Drop Your Baggage Here
by Paula Jones
Living authentically is a process. As babies, we begin our lives authentically, expressing ourselves freely – often loudly and in the middle of the night. Along the way, however, we receive many messages, usually unspoken, that tell us to act like someone else, hide parts of our personality, or doubt our own goals and views.
As much as parents want to love their children unconditionally, they are human and have their limitations. The result is that, for many of us to truly live authentically, we have to get past the limiting messages we internalized as children. We may have heard limiting message such as “Don’t cry,” “Sit still,” “Behave!” and “Do as you’re told.” It can be helpful to understand where these messages originated and how to drop them off with ease and grace.
Take the example of a young woman, positive and energetic, who has her heart set on becoming a journalist. She envisions herself traveling the world and reporting on important stories. She feels that making others aware of important political issues is vital to peaceful global relations; that this is part of her purpose. Furthermore, she expresses her desire to achieve these goals and, unfortunately, feels as if her mother does not take her seriously. Sometimes it seems as if her mother is irritated by the subject and discourages her from pursuing this path.
TAKE THE COMPASSIONATE VIEW
From where is her mother’s response coming? Let’s take the compassionate view.
Options for women have changed with lightning speed in recent decades – so fast that the options for one woman can be in sharp contrast to those available to her daughter. A mother, watching her daughter easily entertain options that the mother never had can make the mother realize what she missed in her own life, and that can result in jealousy and resentment, even fear.
Perhaps the mother is still carrying around anger due to her own disappointments as a young woman and these can seep out in a series of little “attacks” directed at her daughter. Furthermore, if the mother believes that her only source of identity and success is in her role as a parent, once her children begin to show signs of independence, she may feel that the only role she has been given in life is leaving her. It is out of this fear that limiting messages emanate.
Similarly, some of us heard limiting messages from our fathers – “Be responsible.” “Get a good job.” “Keep your nose to the grindstone.” Their value as a father may have been rooted in a more traditional, gender-based role. Seeing a child turn into a successful, knowledgeable, innovative person can be very threatening to a father who identifies himself largely as the provider of such things to his children. The limiting messages result from his fear that his status as father is becoming obsolete, not from a conscious will to stifle his own children.
THRIVE AND SHINE
How we respond to these limiting messages is entirely up to us and often requires a good deal of courage. Any change can feel very threatening to the people around us but it does not justify holding ourselves back to avoid conflict and to keep others in their comfort zones. Each of us has unique gifts to bring to others and we were meant to thrive and to shine our light for everyone else to see and learn.
As Esther Abraham-Hicks said, “You cannot get sick enough to help sick people get better. You cannot get poor enough to help poor people thrive. It is only in your thriving that you have anything to offer anyone. If you’re wanting to be of an advantage to others, be as tapped in, turned in, turned on as you can possibly be.”
DROP YOUR BAGGAGE. LIVE AUTHENTICALLY
What messages have we internalized as a result of someone’s fears or admonitions? What do we not do because of limiting messages that we received? If we are to move forward and overcome those messages in order to live authentically, what reaction do we fear from others?
Defy the naysayers by shining brighter than they ever said you should be. Then, take the hand of those who limit you and show them the way to finding their own authentic selves – by living authentically. It’s never too late for you to drop those limiting beliefs on the curb and pursue your own authentic path.
(Originally published on Hoffman’s Tumblr page)