I just ran into an old friend – we’re talking friends in preschool here. Yes, I live back where I grew up and it’s both fun and totally annoying at times, but supremely comforting and somewhat predictable, which is nice but also makes it hard to change, make new connections or bust through old patterns and fears.
Anyway, this friend said to me “A nice day to work!” And I was just struck by how grateful he seemed to be doing his work. And a wave of gratitude washed over me — seeing how far we’ve both come, how much has changed, and then again how much is still the same. I feel that my work of late has been excavating through the layers that I’ve piled on over the years, and that I have taken on from others. The shoulds, the fears, the expectations. It IS a nice day to work — on myself, on excavating those layers, on our true work in our true selves.
I see my daughter, who is only 2 and in preschool herself, and I see how apparent her personality is. How clear her likes and dislikes are. How her emotions are right at the surface, expressed freely and with vigor at any little pleasure or upset. And I see that my work — both with myself and with my coaching clients — is all about tapping back into that true self. The one we used to be so familair with. That one we can recognize in old friends and siblings. Those we were young, vulnerable and searching with. Those we learned alongside, about how the world works and sometimes how to hide those true feelings, true, authentic likes and dislikes and desires.
I am proud of myself for busting through many of these layers, to still be recognizable to those old friends as well as people I’ve only known as an adult. For being more of my true self everyday, in the open, for all to see.
I also came across a photo this weekend of myself at 16 — my daughter loves to excavate with me — pulling photo albums off the shelf and putting me face-to-face with these old Selves. Again, another time of self-discovery and vulnerability not dissimilar to the toddler years, and I was again awash with gratitude for how far I’ve come AND also how much closer I’m coming once again to this true self. I remember feeling more comfortable as myself then, not apologetic for who I was. I’m getting back there and it feels good.
Yeah, that’s me, 16 years old, temporary dino tatto and all.
How can you be more of your true self today? What was one thing you loved to do or eat as a kid, that you could try again today, this week, this month? I’d love to hear about it!