until I couldn't pretend any more and I broke. I wrote about my fight with it in a song:
"I saw you at the art show
you looked and smiled at me
you asked how I was doing
but you didn't really want to hear what I had to say
cause I'm not gonna lie
I'm not gonna smile and say
(on set): "I'm fine.
Cause I'm tired of weather and I'm
tired of small talk and I'm
tired of kissing air.
And I don't want to fit in this
world that you live in, I just
want to be the way I am"
I encourage you to look into Glennon's work and let her inspire you to awaken to your self, learn to sit still with discomfort instead of numbing it, and live unapologetically as the person you are created to be.
Because when we give these permissions to ourselves we become inspiration to others to do the same.