I was never proud of myself unless something stellar would happen. Then I’d feel on top of the world for a few days. And then back to feeling sh*tty with the success amnesia.
And what I realized is that worthiness can be fleeting – vulnerable, if you will – if it isn’t cultivated before the win.
Think of it like this…
joy + pride + hope + connection = worthiness
Take Gwyneth Paltrow, for example. She wins the Oscar and hides out. Now I’m not best friends with Gwyneth, but I have a hunch it’s because she didn’t feel worthy of this prize – the win brought up fraudulent feelings (even though we know she was so worthy).
Have you ever achieved what you wanted and not felt worthy?
Instead, you spent more time waiting for the shoe to drop than you did enjoying the win. Well, it’s not your fault because this is one of life’s major misconceptions.
I will be worthy when I achieve [insert achievement here]. This is wrong. So wrong!
Worthiness must be cultivated before the success and every day after. Many of my clients come to me wanting to do something extraordinary.
Some will say, “Yeah, I want to be famous. I won’t deny that.” As a coach, I can Google translate: Fame makes us feel safer – like nothing will be taken away. To me fame is code for: my client really wants an assured level of acceptance and belonging. But what I know is that acceptance and belonging do NOT equal fame.
acceptance and belonging = worthiness
We all want self-worth. We just don’t know it because it’s not as sexy of a sell.
No one grows up and says, “You know all I want to do is be worthy in life.” Even little kids start out wanting success.
Here’s the truth, I know so many wildly successful and madly miserable people. It’s heartbreaking. And it all goes back to a lack of worthiness and belonging.
So how can you get started on this in your own life?
Here are 2 key steps…
- Accept Yourself More – notice where the inner critic in your head refutes a compliment. Accept the compliment today. Also accept that at this moment – at this weight, job choice, time of day, etc. – you are doing your best.
- Belong – who is the one person you know you are accepted by – warts and all? Tell them (and I mean actually pick up the phone, write a note, or grab a coffee), “Thank you for just accepting me as I am.” Connect to that feeling of belonging and know that you can choose to find and count on the people that make you part of the whole.
Here’s to consciously creating our success and happiness before the Oscar win or promotion. Happiness comes when you can enjoy the ride – the accomplishments are secondary.
Quick – answer yes or no….
Do you show up? Do you dive in? Do you stay at it?
My answers used to be all no!
The truth is, my inner struggle could reason me out of…
Showing up: I wasn’t ready. I didn’t like the avenues available to me to show up in.
Dive in: I was more of a sidelines gal. Ya’ know – staying in my coverup and commenting. I most certainly never really got in the “pool” – just dunked up to my waist here and there.
Stay at it: No, I would switch to something more “fun” or ruminate rather than rinse and repeat.
Now is different but only because I am different.
Here is what I did:
- Spot the ways you cope that keep you OUT of the arena. We all have tricky things we tell ourselves: There are no good men out there. I am too old. I don’t know where to begin. I deserve better so this isn’t the time. All these beliefs keep you out of the arena, no matter how you disguise them!
- Show up (again and again and again) until you get the result you want for yourself – or you die. Seriously. That sounds dark but the truth, nothing is stopping you but YOU. “Showing up is 80% of life.” Thank you Woody Allen. I say that regularly to myself and clients.
Spot and understand the ways you cope that keep you out of the arena. #Awareness
Show up – again and again and again. #Action
I hate when philosophers hit the nail on the head.
The damn founder of absurdism highlighted my absurd avoidance that has cost me a huge part of my life. And I have to be honest – I don’t know what I am going to do now, today I am still devastated, in shock and super sad.
Two point five years ago, I sat in the back of a taxi. A cold winter day, I was bundled to high heaven but stripped in the back of the taxi as I was covered in hives – a reaction from stress. Heading to NYU medical center, I peer out the dirty taxi window (wishing for Windex – OCD in full swing) but also distracting myself from the terrifying tests I must get done while also feeling brave that I’m making it to the doctors. Step one was making it there and I was doing that. I was choosing not to avoid. So, I thought – I am conquering my fear, right?
I phone my mother. She picks up with Tina Turner blaring in the background at 9AM which translates to, sh*t she’s drinking. And f*ck she has cirrhosis. I am now worried about her and distracted from me. I told her where I was going, launched off into my fear and was met with pure rage. This, my friends, was the perfect example of what I tell friends and clients not to do and I was doing it…
Mom (hardware store) does not do vulnerability.
