The strength in being ourselves
“I am brave, I am bruised, I am who I’m meant to me, this is me.”
I’ve been reflecting on authenticity and vulnerability over the past few days, since seeing The Greatest Showman on Sunday. Finally seeing, I should say – I had no idea what I’d been missing! I love a bit of escapism in the form of going to the movies, and I left the cinema with a full and uplifted heart after being swept away by the magic of the performance.
There was so much that was beautiful about it, but in particular it’s the music that has literally re-lit some sort of fire of inspiration that had been flickering and waning of late. “This is Me” has been on repeat in the house for several days in a row; I occasionally hear one of the boys humming it, and it makes me smile at the power of music to inspire and connect us.
Perhaps due to the cold and bleak winter skies, or perhaps due to general January “meh-ness”, I’ve not been feeling like myself for the past few months. If I’m honest, a realization that life in freelance, self-employed land isn’t quite working out as I’d imagined it would is also playing a role. I love coaching – it’s a profession that emphasizes focus, reflection, being seen and heard, the gift of time and space, learning and connecting – all things that are wonderful and powerful in a world that is increasingly more busy and less focused. AND it’s incredibly lonely at times, and I know I’m not the only coach (or therapist, or practitioner who does 1:1 work) out there who is affected by the isolation.
In the past couple of years, one of the biggest things I’ve missed is being part of a team. I value teamwork and collaboration so highly, and as a “solopreneur”, I am my team. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to improve my weaknesses and build new skills that are required of me in order to turn my coaching into a business. In doing that, I’ve almost lost sight of all the things that I’m really good at, the aspects of my personality that come easily to me, that I sometimes dismiss as strengths because they’re so innate that I assume everyone has them. That’s the funny thing with strengths – we often spend so much time peering into the dusty cobwebbed corners of ourselves to seek out and eradicate our weaknesses, that we overlook the incredible platform front and center in the room that we could stand on to shine – our strengths.
I’ve also lost focus on other things that are important to me outside of work. With this realization, I’m making a commitment to enjoy life more. To dance and celebrate, to be more playful and light, to invite more connection. I did this today as I walked home from school, smiling and saying “good morning” to 3 people I passed. That’s me, and it felt so good to do it. My belief is that we all want to connect, to belong, and to be seen for who we truly are.
I also want to write more and see where my meandering thoughts take me. To take more risks and fear less about the inevitable missteps that are bound to happen along the way. To spend more time trying to remember what is going well, as opposed to all the things I didn’t get done in the day or the myriad ways I didn’t live up to my own high expectations.
And so, I invite you to bask in your own strengths, to claim them as your own, remembering that the combination of them is uniquely yours. One of my favorite quotes is this one by Joseph Campbell: “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” I think the anthem from The Greatest Showman is also pretty good one to hold close (or have a massive dance party in your kitchen to!).
“This is Me” reminds us that regardless of any perceived “imperfections”, we’re all perfect, just as we are.