My lesson of the day came to me when I least expected it, and as always, when I needed it most. I was up to my usual writer’s block routine: scrolling aimlessly through Facebook when I saw a picture posted on the Baron Baptiste Facebook Page. I clicked on it and continued to move through several pictures, reading the quotes and admiring the images, while looking for a little dose of inspiration. When I stumbled upon this one, the words jumped out at me:
What perfect advice for this girl. I have to admit; I’ve been bubbling over with excitement thinking of all the possibility and connection that this blog holds for our community but at the same time, I’ve been harbouring some fear around what to say.
Why weren’t the words coming?
Because I was stuck in my need to say the right thing.
My desire to be liked and accepted by the community was stifling my voice. Every word I wrote was mocked and deleted by my inner critic. Nothing measured up to the expectations I had built up in my head and this got me nowhere. Until I saw this picture, I was stuck in trying to be who I thought I should be, instead of who I really am.
I think this tendency to people please creeps up on all of us every now and then. For some of us, like myself, maybe it takes over more frequently.
As a teacher, especially when I first started out, my classes were clouded with this underlying need to be accepted by my students. I wanted to say all the right things to be a great yoga teacher, instead of just being myself. What is a “great” yoga teacher anyway? To me, it’s someone who is authentic and real. Someone who doesn’t stand at the front of the room and try to be someone they’re not.
The same is true in life. The people I love and admire the most are those who stand powerfully as themselves without fear of what others might think. They courageously drop the need to be accepted and boldly step into who they are.
The only way I can truly connect is if I choose to drop the mask and begin the work of being myself. An entire life can be stifled and limited by fear of being judged. I can spend all of my time trapped in my head, trying to get things right and trying to get people to like me. All this does is keep me disconnected from the people and the world around me. Instead of trying so hard to create myself, I’m going to take a step back and remember to just be myself.
You are who you are for a reason. Instead of fighting to change it, choose it; embrace it.