I know this but in this moment I really wanted her to. She never had the ability to compassionately comfort my fears and what I was sharing terrified her. What does Mom do when terrified? Lash out, of course. And alcohol took control of her black portable phone with the Private Dancer album underscoring our fight.
I hang up, dejected, sobbing in the backseat watching Taxi TV with my dear friend on Talk Stoop wishing I had called Cat instead of Mom. I pay my taxi fair and head up for my testing.
And I never picked up those results. (That was almost 3 years ago.)
I was too scared to cope so I did a half ass job to protect myself.
And here I am, these years later, crying different tears in the back seat of the car.
My mom has now died from her alcoholism and I miss her terribly. Today, I bring with me someone to hear the tests. I learned from my mistakes. No more avoidance.
I choose now to do none of this alone and ask for support from friends who had the time and were capable of just loving me. I look to my right at my friend Lisa in the back seat, expressing deep regret of not getting the results 2.5 years ago; she watches me cry tears for my mother, she, too, has lost her mom. She really gets it.
I know who to go to now – no more hardware store for milk for me. And we receive the results together from the doctor directly only to find out…
I waited too long to have a baby. I cannot have a child.
The doctor goes as far as refunding some of my money as my test results were so bad there was no point at doing an ultrasound. He tells me this as my tears flow all over his big, brown Raymour & Flanigan looking desk. The doctor begins to escort me out of his office. He had no capacity to care for my breakdown and gestures to Stephanie – his secretary – who will “take it from here.”
My dear friend (who after trying in vitro for 3 years ended up adopting two boys) tells the doctor just how inconsiderate he’s being. I loved her for saying what I couldn’t. She took her shark backpack and me as far away from NYU, called her assistant, cleared a portion of her work day, and was with me while I grieved this news.
Lisa knows me well enough to not strategize “next steps yet” cause I would drop kick her if she did. Always cherish the friends who know you!
Knowing who to go to for support is key to being supported.
- waiting to find a partner…
- fear of taking real, concrete steps to learn about my fertility…
- avoidance to cope…
Cost me the chance to have a baby with my eggs; my genes that would have parts of my mother in her/him.
So what next?
I don’t know yet. All I can say is when fear is in the driver’s seat and you procrastinate to cope, time goes by and your “safety” comes with a cost. And yes, I know anyone who wants to be a mother will have a child but the first way I always dreamed of was taken from me.
So now I deal – in doses – with this news. If I choose, my path to motherhood will look very very different and I would be lying to you if I said I didn’t have deep despair around that right now. But I do know if I don’t move action forward in doses I will never hold the love of my life in my arms.
So yes, Albert Camus, “There is no love of life without despair of life.” If I have a child it will not have come without great despair and that is some real life right there.
I can only teach what I need to learn most. #DiStyle
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Take a minute to think about what you’ve been avoiding. What is it costing you? How is it really serving you? And how can you take a small step towards what you desire most? Email me or leave a comment below. It’s all about sharing so you can begin to take action.
Before we begin, quick skinny: I have been coaching kids and the parents who ((love)) them for over ten years now and it is honestly some of the most profound work I do. I wanted to give you a peek into my work because it is simply the coolest thing ever.
As a coach working with kids, I am really into conversations that instill curiosity and require families to get real with each other, and I often use pop culture as a way in.
I find it to be a sort of common ground in order to raise consciousness in the child’s language.
Recently, one of my 10 year old clients and I were discussing the Oscars and the year of Frozen. If you have a child you probably know it and if you don’t you probably still know it—it was that big, right? So, Daniela (my 10 year old) was telling me how psyched she was that she was able to stay up late and watch Idina Menzel sing “Let it Go.” She commented not on what the world commented on (Adele Dazeem, anyone?) but the fact that Idina looked scared on stage. I didn’t comment, but instead became wildly curious and let her do the talking.
Daniela said, “ She didn’t seem to be having much fun.” She paused, “But it is a serious song, I guess.” We continued to talk about her amazing observations into the psyche of the woman performing the biggest song of the year.
