Many of my posts have been my tooting the horn in favor of being authentic and showing up – essentially stepping into the arena, daring greatly – for oneself. It is a lesson I repeat over and over; it requires courage each and every time. And every time, there is a benefit. For me, it is the opportunity to learn about myself -- sometimes by observing my actions, at other times by another’s reflecting back to me their observations. Sometimes it is just healing. I've faced a fear and conquered it by staring it in the face. There is always a pay-off, though.
The key to showing up is believing in the value of the risk. Showing up means that I don’t medicate, numb, go small, or become self-righteous, transfer, or deflect. It is staying present and allowing the feelings to be expressed. When I show up, sometimes it is in small ways – which are significant indeed – perhaps by staying present when I want to hide or medicate through food or TV. Usually when I talk about showing up, I refer to really stepping into the arena to be as authentic as I know to be. For me, that means being completely honest with whatever is going on with me while not retreating into some form of avoidance. It is often painful. After all, if it was easy there wouldn't be fear, and without fear, there lacks the element of courage. Showing up is intentional.
This topic is heavy on my mind today because it directly speaks to my self-worth. To show up is to be seen, or make myself known. It puts me in a place of potential rejection – one of my chief fears. Showing up is about loving me enough to deal with the tough stuff. Showing up is having trust and hope in the outcome – that I am strong enough to handle even the worst case scenario. For instance, if I share my feelings and thoughts with someone and they do reject those gestures, I do not have to be rejected. I am still of value and worth whether that person affirms it or not.
In dealing with my various forms of compulsivity, I have needed to own up to what feelings I am trying to avoid. A lot of times, heck it seems most of the time, I don’t even have a clue. It takes some detective work. And that in and of itself is showing up! When that sense of discomfort strikes, my reaction is to stuff it (literally with food), go smoke a cigarette, watch tv (mindlessly), become numb in some fashion or what I have discovered lately, to get a high found in the feel-good talk of a relationship (real or imaged). Are any of my behaviors “off the chart”? I really don’t think so. Erma calls me a high-functioning addict; I acknowledge that. The problem then is that I’m not happy with this behavior; I'm still powerless over the addiction and then my life becomes unmanageable. I have the choice to let this cycle continue in my life, or to do something different. To do different - the context is toward healthy behavior - is to show up.
I have tasted the sweetness of being authentic and being seen. I like it very much and it is where I find joy because I can have relationships where honesty, openness, and acceptance are the norm. I don’t like the feeling of avoidance. It promotes the self-loathing that I am trying to overcome. Showing up, on the other hand, promotes my self-worth. I am telling myself that no matter what, I am here for myself; I believe in myself, I accept myself and I love myself. This is self-esteem. And that is definitely cruising with my hair down, smile bright and wide, waving hello as I accelerate in The Healing Lane!