Today you have permission to be authentic.
Something that has come up a lot recently in my coaching sessions is the pressure to show up as "doing great" when that's far from the truth- because of relationship difficulties, challenges at work, health issues, a recent loss, or something else. One of my clients described this as pressure to stay poised even when she was feeling REALLY sick. This isn't good for us because it doesn't allow us to feel all the feels we need to feel AND we actually expend more energy. We spend energy feeling the thing and MORE energy suppressing it/lying about how we're doing. Acting in this way also perpetuates this totally false assumption that some people somewhere always have their shit together, always feel good, and are always successfully cruising through life without the support of anyone else.
Let's be real, no one has their shit together all the time. In fact, most people are struggling with at least one thing most of the time.
So why do we spend so much energy trying to stay poised and uphold the illusion of being fine and having our shit together?
We usually try to stay poised out of fear – fear that we'll push others away or fear that they won't be able to handle our truth, especially if it's something that's been true for a long time (like years of being in pain). It's true that they might not be able to handle it, but that's not about you. They just may not have the tools to handle their own discomfort. And when you withhold what's true for you, you're actually doing a disservice to yourself and others. You're robbing yourself of the opportunity to be seen and loved fully, and you're robbing others of the opportunity to support you, love you, and be connected with you.
That pressure we put on ourselves to show up as having it together is upholding a capitalist construct that hurts everyone. Our capitalist society thrives because of a binary that certain things are the norm, i.e. wellness, happiness, financial success, productivity, independence, and that other things are not normal, like sickness, depression, financial struggles, and needing support from others. We know in our hearts that all humans struggle with these supposedly not normal things, but we still hold ourselves up to that norm sometimes. And it that can feel reeeeeaaaaallly shittty.
With everything that's going on in our country and the world right now, it's more important than ever for us to be connected and build connection wherever we can. We're all struggling with something, so let's be in community with that and support each other through it instead of suffering alone. When we are real with someone, we give them the gift of being real too, and we both get the opportunity to connect.
The holidays are approaching which can mean a lot of time with family, seeing people at holiday parties, and a lot of the "how are you?" question. I want you to invite you to seize that as an opportunity to experiment with being courageous and truthful about what's going on for you. If things are difficult at work right now, it can be as simple as saying, "you know, things are difficult at work right now." You might find that the person you're talking to says, "Yeah. Same here." Boom! That takes way less energy than saying things are great!
Let's call bullshit on that binary and give ourselves a real shot at true connection.
Note: I want to give a shout out to Johanna Hedva who's essay "Sick Woman Theory" influenced this piece.