So, I decided we should write a list for that woman—for Idina Menzel so that maybe next time she can have Daniela’s wisdom in her pocket. Her advice, which began as tips she used when performing in front of her class morphed into something called The Secrets to the Best Life Possible. I must say, what this little one thought of was not only her version of The Four Agreements, but was something every artist, executive, mother, friend, lover; any human being can do to simply improve their quality of life.
The Secrets to the Best Life Possible
1) Always do your best
2) Have fun
3) Be grateful for the opportunity
4) Look forward to next time. (There always will be one)
Pretty profound, right? What struck me most was our discussion regarding #3 & #4. She wondered if people are still grateful if they don’t do the performance the way they wanted to. I shared with her that there are times I am not grateful for that reason. Daniela came to the conclusion that you have to be grateful either way or #3 doesn’t work!
Daniela said, “I mean it was the Oscars! I bet everyone in the world would have loved to do it!” This was when she decided to put in parenthesis next to #4 that there would always be a next time—for Idina, and for everyone. I made sure to let her know that many times kids possess greater wisdom than adults because adults often assume that when things don’t go their way there will (((never))) be a next time! She looks at me and says, “Well, that’s silly, right?” I laughed out loud. She is so wise.
I left that day thinking about how silly it really is that adults get doom and gloom so fast. Daniela’s resilience seemed a thing so long removed from me. But I realized that I could access that resilience, that joy, if I just choose to. It is never silly to keep moving forward—there will always be a next time.
The work I do with The Kidz Coach is profound for them and honestly for me. After this session I did the recap with Daniela’s amazing mom and we spoke about “how” to implement this coaching skill. My sessions are all about the parent recap and if you work with me you know it is the ((BEST)) part. All this stuff is great in theory but the real magic happens when my parents apply what they learn and two generations grow and change at the same time.
I must say, I had to remind myself just the other day “Look forward to next time. (There always will be one.)” Sometimes we grownups manage our disappointment by getting jaded and prepare ourselves by thinking the worst. The Kidz Coach would never teach “catastrophic thinking” as a means to cope so you bet this coach got her mind straight, you gotta walk your talk I say!!!
“Who we are is what our children become,” I find myself saying that a lot to clients. I will also say I am grateful that so many families are changing history through awareness and action and that I get to be witness to it!!
I honestly have the ((best )) job ever!!
I had such resistance about going here in regards to love but it seemed like after this week, I saw clients and friends crumbling and truthfully, myself, as well.
Boundaries are loving responses to yourself. But keeping a boundary may not be fun.
I remember asking my very savvy therapist 6 years ago, “You must see so many fabulous people in NYC grow old alone. Why is this?”
“Fantasy,” she quickly replied. Bam!
I hear clients and even myself say these things (I put an ** next to mine for transparency):
- I am attracted to drama. Why?
- I date unavailable men who think they are available. **
- I never date the good guys.
- I get bored easily.
- All I want is a partner in life who gets me. **
All of the above involve fantasy in a way. Let me break it down…
I date unavailable men who think they are available.
If they were “available” it would require: closeness, vulnerability – possibly seeing their imperfections and letting them see mine. “Unavailable” means you don’t get to really know them, nor do they see the real you. And the chase + mystery can go on forever along with time – precious time. Unavailable keeps the fantasy alive. Get it?
Dating unavailable people is easier but also dangerous.
And chances are if you have been single for longer than you wish, you may be too comfortable in the fantasy. Fantasies are fun, right? But …
Truth is, when I look at my mother and father, I see how both of them pined after people who they were in past relationships with. They loved to “fix” people rather than fix themselves. They could romanticize anything or anyone into amazingness but in time, no one would ever be good enough or match the fictitious person they created in their head.
So all I say is this…
But how do we begin to do that?
The great Helen Fisher recently spoke about the 4 things you need to have for a lasting, happy relationship:
- Be with someone who has the same relationship goals.
- Do novels things together, regularly.
- See the good in them more than you see their flaws.
- Snuggle, hold hands – physically touch. (Anyone can have sex, tenderness is different ya’ll- I added that part.)
Notice there ain’t no fantasy on that list. The path of relationships is rooted in reality, not the dream of what could be, but rather what is and letting that unfold.
If you want some doable, action packed tips each week, click here and I’ll pop into your inbox every Friday.
Where do you stay rooted in fantasy? Which of Helen’s 4 must haves can you do? What’s the most difficult one for you? Email me or leave a comment below.
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