There is so much to love about Brene Brown's book, The Gifts of Imperfection, but what resonated with me recently is when she writes about "hustling for our worthiness"--changing ourselves and disowning our stories to try and fit in. We hustle because we're afraid of being judged, shamed, rejected and abandoned. However, when we contort ourselves into pretending we're someone we're not, we aren't loving and accepting ourselves as we are, which leaves us feeling empty and alone. Hustling for our worthiness actually sabotages any chance to authentically connect with another.
Wow. New pathways formed for me as I digested that.
And yet, the solution seems simple, doesn't it? Just be authentic and stop hustling to fit in. Have you tried doing that lately? if you have, then you know it can be terrifying.
We've been taught our whole lives to keep the peace and do what it takes to get along with others. And we've been shamed and punished when we haven't. Those are some deep grooves inside of us from years of hiding our true wants and needs, our naked selves.
What I've discovered is that self-betrayal has an expiration date. There is only so long that we can get away with not honoring and loving ourselves. It touches every aspect of our lives and the price is too high.
It's been helpful for me to see making this shift into being myself as a spiritual practice. That way I can allow myself to stumble and fall and even fail. it's okay. There is always another opportunity to be vulnerable, to speak my truth and to honor myself. Doing so teaches me a lot about the world around me. Vulnerability is risky, but it can quickly tear down walls and create a connection where there wasn't one.
If I think about changing myself or my story to try and fit in as hustling, it makes it seem manipulative, like I'm a used car salesman working hard to sell you something I think you want, rather than really tuning into the moment and being real with you. Because I work for myself, this is especially pertinent because I must resist the temptation to change the way I show up to fit in. When this comes up, I like to fall back on one of the founding principles of Alcoholics Anonymous in which they state that the program is about attraction, not promotion.
In business and in life, as long as we're being ourselves, the people that resonate with us and our values will come to (and accept) us. In that case, the connection is genuine, and therefore, more sustainable.
For me, it's a work-in-progress, surrounded by heaps of compassion as I do my best to navigate the tenderness and terror of stepping out from behind social masks. Funny, because I thought I had already done a lot of this work years ago. But evolution isn't about neatly and precisely completing life's lessons in a straight line. It's messy and non-linear, with seemingly infinite layers and nooks and crannies.
Is it any wonder then, that there's so much talk now about courage and bravery?
Being human is an act of bravery, adding authenticity on top of that is the greatest act of courage.
Plus, it is the only way to get to the good stuff; and the only way for us to truly feel loved.