Last week I received my first piece of constructive criticism about this blog and was very grateful for the feedback. The comment was ‘these are getting redundant especially how I put myself down. It is time for me to talk about what I have learned and how I have changed.’
I am so grateful for that feedback. It’s true that in almost every blog I discredit myself. It is something so habitual on my part. I do it out of a need to feel safe. If I admit I’m not so smart or may be wrong I can avoid being criticized for not knowing enough. Truthfully, I always have a way out ‘just in case.’ Just in case I am confronted and realize I made a mistake, or said something totally disagreeable, I said it first so you can’t criticize me. After receiving the advice I’ve decided from now on to write about what I have learned and how I have changed in these past few years since Cindy Love left.
Here’s what I know to be true. I am strong. I am discovering that I am even stronger than I realized. To stop drinking and taking pain pills requires a tremendous amount of strength and support. I have done that, and openly sought the support I needed to be able to successfully make those choices. I continue to live free of those things. I spent 40 years taking something to alter the way I felt and in two days I decided to stop. One day I made the decision to stop drinking and a couple years later I stopped using pain pills. I made those choices to protect my children from becoming addicted. Of course I cannot keep them from using drugs and/or drinking, but I can let them know the truth so they can make more informed decisions for themselves.
That’s big. Those choices came from a decision to love my self more. Since doing that I have learned to love myself even more. Though I put myself down in these, the truth is I am very proud of how far I have come in my ability to live close to my beliefs. I am as true as I can be to who I am and what I believe in. I am a tender, open-hearted woman who is committed to the process of change. What fills me most is witnessing someone discovering something new about themselves that helps them live with greater freedom and authenticity. To have a part in that process with another is deeply gratifying for me.
This past week I went into a new organization with my business partner and for three days taught a group of professionals Leadership as a Life Long Practice. As usual, they were mostly men and uncomfortable with any somatic based practice. Though I have been working with executives for a few years with my partner I have been very uncomfortable about my contributions. For many years I stayed at home with my children and participated as much as possible in their life and development. I volunteered at their school a lot. I am a real advocate for Waldorf Education and wanted to help the school grow while being close to my kids.
Going into the world of business was not familiar or comfortable for me and I had lots of self-doubt. Though there was a piece of me that wanted to challenge myself and make a contribution, I had tremendous doubt and fear. In the early time of my working with my partner I stayed very much in the background and only periodically offered input. I stayed quiet through the programs feeling out of my league and very inadequate. I regularly deferred to my partner and, like in these blogs, discredited what I said. Of course, I asked for and had very little authority.
That has changed significantly of late. I know that what I have to share is important. I also know that if I don’t share it, someone may not get what they need to grow. I have an obligation to give what I know, and to do that with commitment, an open and willing heart and a clear understanding of what they may need most. In truth, we are all human and growing is a process that shares a very similar process among many disciplines.
Can we let go of what we know and are comfortable with to move to a new way of being in the world and seeing our selves? Whether we give our gifts in a corporation, hospital, school, etc., we all need to let go of where we are in order to move to where we can go. We also need to let go of who we think we are to become who we are meant to be. That process of change is the same across many disciplines and is a vulnerable endeavor for everyone.
And so with me too, I have to be willing to give up feeling safe by discrediting myself and move to the authority I am and continue to become in the field of transformation and change. I am strong enough to say what I believe and I am strong enough to take the risk of being honest. I have learned that hiding is a very lonely and depressing process.
Every moment of Cindy’s life she had the courage to be exactly who she was and share what was in her heart. She never second guessed herself. She never hedged and waited to see what the response might be. And most importantly, she never stopped giving her gifts to everyone she came into contact with. That is what I am willing to do now.
I am here, completely open to you, and I hope you will be open with me as well.