These are noble attributes in a person. For most of us, we strive to live our lives according to them. At least we say we do. But to be honest, transparent and vulnerable…I mean truly honest, transparent and vulnerable – first with ourselves and then with others – is complicated. To be so can feel like a huge risk. In very real ways it can feel downright life threatening.
Why the heck is that? Why is it sometimes so damn hard to be open and honest about where we find ourselves in a particular moment or in our lives in general?
I’ll tell you why…
Because that little thing we call ego – what I call the Small Self – is deeply invested in being invisible. It runs the show from behind the scenes. It’s the Wizard to our Oz. The very idea of pulling the curtain back to reveal what’s really going on for us – threatens it. It calls it out. It makes it visible.
The act of being honest triggers questions our Small Self doesn’t want to sit with and would rather answer. Questions that might have uncomfortable answers, questions that, by their very existence, threaten the Small Self’s drive to be perfect, to have it all figured out and to always be in control.
How did I get here?
How did I create this?
What is holding me back?
Can I get to where I want to go?
And so here you sit two days into this challenge and the first thing we’ve asked you to do is to take stock of where you are in 2016. As Jane has done so beautifully, we’re asking you to allow yourself to be vulnerable with your honesty and transparency.
We do this because in order to get to where you want to go, you have to understand where you are.
And while taking stock of 2016 might feel like a daunting task (because you might just have to admit you’ve not come as far as you’d like…“Um, I’d rather just not go there.” Says the Small Self), there is a bright side.
And here it is: If you have a Small Self then you also have a Big Self.
That wizard of a small self is a bit like a six-year-old child. It’s not so good at dealing with feelings like doubt, shame or discomfort in any of its forms. To the Small Self, “negative” feelings make it uncomfortable and so they are seen as threats. You see, the Small Self just wants to be comfortable – at all costs.
And your Big Self? Think of it like a wise, grounded, capable, clear-seeing YOU. Your Big Self is terrific at dealing with feelings no matter how uncomfortable. To the Big Self, feelings are benevolent messengers. Feelings alert the to its state of alignment. Fulfilling feelings indicate alignment to what’s important, unfulfilling feelings reveal a lack of alignment. That’s it. In the world of the Big Self, feelings come and go. They deliver their message and they move on.
The Big Self sees the past for what it is; information. It sees the future as pure potential. And therefore, the Big Self loves honesty and transparency because honesty and transparency allow it to set a course. It sees vulnerability as thrilling… vulnerability lets the Big Self know that it’s moving in the right direction.
Here’s the kicker: the Big Self is your true self.
Now, there is a lot more to say about all of this…but for now, I want you to practice knowing this: Your Big Self is your TRUE self! It is your intended and natural state.
Get in the practice of checking in to see where you are at any given moment especially when you are triggered. Remember, the Small Self hates to be uncomfortable. The Big Self is cool with it. The Small Self sees the past as a reason to feel crappy and arrogant. The Big Self sees it simply as information that helps it build a beautiful future.
And so as you work with this week’s visioning exercise, as you look at how far you’ve come or not come in 2016, do so from your Big Self. Get honest. Be boldly transparent. And when you feel vulnerable (because you likely will), know that that vulnerability is proof that you’re showing up in your truth.
In the days and weeks ahead, keep using it. Every time you do, you deepen your awareness and cultivate a sense of presence and mindfulness. Every time you ask yourself “Where am I right now? Am I in my Small Self or in my Big Self?” You’ll become conscious of a choice. And choice, my friend, is what it is all about.
Happy living, you lovelies. Let me know how I can help.