It has been one of those weeks... where the highs of the month that I experienced began to feel like a heavy weight on top of me. I have been drowning under wave after wave of doubt. I'm wresting with the feeling of unworthiness to chase after my own big dreams. And that resistance led me to believe that I had nothing to share. Nothing of value to bring into the world.
But the truth of the matter is, these feelings are universal. And perhaps by me taking a moment to breath through them, share my struggles, and be real about the 'real life' in my every day, I can help you to feel a little less alone in your own journey. We all have a few of "those weeks" in our story. But it comes down to how we face them; how we process and handle the emotions and where we turn for help and support.
The beauty in the struggle comes from acting from a place of courage and giving ourselves a bit of grace.
So what doubts & resistance have I personally been struggling with? There are some real changes in employment coming up in the near future and I realized that this is one of those moments where you've got to jump all in. I want to be a full-time creative entrepreneur and make a living from the passion I have for helping photographers build brands they love. That is my dream. But realizing that I've got to stop "dreaming" and start doing the work, I immediately felt frozen.
Not frozen as in "what do I do?" or "where should I start?" Because I know the next step and the steps after that. I felt doubt in my own ability to actually do it; to make this dream of mine a reality. I doubted my worthiness. Like I'm sure you do sometimes too...like I know we all do.
So how do we face these doubts and resistance?
Here are three things that helped me muddle through this week and come out the other side with a refreshed view of my dreams turned goals turned action items. ;)
- Allow yourself to feel what you're feeling.
Previously in my life when I get bowled over by emotions my go-to way to deal with them is to put them in a box and move on. But I realized that as I've gotten older, I have too many boxes stored up and I'm running out of room. I need to process things in a more healthy way. I need to just feel what I'm feeling. What did that look like for me this week? It was a whole day in bed watching Netflix. I felt guilty at the end of the day, but thinking back on it, that was exactly what I needed. To rest and feel and be present with my emotions.
- Talk to a good friend that is outside the immediate circle of circumstances.
My gut told me to keep quit about my struggles...that none of my friends needed my burdens on top of theirs. But during a regularly scheduled coaching call with my dear friend Kyla, I couldn't hold things in, and she could see I was struggling. She asked just the right questions to get me to open up and help me see things from a different perspective. And one thing I will never forget... she told me to pretend that I was Shaina's friend and say out loud the advice I would give to her to help her. That shift in how I was thinking about things made all the difference. It would have taken me a lot longer to get through things without Kyla's help. She helped me see myself differently and give myself some grace.
- Do just ONE THING.
Because of the enormity of the situation I am facing, I was frozen in inactivity. I haven't blogged, or worked on class work, or responded to emails. The "to do list" felt insurmountable. But I know that in this sort of situation, my mum is always right: just take the first step and the rest of the staircase will appear. I needed to do one thing first and that would lead to a second thing, and a third and the rest of all the things. My one thing? I wrote out a list called "Shaina's Self Care Manifesto" for me to refer back to in weeks like this. My second thing? This blog post. I knew I needed to share, because this is something we all struggle with. We are all human.
I was listening to a podcast with Gretchen Ruben and when asked what she would say to someone starting out on this journey she replied: "The most important thing for me to live a happy, healthy and productive life is to 'Be Gretchen'. And of course everybody has to substitute in his or her own name... To know yourself, is so hard, and yet the only way we can have a happy life is on the foundation of our own nature, our own values, our own interests, our own temperament. And to know ourselves and to build a life that reflects what's true about us really is the way having the life that we want. So I would say to myself "Be Gretchen."
I am telling myself to "Be Shaina." And be on Team Shaina. And take care of Shaina. Because the only way I can fully live the life I want and do the things I'm passionate about in this world is to have courage, be who I am, and do the work.
So my advice to you: Be You! What is the ONE THING you can do today? I'd love to hear a bit of your story in the comments. Misery loves company, but so does courage!