“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” ~ Brene Brown
I was thinking – the beauty of being a photographer is that the image speaks for you. Photography in general, is not only a beautiful medium for personal and creative expression, it’s a very rewarding way of being in the world. Especially for someone like me who had difficulty otherwise expressing myself. The image is seen, you are not. Dream job! Or so I thought.
The deeper truth may be that I simply lacked the courage to stand up and be heard and, I mean, it’s not like this was something I was taught to do growing up, not at all. In fact, just the opposite was true. Be quiet and everyone will love you, was more like it. And so began the downward spiral of people pleasing and constantly selling myself short to make everyone else happy. And often times when I finally did find the courage to speak up, not so constructive or awkward things like resentment, fear and insecurity came tumbling out. Not pretty, just true.
Only through many years of deep and honest self-inquiry – mostly through growing my meditation and mindfulness practices, I could, at last, see where and when I was selling myself off to the highest bidder. OK, that’s extreme, but that’s what it feels like now. I know a lot of you feel that way too. So out of alignment and lacking in integrity and any form of authenticity.
The next part is where I had to cultivate gentle compassion and forgiveness for misunderstanding myself and whatever happened in the past. Where I not only come to peaceful terms with everything that came before but where I now step bravely into being unapologetically me. Where I let go of caring what other people will think and the ensuing horror if they don’t agree with me (now that I finally realize I don’t need them to agree with me to be all good), where I start to heal, and where I begin the process of cultivating a deep and abiding love for care-taking my voice, and my personal expression, and in doing so, my self-integrity. Bam!
Love you all…Be brave and carry on!