"Hey Lindsey. So once upon a time I shared my truth with some important people in my life, and they rejected it. Well they rejected me really, or at least that's what it felt like. I was trying to be open and honest and they completely shut me down. So that's when I decided to sit down and shut up. It's easier to just shove my real self down, and play my role."
You know how I know you are lying?
Because I've tried it myself, and I know firsthand that hiding your true self and "playing your role" is far from easy. In fact, it is probably eating you up inside so much so that you might scream.
Be my guest...
I never promised you that transforming your life was going to be easy. I never suggested that ALL your friends and loved ones were going to get on board with all the changes you know in your heart you need to make. If transforming yourself and your life was easy then everyone would do it and we would live in a very different world.
This work is hard, and just when you think you've figured it out, it gets really hard.
Despite what you believe, you can do hard. You can have conversations that make you so uncomfortable that you feel like you might vomit. You can make bold requests at your workplace or in your marriage. You can go off and do that thing you've always dreamed of.
You can do hard. You can do it every day until it feels easy.
You know, once upon a time, I had a business. It was a beautiful business, a health and wellness studio in the heart of Brisbane, Queensland. When my dear friend and I opened said business we were confident about two things:
1) We want to build a beautiful space where people can come and attend to their every health and wellness need.
2) This business idea is so great that there is no way it can fail.
Well (after a lot of therapy and self-work), I am here to tell you that it did fail. I am not going to re-frame it. I am not going to give you some 'we learned a lot' footnote. Nope, we failed. We failed because we failed to do that one thing that all businesses are meant to do: Turn a profit...
It caused an inconceivable (inconceivable for some... my other type 3's will completely understand) amount of heartbreak and pain to admit that we needed to close our doors. The shame of failing, and having it on display for all to see, was so great that I could barely look people in the eyes. Even now as I write these words on the page I still experience a bit of discomfort. With every letter I type... yep, this one too... a little voice in the back of my head is telling me you will judge me for this failure - you'll stop reading my blog, you'll stop working with me as your transformation coach and worst of all, you'll stop liking me -.
You know, at Black Dove, my beautiful health and wellness studio in Brisbane, QLD, I had a client that introduced me to a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy method called, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (A.C.T.) One of my favorite lessons from A.C.T. are these six little words: Thank you mind for that thought.
I say this little phrase to myself all the time. I say it when I feel certain that the best option is to run the other way, or when I feel as if my feelings and emotions are sure to overwhelm me. I say it when I feel scared. I say it when I feel lonely, isolated or lost. I say it when I am writing my blog each week.
Thank you mind for that thought...
I know your mind is indulging in every potential catastrophe that could transpire from you saying that thing you promised yourself you would never say, or leaving that job it wouldn't be prudent to leave, or ending that pain-based relationship. I know, Dear One. And I know it is scary out here on this limb. It can feel lonely, and so we try to numb ourselves to the pain. What's your favorite numbing technique:
Self-righteous anger or disillusionment
You don't have to run and hide anymore. You can stay present with what comes up. And just when it seems like it is all too hard, or too many people are against you, mindfully bring yourself back to the practice, and recite these six little words:
Thank you mind for that thought.
All that said, if you particularly struggle with staying present in painful or difficult situations, if your fight or flight response is permanently switched on flight, then you might be an Enneagram Type 7: The Enthusiast.
Simple Guide To The Enneagram:
A Practical Guide To Getting Out Of Boxes
Introduction to Type 7: The Enthusiast
Early on the Little Enthusiast took on the idea that it was not okay to depend on anyone or anything. And so they learned to provide for themselves by learning to avoid pain and/or deprivation. In fact, what scares The Enthusiast most is the thought of being trapped in pain or deprivation of any kind - physical, emotional, spatial.
Naturally tuned towards opportunities for adventure, pleasure and fun, you may recognize an Enthusiast by their outgoing and playful nature. They are known for being the life of any party. However, you might also recognize how their desire to be "happy" can quickly deteriorate into their desire to escape situations that are perceived to be overly deep, emotional, or painful.
So how does this get in the way of transformation:
1) You are constantly planning what "fun" thing you will do next. You have difficulty staying present with what is.
2) You have difficulty trusting others and are always testing them. You already have a plan in place in the event that things get too hard or don't go the way you want them to go.
3) You fall in and out of love easily.
4) It is a challenge to stay in a job, relationship or country once the initial buzz has worn off. Things become dull.
5) You have trouble asking for help or support.
6) You tend to do things in excess. You have difficulty finding balance.
What if I told you that sitting with your painful emotions would make you enjoy life more, not less. It's hard to know the day if you have never known the night. Just like it is hard to know real joy and rapture if you have never known their counterparts.
Sit here with me. Hold my hand.
I haven't known your pain, but I've known pain.
I will sit here and take care of you.
You are taken care of, Dear One.
You are safe, and you are taken care of.
I am imperfect in many ways, but I can take care of you, at least for this moment.
Lay your burden down at my feet and rest your head upon my lap.
Now tell me, who and what would you be if you were not always running or planning your escape from difficult emotions? What are your greatest hopes and desires, and can you go after them sober and open-hearted, fully aware that we may let you down at times...?
Write and tell me about it here, firstname.lastname@example.org
Next week, Type 8: The Challenger
Lindsey T. H. Jackson